CHICAGO — Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Matt Savoie was named to the USHL All-Rookie First Team, and forward Connor Kurth was named to the USHL All-Rookie Second Team. Both Kurth and Savoie were among the league’s top five rookie scorers.
Widely regarded as a top-tier 2022 NHL Draft prospect, Savoie joined the Fighting Saints just two weeks after his 17th birthday and tore up the USHL from then on.
In 34 games as a Saint, he scored 38 points. He finished the season tied for eleventh in league goal scoring, and played just over half of the season in the process. The St. Albert, Alberta native began his stint in Dubuque with a three-point effort in a victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks, and finished the regular season with five goals and five assists in six games.
“Savoie has an ability to play the game in a way we all appreciated, hence him being recognized for it at the league level. But perhaps more valuable than where he’s at now, he has the drive to go farther, he is easy to coach, and he loves the game,” said head coach Oliver David. “I’d like to personally thank him and his family for allowing us to be part of his journey at this stage in his ascent. It will be exciting to watch him continue climbing.”
Of Savoie’s 21 goals, four were game-winning goals, five were on the power play, and two were shorthanded. He also added a shootout goal. Savoie finished fifth in team shooting percentage (18.3%).
“Matt is a world-class player and he showed that the moment he hit the ice with us last season,” said GM Kalle Larsson. “Adding him to our group gave a much-needed boost when we turned our season around.”
Kurth, a University of Minnesota commit, started his USHL career in style. In his debut on November 6, he scored a hat trick. He ended the season with 41 points in 52 games. His consistent play earned him a mark on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm list as a C-ranked skater for the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft in July. He ended the year ranked 203rd among North American skaters on the final evaluation list.
“It is a big honor to be named to this team. Thank you to the league for recognizing me,” Kurth said. “I have to give a ton of credit to my teammates and coaches for making the step into the league easier and helping me feel confident right away.”
“We were excited to see how smooth Connor’s transition from youth to junior hockey went,” Larsson said. “His ability to both make and finish plays stands out.”
The Minnesotan turned on the offensive production in the back half of the season. Down the stretch, he posted five goals and 14 assists in the final 23 games of the season. Kurth’s consistent production earned him a spot in the 2021 BioSteel All-American Game in April.
“Kurth impressed us all from day one, from coming into camp well-conditioned, to how he competed in training sessions. What became apparent as the season progressed was his ability to finish—to shoot and score,” David said. “Knowing him and knowing what he’s capable of, let’s just say I’ll be picking him as my #Saint2Soar most nights next season.”
Savoie and Kurth join fellow Fighting Saints Cole Guttman (2017), Mike Matheson (2012) Matt Morris (2011) and Johnny Gaudreau (2011) in being recognized as USHL All-Rookie designates.
“It is always a good thing when players get recognized by the league,” Larsson added. “We congratulate Matt and Connor on this honor.”