Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25: Isaiah Saville continues to improve in the NCAA
The Alaskan netminder moves up seven spots to No. 13.
Knights On Ice’s 2020-21 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. The KOI staff members created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that formed the final rankings.
The Vegas Golden Knights took Isaiah Saville in the fifth round (No. 153 overall) of the 2019 NHL draft. Saville is in his second season with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, not traditionally a power college hockey club, where he has continued to improve over the past two seasons. So far this year, Nebraska is 12-10-1 with Saville in net and has started its other netminder just twice.
No. 13: Isaiah Saville
- Age: 20
- Position: Goaltender
- Currently playing: University of Nebraska at Omaha, NCAA
- Nationality: American/
Saville has been serving as Nebraska’s starting goaltender since last season, when he had a .907 save percentage in 28 games and completed one shutout with a 10-11-4 record. This season, Saville also has one shutout in his 12 wins.
The last time Saville played internationally was in 2018-19 in the World Junior A Challenge, where he posted a .944 save percentage in three games. Team USA went 2-0-1 while he was in net in that tournament.
Saville is small for a modern netminder — at 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds, he’s even smaller than Marc-Andre Fleury — but he continues to make saves by knowing his angles and filling up as much of the space as he can by playing near the edge of the crease. He’s very good at making the puck find him center-mass, but he could still use some work on rebound control at times.
Saville also has a quick, active glove he can use to control the puck. His improvement year over year is good news for the Golden Knights, who may have need of another netminder in coming seasons. Fleury is 36 years old with one year remaining on his contract after this season, and Robin Lehner is 29 but could use a competent backup down the line.
Saville will be competing with other goaltenders in the system — Logan Thompson made his NHL debut this season, and Jiri Patera will make his AHL debut soon — but his upward trajectory could mean good things.
Isaiah Saville 💪 pic.twitter.com/2jGi4MXgNG— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 16, 2020
A lot of the attention has been placed on the great play of Yaroslav Askarov, but Isaiah Saville has been fantastic in today's game. #WJAC pic.twitter.com/WbChylnvCI— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) December 17, 2018
Despite being on the smaller side for goaltenders, Saville has quick reflexes that allow him to see around screens and position himself well in front of oncoming shots. He also knows how to use his stick effectively to make desperation saves.
Saville has competition for the future Golden Knights’ net, but as the youngest of the most promising trio — Thompson, Patera and himself — he could continue to move up this list in coming seasons. However, he’ll need to transition effectively to the AHL in the future to have a chance at the NHL level. Saville is a name to watch right now.
Previously in the Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 2020-21 Series:
Honorable mention: Layton Ahac
No. 25: Jonas Rondbjerg
No. 24: Jake Leschyshyn
No. 23: Paul Cotter
No. 22: Keegan Kolesar
No. 21: Ben Jones
No. 20: Marcus Kallionkieli
No. 19: Lukas Cormier
No. 18: Pavel Dorofeyev
No. 17: Brandon Kruse
No. 16: Peter DeLiberatore
No. 15: Connor Corcoran
No. 14: Ivan Morozov