Blueline prospect shrugs off his plunge on scouting charts

 

That's the early line of questioning on Yann Sauve, the big defenceman whose stock dropped from the first round to 41st overall -- where he was chosen by the Vancouver Canucks at last week's NHL entry draft.

 
 
 

Big up-side or early bust?

That's the early line of questioning on Yann Sauve, the big defenceman whose stock dropped from the first round to 41st overall -- where he was chosen by the Vancouver Canucks at last week's NHL entry draft.

Sauve is participating at the Canucks prospect camp at Burnaby 8-Rinks this week and the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder looks mobile and skilled enough, if skating around pylons and executing drills means anything.

Sauve, who is from Rigaud, Que., about an hour's drive west of Montreal, was the first player taken in the Quebec Major Junior League's bantam draft two years ago, but hasn't lived up to lofty expectations.

He started the season ranked in the top 20 by NHL's Central Scouting, but had dipped to 29th by last week when he was on the list of one scouting service's top five most overrated prospects in the draft.

Central Scouting cited inconsistency, while others have pointed to his lack of offensive numbers. Sauve had six goals and 15 assists to go along with 92 penalty minutes in 69 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

"I didn't have a good start to the season, so maybe that was not good for me, but the second half was pretty good," said Sauve. "I don't really care about the ranking. I'm drafted and I'm in Vancouver right now and just trying to make the team like everybody else."

New Canucks director of player development Dave Gagner said he likes what he's seen from Sauve so far in the mini-camp.

"I have coached the D since I started coaching in 2000," said Gagner, who was an assistant coach for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League the past two seasons.

"I think I have some ideas on how he can get better.

"He's a big kid and he's got a ton of potential. I was watching him the other day and he's got a really good work ethic."

Sauve will work out at Gagner's hockey training centre for a week this summer.

Sauve feels he improved his defensive game, but knows he has to get better with the puck.

He wants to model his game after the Montreal Canadiens' huge defenceman Mike Komisarek.

"He's strong defensively and he can move the puck well," said Sauve. "I'm working a lot on my skills to get smarter with the puck, making better decisions, so I think I'll be better."

Besides working with Gagner, Sauve will also attend the national junior summer camp July 25-29 in Ottawa along with fellow Canucks draftee Cody Hodgson.

jjamieson@png.canwest.com

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice
Will the Habs sign Subban to a long-term deal?
 
Yes
No
I don't know