Blackhawks prospect Samuel Savoie modeling Max Domi while preparing for NHL future

Realistically, Blackhawks forward prospect Samuel Savoie is at least a couple years away from the NHL.

But he’s already mindful of the steps he needs to take — including those he can take right now — to eventually get there. In contrast to the masses of prospects who harp on taking things day-by-day and focusing solely on their current junior (or college) team, Savoie is simultaneously doing that and looking toward the future.

“The self-awareness he has to realize the type of player he is, and how he needs to play to be most effective, is good to see,” Hawks assistant general manager Mark Eaton said.

Savoie’s feisty, relentless style naturally lends itself to comparisons, and Andrew Shaw is one that has already been thrown around a lot. Even Eaton mentioned it unprompted.

But Savoie, being an 18-year-old just drafted by the Hawks in the third round last summer, thinks of Max Domi instead. He looked up to Domi at NHL training camp back in September — during which he played in two preseason games — and tried to learn from Domi’s approach.

“I took some tools from [the pro players] and some little things they do and how they act,” Savoie said. “It’s the tiny things all those pros did. They stretch; they take care of their body; they’re in the cold bath; they’re in the hot tub; they’re eating well. All that kind of stuff is really important for me, especially the way I play.

“I play super competitive with an edge, and I need a lot of fuel and energy. So to see a guy like Max Domi, the way he treats himself, [was influential]. He also needs that energy and he has been doing great. That kind of stuff he was doing, I try to bring to my game.”

It turns out Savoie made an impression on Domi, too.

“I loved that kid,” Domi said. “He worked so hard every shift. I really enjoyed getting to know him. … He’s pretty fearless out there, and he can shoot a puck, too. He’s going to have a great career.”

Domi does indeed place a heavy emphasis on taking care of his body at all times — be it before or after a practice or game, or even at home on an off-day — so Savoie picked a good role model for that.

Savoie’s forward-looking mindset doesn’t seem to be detracting from his current play, either.

In his third season of Canadian junior hockey, playing for the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, his production has surged from 33 points in 64 games last season to 50 points in 44 games this season (entering Saturday).

November represented his true breakout month: he tallied at least one point in all 11 games during it, accumulating 19 total. He also, more recently, enjoyed a five-point game on Feb. 4.

“This year is to show what I’m all about — to show I can be an edgy guy, a guy that hits and all that, but I can also play on the top lines and score goals,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of chances, and my teammates are really helping me with that. I’ve been doing really good. It’s more [about having] confidence, the poise of making plays.”

On the Hawks’ side, development coaches Erik Condra and Kendall Coyne Schofield have worked most closely with Savoie, but Eaton has also been impressed.

“The sheer skating ability, power to his stride, the competitiveness and the energy he brings day-in and day-out, it’s contagious and made an immediate impression on everyone in Chicago,” Eaton said. “Every time you watch him play in the ‘Q,’ he brings that.

“He has a great sense of who he is, what he brings to the table and how he can most positively impact the game.”

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