EDMONTON, AB – Having the chance to compete almost every season for a championship is something Matt Savoie got used to over his junior career.

As Savoie gets ready to make the full-time jump to professional hockey next season – now as a member of the Oilers organization following his acquisition from the Buffalo Sabres – the St. Albert native is looking forward to that trend continuing, along with the potential of having an immediate impact on his hometown team that just came one win away from lifting the Stanley Cup.

“I feel like throughout my junior career and every team I've been on, we've had a chance to go all the way and make some really deep runs,” he said, speaking to the Edmonton media on Monday for the first time. “It's a lot of fun. That's when you want to be playing is late in the year and fighting for championships, so there’s no better spot I could’ve gone to compete for a championship.”

“It's every young player's dream to come into an opportunity like this and play with really good players and get good opportunities, so I'm just really determined, motivated and ready to get after it here.”

The former first-round pick (ninth overall) at the 2019 NHL Draft was acquired by the Oilers last Friday in a trade that sent centre Ryan McLeod and forward Ty Tullio to the Sabres, providing Edmonton a prospect on the verge of joining the pro ranks full-time. Savoie put together a '23-24 campaign where he averaged 2.09 points per game with Moose Jaw, winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions before adding a goal and three assists in four Memorial Cup contests.

Matt meets with the Edmonton media for the first time as an Oiler

After a dominant 95-point campaign with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice in ’22-23 that included his professional debut over two AHL playoff games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, Savoie started last season on LTIR because of a shoulder injury that delayed his arrival until early October. When he returned on a conditioning loan, Savoie put up two goals and three assists in six games with Rochester and earned himself the opportunity to make his NHL debut with the Sabres on Oct. 11, 2023, a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Savoie returned to the WHL not long after and joined Wenatchee Wild (formerly Winnipeg) and took a trip to World Juniors with Canada, but the speedy and offensive-minded centre would be acquired by a stacked Moose Jaw side that would go on to win their first league championship in franchise history after sweeping the Portland Winterhawks in four games during the final.

Savoie finished with 71 points (30 goals) across 34 games with Wenatchee and Moose Jaw during the regular season, averaging 2.09 points per game that bested even the league leader and his teammate Jagger Firkus (126 points in 63 GP - 2.00 PPG). Over 19 playoff games, he added 10 goals and 24 points.

"A little bit hectic," he described of last season. "I felt like I was always on the move playing on four different teams, but it was a lot of fun. I thought I got to experience a lot of different things and play for a lot of different coaches and with different teammates, so I just tried to take it all in and take every experience for what it was."

Now fully healthy, Savoie is poised for a big summer making the adjustments he feels are necessary to make the jump to the NHL more seamless and begin playing big games by the time the puck drops on Main Camp.

"I've been in the gym for a few weeks now already this summer and I'm really motivated, so I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm looking forward to Camp. I'm really looking forward to coming in really good shape and hopefully playing some really good hockey in September."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward who can play wing and centre is on an entry-level contract until the end of the 2026-27 season and joins a deep Oilers forward group that got even deeper in the first week of free agency after their run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Wherever he lands next season, Savoie is looking to play a lot of hockey after missing a major chunk of his 2023-24 season due to injury, whether it's in Edmonton, Bakersfield or Fort Wayne.

"You want to do what's best for your development and play lots, so wherever I'm playing next year, I'm going to be working really hard and just trying to get better," he said.