Sauve Has Hockey in his Blood
Tuesday, 10.28.2008 / 9:08 PM ET / Features
His father, Jean-Francois, played 290 NHL games during seven seasons in the early to mid-1980s. His uncle, Bob, was a goalie for Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago and New Jersey during his 13-year career, and was the co-winner of the Vezina Trophy in 1980. His cousin, Phillipe, was drafted in the second round by Colorado in 1998 and after a couple of short stints with four NHL teams (including the Bruins), he now plays in Germany.
"Yeah, that's more pressure on me, but I can play with that," Sauve, a forward for the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL, told NHL.com about growing up in his hockey family. "I have played with that all my life and it has helped me."
The pressure of high expectations hasn't burned Sauve in the least. If anything, they have motivated him.
Sauve was selected in the second round by the Boston Bruins at the 2008 draft following a season in which he pumped in 26 goals and dished out 39 assists. He was invited to Hockey Canada's National Junior Team Evaluation Camp this past summer.If all goes according to Sauve's plan, he will get selected to play for Canada's National Junior team in December at the World Junior Championship in Ottawa, and fast track it to Boston.
"That was my dream," Sauve said of being drafted, "and now my dream is to play in the NHL. That's what I'm shooting for."
Even with his NHL bloodlines, it took a trade roughly halfway through last season for Sauve to even get noticed by Hockey Canada chief scout Al Murray and the various NHL scouts who tour the QMJHL looking for high-end talent.
While playing for the Quebec Remparts as a rookie in 2006-07, Sauve had just 16 points on 10 goals and 6 assists during 60 games. He started the 2007-08 season with the Remparts and was better as he scored 32 points in 38 games.
Sauve, though, was playing behind a pair of NHL prospects in Kelsey Tessier (Colorado Avalanche) and Angelo Esposito (Atlanta Thrashers). In Val-d'Or, where he wound up on Dec. 17, 2007 after initially being traded to Halifax earlier in the day, Sauve finally started playing top-line minutes.
He responded with 33 points during the final 32 games of the season. He also cut down his penalty minutes and contributed 5 points in his first QMJHL playoff series.
"I got more minutes, more ice time with Val-d'Or," Sauve said. "That's why I had more success with Val-d'Or."
Sauve impressed Hockey Canada enough to land a roster spot on the national team that won the 2008 IIHF World Men's Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia. He had 6 assists and was a plus-4 in the tournament.
"He can skate," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau said bluntly, "and for today's game, that is the No. 1 most important criteria."
"My type of player is more Simon Gagne. He's a strong player, but he passes more and he's fast. I'm fast, but I want to get to his point to play in the NHL."
"He's a 5 skater," Bruins' Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Bradley, who was using a 1-5 scale to rate Sauve's skating, told the Boston Globe. "He has outstanding speed. He's got a little bit of (Simon) Gagne in him. He's dynamic. He provides offense. He distributes the puck very well. He can stickhandle in a phone booth."
Sauve agrees with the Gagne comparison.
"My type of player is more Simon Gagne," he said. “He's a strong player, but he passes more and he's fast. I'm fast, but I want to get to his point to play in the NHL."
Sauve also wants to improve his English vocabulary. He was born in Tours, France, and his family is from Boisbriand, QC, a suburb of Montreal. Since he plays in Val-d'Or, French is basically the only language he speaks.
"I don't talk in English during the season, just in the summer in camps," Sauve said. "I want to work on that so I'm...better when I get to Boston."
Not if, but when he gets to Boston.
History suggests that if you're part of the Sauve family, the dream usually does become reality.
By Dan Rosen, NHL.com Staff Writer, with edits by BostonBruins.com