It’s a rare occurrence to see junior hockey teammates reunite in the National Hockey League, it’s even more extraordinary to see a duo get selected by the same team in the first round of back-to-back Entry Drafts.
For Winnipeg ICE forwards Matthew Savoie and Zach Benson, this rarity has become a reality. Savoie was selected by the Buffalo Sabres ninth overall in 2022 and Benson joined his junior teammate in Buffalo when he was drafted 13th overall in 2023.
The duo has spent the last two seasons as teammates with Winnipeg in the WHL, combining for 134 goals with 346 points since the beginning of the 2021-22 regular season. Last year, Savoie raked up 38 goals with 95 points in 62 games, while Benson posted 36 goals with 98 points in 60.
Another similarity between the pair of Buffalo prospects is their lack of size, Savoie stands in at five-foot-ten, 176 pounds, and Benson is five-foot-ten, 159 pounds. The Sabres are getting two players that are considered to be undersized, however, they make up for it with their talents on the ice.
Savoie is an offensively gifted forward who, despite his size, finds ways to win puck battles and uses his playmaking abilities to make things happen in the offensive zone.
Benson is a strong skater who demonstrates patience with the puck on his stick, using his vision to outsmart defenders and find an open teammate, or an opening in the back of the net.
Both prospects put up respectable numbers with Winnipeg in the 2022-23 regular season, finishing the year in the top 20 in goals, and top ten in points.
The two will join a Sabres prospect pool that is widely considered to be one of the deepest around the NHL. Perhaps, the front office in Buffalo envisions the duo carrying chemistry from their time in Winnipeg to the next level, playing professional hockey.