Dieppe, New Brunswick’s Nicolas Savoie is flying under the radar.
Most solid two-way defenceman in this era of the game do.
Savoie’s journey to the QMJHL and the Quebec Remparts epitomizes patience and persistence.
Savoie isn’t pushing the envelope or forcing the issue by trying to be something he’s not.
The 17-year-old blueliner is excelling in his second full season in the Q.
“It was huge for me stepping in,” Savoie said of his rookie season and path to the QMJHL.
“I had a great group of older D-men to teach me the ways and give me all the little tips and traits along the way.”
“It was a big step up for me, but I think I did it well,” said Savoie after an impressive 4-1 victory over his hometown team the Moncton Wildcats last night.
Savoie continues to gain invaluable experience and confidence playing in every situation for Remparts Head Coach and Hall of Fame netminder Patrick Roy.
The strong skating two zone defencemen isn’t flashy by any means, but he simply just gets the jump done every time he’s on the ice.
The efficient and effective defenceman logged Zdeno Chara like minutes last night in the victory over the Cats and neutralized the Cats top lines with impressive gap and physicality all game long.
There’s some preconceived notions out there that Patrick Roy is a very demanding and perhaps tough coach to play for.
Savoie certainly doesn’t see it that way.
“Patrick knows a lot about the game, he’s coached everywhere and he’s been around good players.”
“He knows what makes them good and what makes them bad. He’s always helping out with the little details and stuff like that so it’s really special to have him as a coach.”
“Patrick is such a great coach, we always find ways to win.”
Savoie may have seen his NHL draft stock dip slightly due to an early season knee injury, but he’s certainly on the rise with his play as of late.
The one perceived knock against Savoie could be the lack of offensive upside.
At 6’0 tall, some NHL scouts are also looking for other intangibles that jump off the page, which could translate to the next level.
Savoie does possess an above average shot from the point and does have the ability to rush the puck, but he choses to play a sound defensive style of game.
Savoie is currently ranked 190th on the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm List amongst North American skaters.
“For sure you like seeing your name on that list, but you can’t just focus on that,” stressed Savoie.
“It’s much bigger than just the Central Scouting list, and all of that, you have to play a full year and I think I’ve done a decent job of that establishing my role as a two-way mostly defensive defenceman so I think it’s going pretty well,” Savoie said.
In 51 games for the Remparts this season Savoie hasn’t scored, but has 15 assists.
Savoie’s hard work, dedication and commitment to improve all started during the summer months five years ago.
Savoie has trained with the likes of Rick Legere and Derek Cormier here locally.
“Rick has been huge for me helping me throughout my career.”
“His program has really gotten me in shape for every season, it’s been amazing,” Savoie said.
“Having Derek there to go on the ice is special.”
“Derek knows what he’s doing and has played a lot of pro hockey so it’s perfect for us.”
Savoie’s realizes more than anyone the work never ends especially when you have dreams of one day playing in the pro ranks and perhaps the NHL.
“I worked really hard on my skating last summer along with puck control,” Savoie said.
“I worked on a lot of detailed stuff last summer, but it’s going to be another big summer if I want to step my game up.”
Savoie is a critical piece of the Remparts young core group moving forward, a young team that really took it to the Cats last night.
“It is a special group, we really played well all game tonight especially defensively.”
“The up coming year with the group we have is going to be big,” admitted the well spoken rear guard.
It’s always special to come home and play in front of family and friends, but this “W” was a little extra special for Savoie and the Remparts.
“We may catch them in the playoffs so it’s a huge win for us and proves that we can beat them.”
“I had quite a big crowd here tonight and we got the win last year as well, so it feel pretty good.”
“It’s fun to come here and I’m glad that they came here tonight and I think even for Cole (Cormier) it’s special.”
Savoie’s skill, patience, persistence coupled with his mature demeanour on and off the ice are certainly his strongest attributes, that and an unwavering passion and love for the game.
There’s no question Savoie has a very bright future in the game.
Savoie continues to embrace the journey while trusting the process.
Savoie certainly has grown accustom to playing a very difficult position against all the top players in the league under the the bright lights of Videotron.
“At first I was nervous playing there, but you get used to it,” Savoie said playing on the Videotron ice.
“It’s such a nice rink and the fans are so nice, you can’t ask for very much better.”
What would it mean to Savoie and his family to hear his name called this June in Montreal at the NHL Entry Draft?
“I would love that, it would be everything for me, it’s everything I’ve been working on,” Savoie said.
“If I don’t get drafted or whatever happens at the draft, you just have to keep working.”
“It’s not all about the draft, you have to have a few more good seasons after that if you want to make it to that league.”