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Matt Savoie said at the outset of this season that he believed he would benefit from his experience playing with the Rochester Americans during last year’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

Savoie (first round, 2022) played two games with the Amerks during their Eastern Conference Final series against a physical, veteran Hershey Bears team that went on to win the Calder Cup.

“I thought that was such a great learning lesson being able to get my first taste of pro hockey and just see the speed, physicality they play at,” Savoie said in September.

The early returns on that experience have been positive. Savoie has tallied a point in each of the three games he’s played on a conditioning assignment with Rochester, including his first professional goal during a win over Laval last Friday.

The Amerks have won all three games with Savoie in the lineup. The 19-year-old has skated on the right wing on a line with fellow first-round picks Isak Rosen and Jiri Kulich.

“He’s a guy that you feel good when you call his name to put him out for a shift,” Rochester coach Seth Appert told reporters following Savoie’s season debut last Wednesday. “Because whether the shift is great or it’s just OK, he’s gonna play the right way, he’s gonna play fast, he’s gonna be competitive, he’s gonna hunt pucks and try to be an honest, winning hockey player.

“He just drips of a hockey player, he really does.”

Savoie drifted low off an offensive-zone faceoff on the power play and delivered a pass to Rochester captain Michael Mersch for an assist in his debut against Charlotte:

He caught a pass at the offensive blue line and buried a shot from the right faceoff circle as a defender closed in for his first AHL goal against Laval:

Savoie’s speed was on display for his third point of the weekend, an assist to Kulich on a 2-on-1 rush:

Savoie entered training camp as a candidate for an NHL roster spot after parlaying his brief experience with Rochester last spring into a productive summer. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said he felt Savoie was the best player on the ice for the two full games he played at the Prospects Challenge, which included a two-goal performance against Montreal.

Savoie sustained an upper-body injury on the opening shift of the third and final Prospects Challenge game, forcing him to miss all of the preseason. He practiced with the Sabres for roughly two weeks prior to beginning his conditioning assignment with the Amerks.

Because of the transfer agreement between the NHL and the Canadian Hockey League, Savoie is only eligible to play for Rochester on his conditioning assignment. Upon the conclusion of his stint, he can either join the Sabres or report to his Western Hockey League team, the Wenatchee Wild.

He’s kept his approach simple in the meantime.

“Just take in the experience,” Savoie said Wednesday. “There’s a lot of good, veteran guys on this team that have been playing pro for a long time. And it’s a good mix, there’s also a lot of good young guys. So, I think just taking it in, being a part of the group, being a part of the guys, and just working hard and getting better.”

Here’s a look at five more Sabres prospects who have had strong starts to their seasons:

  • Kulich (first round, 2022) and Rosen (first round, 2021) are tied for the Amerks’ team lead and ninth in the AHL with nine points each through the first seven games of the season. Kulich, who remains the youngest player on the Amerks at 19 years old, has a team-high six goals and three assists. Rosen has four goals and five assists.
  • Vsevolod Komarov (fifth round, 2022) tallied four assists in Quebec’s 6-1 victory over St. John’s on Sunday. The 19-year-old is tied for 11th among defensemen in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 10 points (2+8) in 11 games.
  • The Sabres have two prospects playing for Malmo of the Swedish Hockey League, both of whom have had promising starts to their season. Anton Wahlberg (second round, 2023) has six points (2+4) in 13 games, having already surpassed the four points he had in 17 contests at Sweden’s highest level last season. His teammate, William von Barnekow, (sixth round, 2021) has eight points (4+4) in 15 games.