With Strong Skills, Max Sauve Set for First Full Season in Providence

With Strong Skills, Max Sauve Set for First Full Season in Providence NESN.com is taking a look at the top 10 prospects in the Boston Bruins' system. No. 9 is Max Sauve

No. 9: Max Sauve
Position: Center
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 183 pounds
Shoots: Left
Acquired: 2008 draft, second round (47th overall)

2009-10 stats
Val-d'Or (QMJHL): 25 games, 13-22-35, minus-4, 26 PIMs; Providence (AHL): six games, 2-0-2, minus-2, two PIMs

Analysis
Sauve possesses exceptional speed and uses his explosiveness to create scoring chances. Once in close, he also has quick hands to finish off chances or set up linemates. His best attribute, though, might be his hockey sense, as he plays a thinking man's game that belies his age.

He turned heads last fall with a strong camp in Boston, lasting through the first round of exhibition games and impressing management and the coaching staff with his strong play in those games. He still needs to improve his strength to battle pro defenders on a nightly basis, but he showed some toughness when he came back last year after a right ankle injury sidelined him for several months. He even played through the pain to make his pro debut with Providence at the end of the season.

Notable
Collected three points (goal, two assists) in three preseason games with Boston last fall. … Signed to a three-year entry-level deal in December, he'll carry an $845,833 cap hit (including bonuses) if he makes the Boston roster. … Scored two goals in his pro debut for Providence against Worcester on April 2, but did not have another point in final five games of the season. … Sauve comes from an accomplished hockey family, as his father, J.F. Sauve, was a center who played 290 games in the NHL with Buffalo and Quebec, while his uncle, Bob Sauve, was a goalie for 13 seasons in the league with Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago and New Jersey. His cousin, Philippe Sauve, was between the pipes for 32 NHL games, including two with Boston in 2006-07. … Was born in Tours, France, while he father was playing overseas in 1990. … He attended July's development camp but was unable to participate with the other skaters as he recovered from surgery to remove the screws in his injured ankle. He is expected to be healthy for the start of training camp.

Quotable: "He is a real good skater," said Chris Bordeleau of NHL Central Scouting in Sauve's draft year. "He has good hands and can undress guys with his stick-handling and his speed. Once he plays with better players, he'll continue to improve. He can skate and for today's game that is the No. 1 most important criteria. He needs to continue to work hard at getting stronger and to continue trying to improve his game to make it to the next level."

"I just want to be better than last year, just do my job," said Sauve at July's development camp. "I want to be there [in Boston this year]. … [Playing in Providence] helped me, but I was injured a little bit so that was not my best hockey. It prepared me for this year [to play in] Providence or Boston, wherever I go."

2010-11 outlook
Sauve is one of the youngsters looking to earn a spot with the big club this fall. While he is probably at least a year away and slots in behind the likes of Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne and Jordan Caron, he's still a kid to keep an eye on because he does have a bright future ahead of him. And if he has another camp like last year, that future could start a lot sooner than expected.

Having turned 20, he's eligible to go to Providence this year, and how he fares in a full season in the AHL will be an important test for him. A natural center, he is capable of playing wing — as he did in Providence alongside Colborne late last year — and may have to make that move permanently to reach Boston with the organization's depth down the middle. If he handles that shift and the challenge of playing regularly in the AHL, he could move up these rankings quickly this season. 

NESN.com will count down our Preseason Top 10 Bruins Prospects with one profiled each day.

Thursday, Sept. 2: The No. 10 prospect, defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk

Saturday, Sept. 4: The No. 8 Bruins prospect is unveiled.

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