Prospect Report: Carter Savoie
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Carter Savoie has been nothing short of dominant to begin his draft year. The 5’9, 170 pound Alberta native is in his second full season with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL. Last season Savoie scored 31 goals and 42 assists in just 58 games, the 4th highest D-1 total from the AJHL since 2000. This season, he’s terrorizing the league. As of now he has 29 goals and 19 assists for 48 points through 25 games. On top of that, he’s been held off the scoresheet the exact same amount of times he’s had 4 or more points in one game. Now I’m going to break down all of the tools that allow him to dominate like this.
Savoie has elite skating ability, his lateral movement and edgework is some of the best in the draft class. He uses quick, hopping strides to generate speed through the neutral zone, then transitions to smooth, wide strides on entries. His top speed is high tier, which leads to him being a constant breakaway threat. When he gets them, he’s shown great finishing ability, with both skill and grit. Here’s an example of how dangerous he is in transition:
He’s almost at a standstill at the blue line, but is still able to beat the defenseman with 4 or 5 quick strides to the outside before cutting to the middle and burying the puck. But for a 5’9 player he’s gotta get pushed around right? Wrong. He’s got really deceptive strength both on the puck and off. Here’s one of the more impressive times he’s showed this off:
He sends the defenseman to the ice with one bump, then finishes with some serious skill.
The most unique aspect of his skating is his ability to keep momentum while off-balance. When Savoie enters the zone and makes contact with a defenseman, he adjusts his edges to allow him to keep generating speed while also slipping away from cover. He’s so elusive one-on-one because of this, and has shown that he can beat more than one defenseman this way:
Watch how he adjusts his edges so that all he has to do is lean to his right and he’s through both of them. These are the kinds of plays that really set Savoie apart from other wingers in the draft class. He brings people out of their seats with plays like these nightly. He’s scoring over a goal per game with the Crusaders this year, but I think Savoie will be more of a playmaker at the higher levels. That’s not a knock against his shooting, which I’ll get into later. When Savoie has the puck on his stick, he’s dangerous. His awareness on offense is incredible, and he can find teammates anywhere on the ice. Watch this tape to tape spin pass that leads to a primary assist:
This season, its been a snipe show for Carter. He’s been showcasing the ability to score goals consistently in multiple different ways, but it’s mostly due to his positioning. He reminds me of Alex DeBrincat in the way that he just finds the open ice and goes to it. Savoie is constantly putting himself in positions to score, and it’s paying off big time. Here’s a few examples of this from his season so far:
In the last clip, Savoie recognizes that he’s going to be the shooter, so he makes a quick pass before shifting and opening up his hips for the shot. This is another example of his elite awareness in the offensive zone.
His shot is pretty good, with his wrister being his top weapon. It’s not that powerful though, and his release isn’t very quick. I think it makes sense that he’s able to score at a rate like this in the AJHL, but I question that it will translate to the pros. His stats may make him look like a Cole Caufield, but his shot is not of the same caliber. These goals that he’s been scoring in the AJHL won’t translate at the higher levels:
His one timer is average, not too heavy, and not super accurate, but he can still score using it.
Albeit impressive, this type of play won’t translate to the next level. He’ll be closed in on by the defense much faster and better goalies will stop that shot every time. But I think he’s got plenty of time to work on his shot before he has to use it in the NHL, so he could easily prove me wrong.
He’s also fantastic along the boards, staying with the puck and sneakily picking pockets. One of my favorite highlights of his comes from his game with Team Alberta against Loko Yaroslavl. He gets pushed down, but stays with the puck the whole way. He then steals the puck from the two Loko players and takes it straight to the net. His wrap around is stopped but he immediately buries the rebound:
Savoie’s rights are owned by the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL, and many people would like to see him take his talents to the W. It would certainly be enticing to watch the Savoie brothers in Winnipeg, but Carter has chosen the NCAA route. He’s committed to the University of Denver for the 2020-2021 season, a perennial powerhouse. He’ll be joining a talented forward crop that already boasts Bobby Brink (PHI 2019 #34), Brett Stapley (MTL 2018 #190), Emilio Pettersen (CGY 2018 #167), and Cole Guttman (TBL 2017 #180).
I currently have Savoie ranked #19, and I hope to see him continue his success throughout the rest of the season.