Prospect Watch: Matyas Sapovaliv

The Vegas Golden Knights usually boast a star at World Juniors. Here's how Matyas Sapovaliv is no different from the norm.

Saginaw Spirit v Kitchener Rangers
Saginaw Spirit v Kitchener Rangers / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

The Vegas Golden Knights tend to crank out stars at a junior/AHL level. One perfect example is goaltender Carl Lindbom, who stood out for Sweden at the 2023 World Juniors. Another is team captain Adam Cracknell, who was selected for the 2024 AHL All-Star Game.

But there's another Golden Knights prospect that shined bright for his native country, the Czech Republic. His name? Matyas Sapovaliv. The forward helped Czechia win silver at the 2023 IIHF World Juniors Championship. Here, he produced seven assists in seven games, solidifying himself as an up-and-coming skater.

However, he didn't just make his presence known on the global stage. Domestically, he's become a force, taking over the Ontario Hockey League. This season, the native of the Czech Republic has 18 goals and 41 assists in 51 games with the Saginaw Spirit.

What Matyas Sapovaliv Brings to the Table

Matyas Sapovaliv has gotten progressively better each season with the Saginaw Spirit. From getting 52 points in 2021-2022 to bumping up that total to 56 the next season, the 20-year-old can grow his hockey game and become a vital asset for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Sapovaliv is also a bigger body, standing at a mean 6'3". If the forward can fill out his frame, he can become an imposing figure in Bruce Cassidy's system. That way, he can use his body for better things, such as fortifying the forecheck and blocking shots.

The 48th-overall pick also boasts a solid two-way game, making him even more effective in Cassidy's system. Add in flawless skating and the Czech Republic star can become a presence on the Golden Knights.

What Can Matyas Sapovaliv Improve?

While Matyas Sapovaliv is a smart player defensively and offensively, the aforementioned frame needs to be filled out. Standing at 190 lbs. leaves plenty of room for improvement, especially in a Vegas Golden Knights system that plays back a lot.

There's also some aspects of Sapovaliv's game offensively that can improve. That includes his wrist shot, which could be quicker. If goalies have time to set up, it's a sign the forward should sharpen his wrist shot a bit more.

Still, Matyas Sapovaliv projects to land in Sin City some time in the 2024-2025 season. If the 20-year-old can fill out his frame and work on parts of his offensive game, he can become a fully-effective two-way forward in Bruce Cassidy's system.