Maxime Sauve has some enviable hockey bloodlines, but could become the best Sauve to play in the NHL.
Sauve's father, Jean-Francois, fashioned a respectable seven-season NHL career as a center for the Buffalo Sabres and the Quebec Nordiques despite standing just 5-foot-6 -- one inch shorter than Brian Gionta, currently the NHL's shortest player.
While Maxime never saw his father play in the NHL, Jean-Francois remains a significant influence on his son's career and has been able to pass along some of his professional know-how.
"He advises me every game," said Maxime. "He talks to me about the game and my plays on the ice."
In addition to his father, Maxime's uncle, Bob, was a goalie for the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils in a 13-season NHL career. Bob, like his brother Jean-Francois, stood just 5-8.
Maxime, a center selected in the second round (No. 47) by the Boston Bruins at the 2008 Entry Draft, beat the genetic odds to reach 6-foot and 170 pounds. Maxime may be big for his family, but he doesn't play a particularly physical game, instead relying on his skill.
"I'm a speed guy," Maxime said. "I have skills. I'm a playmaker, and I can score."
He proved his offensive worth this season with the Quebec Remparts and the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Before being traded from the Remparts to the Foreurs, Maxime had 12 goals and 32 points in 38 games. He improved after the trade, totaling 14 goals and 33 points in just 32 games with Val-d'Or.
2007-08 SEASON STATS
(8th east/15th NHL)
|Change from 2006-07
(9th east/21st NHL)
(2nd east/5th NHL)
Val-d'Or, the eighth seed in the Telus Division, was swept out of the first round of the playoffs, but Sauve led the team with 5 points in 4 games.
By playing in the QMJHL, Maxime is continuing a family tradition. Bob played four seasons for the Verdun Maple Leafs and the Laval National prior to playing in the NHL. Jean-Francois scored 368 points in 150 games with the Trois Rivieres Draveurs.
NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau recognizes Maxime Sauve's strength is his speed, and that he had a strong second half of the season despite playing for a weak Val-d'Or team.
"He is a real good skater," Bordeleau said. "He was traded from Quebec to Val-d'Or and he had a pretty good second half on a not-very-good team. He has good hands and can undress guys with his stickhandling and his speed. Once he plays with better players he'll continue to improve. He can skate, and for today's game that is the number one most important criteria. He needs to continue to work hard at getting stronger and to continue trying to improve his game to make it to the next level."
Sauve proved he could also help a good team when he was selected to represent Team Canada at the World Under-18 Championship. He finished tied for second on the team with six assists in seven games as Team Canada won the gold medal.
While Sauve likely will be back in the QMJHL this season, he'll have a nice group of league alums waiting for him when he gets to Boston. Patrice Bergeron, who played for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, is signed through the 2010-11 season, as is Michael Ryder, who played for the Hull Olympiques. Marc Savard, who played for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, is signed through the 2009-10 season.