SAVVY. Isaiah Saville has, literally, taken a long road to success in the USHL. Photo: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images
NHL Entry Draft 2019
Goalie prospect Saville logging heavy miles on his way to the NHL draft

Four thousand, six hundred and sixty-five miles.

Quite the journey for Isaiah Saville.

And a lengthy trek to the 2019 NHL Draft for the hopeful.

“A lot of traveling, for sure,” started goaltender Isaiah Saville, currently tending twine for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League.

“It’s been a long road.”

Saville, arguably the fastest-rising netminder in the 2019 class, has certainly been on the move.

Literally and figuratively.

Anchorage, Alaska to Morrison, Colorado.

Morrison to Richfield, Minnesota.

Richfield to Kearney, Nebraska.

All in the last three years. All with mom’s blessing.


“At first she didn’t love the idea, just the thought of her thinking she’ll have her son at home for 18 years, at least,” Saville said. “She wasn’t super psyched about it. But my dad was always supportive of the idea. She grew on the idea for sure.

“It all just sort of happened super quick. When I found out I could go to Colorado I jumped on the opportunity. That sparked everything as far as me moving out of Alaska for hockey.”

The 18-year-old left his home in Alaska to join the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 program in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League in 2016. He continued his trek with the Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League in 2017 before starting up with Tri-City this fall.

Always on the move.

Always with the support of his family.

“I get a ton of support, especially from my mom,” said Saville, who left home as a kid to join the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 program in Morrison. “She’s definitely my No. 1 supporter. She’s always making sure I’m following my dreams. It’s really nice to have that family support, and even the friends support. I talk to my mom every day.

“It’s really nice to have such a great support group in my family to make sure I’m achieving all the goals I can achieve.”

He’s well on his way.

Saville sports a 1.64 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 21 games with Tri-City, and is trending to contend with Spencer Knight of the National Team Development Program, Mads Sogaard of the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League, and Colten Ellis of the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as the top tender in the 2019 NHL Draft.

“He’s an exceptional athlete,” said Matt Zaba, goalie coach with Tri-City, and co-founder, coach and consultant with Mountain High Hockey.

“His feet are so quick. He’s able to get in position for every shot. He’s got a shot on every shot because of that. It was his athletic ability, his footwork. He’s let his patience take over. He plays a very controlled game, but he’s able to break from his structure when he needs to make that big save.”

It’s not all raw talent, though.

There’s some drive behind it, too.

“I think he just constantly wants to get better,” Zaba said. “He’s always asking for feedback. Right when the game’s over, if I’m not with the team, I’m getting a text message asking for the video pretty much immediately. He’s a student of the game. He’s very coachable.

“He just constantly wants to improve.”

It’s why Saville, a University of Nebraska-Omaha commit, has taken his talents across the country.

Much to the benefit of his development.

And draft stock.

Saville is soaring.

“He’s definitely getting a ton of interest,” Zaba said. “We’ve had teams, or I’ve been contacted by a bunch of teams so far asking for video or asking what our thoughts are. Anytime you’re doing what he’s doing in this league, you’re going to get plenty of attention.

“I would say he’s been on the radar probably a little bit, but this year it’s probably taken it to the next level just by being able to do what he’s done and the season he’s had so far.”

That includes two tours at top prospect showcases — the All-American Prospects Game in Saint Paul, MN in September and the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Lincoln, NB in January.

It also includes a stop backstopping Team USA at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta, in January.

The tournament helped further solidify Saville’s status as a top-rising prospect for 2019.

“I’m hoping that’s kind of what that did for me,” Saville said. “I’m hoping that boosted my chances of getting drafted. I think I’ve played pretty well there. I think I advertised well. There’s a lot of scouts there and a lot of people watching.

“The performance I put forward, I think it helped my chances.”

It did, unquestionably.

Just like each stop has.

And the many miles he’s tacked on to get there will help him add even more.

“It’s been a long journey,” Saville said.

“But it’s been fun so far.”

You may also be interested in:
Bobby Brink entering first round conversation
Bobby Brink entering first round conversation
This article is about:
Features News NHL Entry Draft 2019 Tri-City Storm USHL Isaiah Saville
Scoring Leaders