EDMONTON -- Matthew Savoie grew up a fan of the Edmonton Oilers and was quietly rooting for them last season during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now the 20-year-old forward prospect is a member of the Oilers after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for forwards Ryan McLeod and Tyler Tullio on Friday.

“I definitely had a couple of jerseys and would go to games with my parents at Rexall (Place) and even at Rogers (Place), when I was younger,” Savoie, a native of St. Albert, an Edmonton suburb, said Monday. “I have a [Ryan] Nugent-Hopkins jersey. I have a couple of jerseys, my dad has a couple of jerseys, so we were definitely an Oilers household.”

Selected by Buffalo with the No. 9 pick at the 2022 NHL Draft, Savoie sustained a shoulder injury at Sabres rookie camp but was able to make his NHL debut with them on Nov. 10, 2023.

Following a scoreless debut, he was sent to Rochester of the American Hockey League, where he had five points (two goals, three assists) in six games before returning to the Western Hockey League to play with Wenatchee, which relocated from Winnipeg for the 2023-24 season.

In 11 games with Wenatchee, Savoie had 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists). He was traded to Moose Jaw on Jan. 4 for seven picks in the WHL Prospects Draft and had 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) in 23 regular-season games and 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 19 playoff games, helping Moose Jaw win its first WHL championship and qualify for the 2024 Memorial Cup.

“Last season was a little bit hectic; I felt like I was always on the move playing on four different teams,” Savoie said. “It was a lot of fun. I got to experience a lot of different things and got to play for a lot of different coaches and different teammates and just tried to take it all in and take every experience for what it was.”

The guys discuss the Matthew Savoie trade for McLeod, Tullio

Savoie joins a deep forward group in Edmonton, led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers reached Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season, losing 2-1 to the Florida Panthers. Edmonton re-signed forwards Connor Brown, Corey Perry, Mattias Janmark and Adam Henrique and added free agents Viktor Arvidsson and Jeff Skinner to the group.

“It’s exciting,” Savoie said. “Watching the playoff run they went on and being around the city and the buzz, it’s exciting to come to this team right now. You look at the roster and the additions they made in the summer and they’re going for it at every point this year, so it’s exciting to come to this kind of group and hopefully I’ll get a good opportunity.”

As a top-10 draft pick, Savoie was expected to be a big part of Buffalo’s future, but he said he wasn’t too surprised to be traded just over two years later. The Sabres have not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2010-11 season.

“I think it was a good situation in Buffalo and I think they have a ton of young prospects right now that are kind of on the cusp of making it to the League,” Savoie said. “So, I think they had to move a couple of guys out and try to make their team better now and get some older players, experienced players now. I understood it and I’m really excited to be with the Oilers now.”

As a prolific scorer at the junior level, Savoie is looking to transfer that offensive prowess to the NHL. He will be healthy entering training camp and will battle for a roster spot with the Oilers.

“I think I like to play really fast, I think the game at a high level as well,” Savoie said. “I’m looking for the best opportunity to put the puck in the net while being reliable on the defensive side as well.”

Despite Edmonton’s forward depth, Savoie feels he’s in the right place. The Oilers will be considered Stanley Cup contenders again this season with their core returning.

“I feel like throughout my junior career, every team I’ve been on we’ve had a chance to go all the way and made some really deep runs and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “That’s when you want to be playing, is late in the year and fighting for championships. There’s no better spot I could have gone to, to compete for a championship.”

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