Big-bodied playmaker with good vision and puck protection skills. Will need to improve his mobility and processing speed as he matures but has middle-six NHL potential.
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April 2023 – The Knights’ 2022 second rounder did not make a huge jump offensively this season, but his overall game grew and he came on strong in crunch time, both with his club team in Saginaw and internationally at the World Juniors. Sapovaliv posted an assist-per game in the tournament for Czechia, with time spent on the PK there reflective of his growth as a defensive player. Back with the Spirit, he ultimately tied Dean Lokus and the “exceptional” rookie Michael Misa for the team lead in points before heating up further to a team leading 17 points in 11 playoff games. At the end of the day, it is hard to dislike a player with Sapovaliv’s toolkit, and he stands to enter the pro ranks as one of Vegas’ better forward prospects after one more year of development with the 2024 Memorial Cup host Saginaw. Taylor Davis
July 2022 – The Vegas Golden Knights have selected Sapovaliv in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft, 48th overall. Nick Richard
May 2022 – Sapovaliv had a fairly productive season on a weak Saginaw team, netting 18 goals and 34 assists in 68 contests. He followed that up with three points through six games representing Czechia at the U18 World Championships, but his traits and skillset are more intriguing than the production.
Sapovaliv has great size and knows how to use it in order to protect the puck in the offensive zone. He can slow the game down while possessing the puck along the boards, drawing defenders to him and keeping them on his back while creating space to find open teammates. He makes quick reads and keeps a mental snapshot of his surroundings, allowing him to facilitate and sustain possessions efficiently. On occasion, however, he can be a bit overconfident and hold onto the puck for too long or force a low-percentage pass and that is something he will have to manage better as he climbs the ranks and faces more formidable opponents. Sapovaliv isn’t a burner by any means but he is a decent skater for his size and displays surprising agility at times on cutbacks or quick turns along the wall. His effort level on the defensive end is adequate but with his lack of explosiveness, he must focus on maintaining solid positioning while using his reach and quick hands to disrupt plays. He will be a bit of a project but there are a lot of translatable tools in Sapovaliv’s game and he could hear his name called anywhere after the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Nick Richard