BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Sabres assigned Matt Savoie to the Wenatchee Wild of the Western Hockey League on Saturday after the 19-year-old rookie made his NHL debut the night before.

Savoie, the Sabres’ first-round pick in 2022, skated five shifts at right wing for 3:55 of ice time in Buffalo’s 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Friday night. He was the sixth teenager to play for the Sabres over the past four seasons, and the second this year, following junior teammate Zach Benson, the 2023 first-round selection who made his NHL debut on opening night.

Because of his age, Savoie can’t play in the American Hockey League before his junior team’s season ends. After injuring his shoulder in the final prospects challenge game, Savoie had a two-week conditioning assignment in Rochester, and tallied two goals with three assists in six AHL games.

Savoie produced 95 points (38 goals, 57 assists) in 62 WHL games with the Winnipeg ICE last season. The club has since moved to Wenatchee, Washington, and replaced former Sabre James Patrick as head coach.

Benson could join Savoie out west in time. He is currently on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, and could receive a conditioning assignment in the AHL after that. But with six NHL games played, he can be in the lineup three times more before burning the first year of his entry-level contract. A WHL assignment would likely come after World Juniors.

Savoie and Benson can play for Rochester in the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs only after Wenatchee’s season ends.


Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.