The Memorial Cup is the next step for Matyas Sapovaliv

Matyas Sapovaliv will be a crucial piece for the Vegas Golden Knights's future plans. The Memorial Cup is a chance to prove his worth.
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The Memorial Cup is one of the biggest events on the junior hockey calendar, akin to the World Cup for the best hockey prospects. It provides upcoming hockey stars the chance to prove their worth while developing their on-ice talents. Matyas Sapovaliv has that golden opportunity at this year's installment, representing the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

The second-round pick in the 2022 draft for the Vegas Golden Knights has 19 goals and 43 assists in 54 games for the Spirit this season. He also scored three goals and an assist in seven games for Czechia in the World Junior Championships (under 20). The young prospect has made significant progress in his journey to make the NHL roster, adding some scoring touches to his game.

Traditionally, Vegas has traded their prospects for win-now veterans. That has included David Edstrom (traded for Tomas Hertl) and Zach Dean (traded for Ivan Barbashev), who've gone to different pastures for general manager Kelly McCrimmon to win a Stanley Cup. Will Sapovaliv be any different? Stay tuned. but that's not his main concern now.

With Saginaw tearing through the competition in the Ontario Hockey League (50-16-1-1), Sapovaliv has played a vital role in helping the Spirit win the Western Division and make the OHL Western Conference Finals in 2023-24. But this upcoming Memorial Cup is a great chance for him to take the next step in his development. The Golden Knights are void of young developing talent and need a pick-me-up in the prospect department. Can the Czech forward show his worth at the event and prove he can become part of the team's long-term plans?

A breakdown of Matyas Sapovaliv

Matyas Sapovaliv is developing his offensive form as a player. The 20-year-old is learning to use his shot as a weapon, firing it at incoming traffic for redirection goals. As he grows into his offensive style, he'll become a more valuable asset for the Vegas Golden Knights.

But that's not the only good thing he has going for him. The Czech forward is also a big body, standing at 6'3". He uses his frame to win board battles and can impact the forecheck positively. Having the ability to crash the net and cause chaos offensively is also a boon. He can abuse his size to the fullest during the Memorial Cup, adding up the goal totals.

Watching his highlights, it's clear he's an excellent finisher and can be deployed up front. There's potential for the Saginaw Spirit star to be valuable on the power play, where his big frame can create havoc. Redirections and scoring off feeds will be his calling cards, whether he's firing off shots or standing in front of the goaltender. Expect to see this type of offense during the 2024 Memorial Cup.

Saginaw will host the big event, which will help the young star feel more comfortable. He's familiar with the environment and can feed off the crowd. That should also help him develop into a promising piece, helping him grow into a more confident player.