Sabres prospects Matt Savoie, Vsevolod Komarov to play for Memorial Cup

In the Canadian Hockey League, contenders often mortgage their futures before the trade deadline by dealing loads of draft picks and other assets to acquire elite talent at the end of their junior careers.

For example, on Jan. 4, the Moose Jaw Warriors dished seven picks, including two first-round selections, to pry slick Buffalo Sabres center prospect Matt Savoie away from the Wenatchee Wild.

On Dec. 4, the Drummondville Voltigeurs traded four picks and three players to the Quebec Remparts to acquire Sabres defense prospect Vsevolod Komarov and three other players.

The bold moves, of course, carried risk. But they both paid off, as the teams won their respective league titles.

Savoie and Komarov, both of whom turned 20 in January, will be closing their dynamic junior careers by facing each other in the four-team Memorial Cup. The tournament to decide the CHL champion, which also features the London Knights and Saginaw Spirit, begins May 24 in Saginaw, Michigan.

For Savoie, the ninth overall pick in 2022, the title holds extra special meaning. Last season, his Winnipeg Ice lost in the Western Hockey League final.

Savoie dazzled throughout the WHL playoffs, registering 10 goals and 24 points in 19 games. In 42 total contests since his arrival in Moose Jaw, he has compiled 29 goals and a whopping 71 points.

When he went pointless May 7, it ended a 30-game streak dating back to Feb. 3.

Savoie, who made his NHL debut Nov. 4 before the Sabres sent him to junior, could be ticketed for the Rochester Americans next season. He played six games for the AHL club on a conditioning assignment early in the campaign, scoring two goals and five points.

Meanwhile, Komarov, who earned the Guy Lafleur Trophy as Quebec Maritime Junior Hockey League’s playoff MVP, will be competing for his second straight Memorial Cup.

The Russian, a fifth-round pick in 2022, 134th overall, has developed into one of Sabres’ top prospects.

He received the Emile Bouchard Trophy this season as the QMJHL’s Defenseman of the Year and led the league’s defenders with 55 assists and 69 points in 60 games.

Komarov registered 11 goals and 50 points in 38 games with Drummondville before compiling five goals and 15 points in 19 playoff contests.

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