The Next Andrew Shaw? Samuel Savoie Earning Praise For Hits, Goals and Smiles

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The Next Andrew Shaw? Samuel Savoie Earning Praise For Hits, Goals and Smiles

Chicago Blackhawks

After coughing up a two-goal lead and surrendering a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild’s prospects on Friday night with a couple significant injuries during the game, the question many were asking Sunday was simple: Could the Blackhawks youngsters string together 60 minutes of good hockey?

Minnesota’s physical play took advantage of the Blackhawks being short-handed because of injuries to Colton Dach (who only skated the first period) and Lukas Reichel (who missed roughly 14 minutes of the second period after he was boarded behind the net). Chicago needed to set the tone early on Sunday.

And they did.

Sunday was all Blackhawks from the jump, and they responded to the physical play on Friday night early and often. Samuel Savoie, a third-round pick (No. 81 overall) this summer, played with an edge on Friday and brought his aggitating game back to the ice on Sunday.

He found himself in the penalty box 20 seconds after the puck dropped after a delivered a cross-check to Sam Hentges. Savoie sent a message to Hentges and the Wild that the Blackhawks wouldn’t be pushed around today.

Hentges was the main character in the Wild’s chippy performance on Friday night, and Savoie found him early Sunday to let him know that wasn’t going to be the case this time. And he stuck with Hentges all game and made sure he remembered.

After the Blackhawks’ 5-0 win over Minnesota, I asked Savoie if that was a point of emphasis for him Sunday. He replied with a smile that Sunday was just another day at the office.

“Today was just another day for me. Just go back out there and have fun and play the game I love and have a smile on my face while I play the game I love. I think I did that today, and that’s why we had success.”

That smile of Savoie’s is impossible to miss as it’s always on display. Whether he’s skating around defenders or skating into them, the Blackhawks third-rounder is always grinning ear-to-ear.

Savoie is making the most of his early time with the Blackhawks this summer and making an impression on the coaching staff, but he insists that he’s just doing what the Blackhawks drafted him to do.

“They drafted me for a reason,” Savoie said. “I just want to play like the guy they drafted and show them what I can do.”

Savoie’s locker neighbor, Alex Vlasic, laughed and joked about Savoie’s response, calling him “always humble Sammy,” in response to that statement by Savoie, giving the media in the room a good laugh. But that’s what you get with Savoie, whose bluntness will adorn him to fans in the years to come.

Savoie’s confident and straightforward demeanor will make him a favorite subject of reporters, but his physicality and confidence on the ice will make help him live up to Rockford IceHogs head coach Anders Sorensen’s comparison to Andrew Shaw. When I shared Sorensen’s lofty comparison of the 18-year-old to a Blackhawks legend with Savoie, he took the compliment in stride.

“Andrew Shaw is a bit better than me,” Savoie said. “I think he has a lot of games in the NHL, so I wouldn’t compare myself to him already, but that’s a compliment, and I’ll take it.”

Savoie hammered the final nail into Minnesota’s coffin with a power play goal in the third period on Sunday, capping a strong game and weekend for the youngster.

Savoie said that the Blackhawks were just ready to go out there and show Minnesota that they were the better team on Sunday after Friday’s clunker of a finish.

“I think it’s more of how we skated today; we weren’t afraid to throw our body. I think we intimidated them. We were bigger, stronger, and faster today. That helped us.

“It’s never good playing against the same team back-to-back. I think they won against us, and we didn’t want to lose again, so we were hungry for that one, and we weren’t letting each other down. We all had each other’s back today.”

It will likely be a few years before we see Savoie in the NHL, but as far as first impressions go, he made a strong one in his first weekend in a Blackhawks sweater. And I’m looking forward to watching his development in Chicago’s system.


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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.