Sacha Boisvert is an ascendant talent for the 2024 NHL Draft
Sacha Boisvert may play in the USHL, but he was born in Trois-Rivières, Québec. For most born into that part of the world, the play would be to join the QMJHL, but that league just isn't sending players to the NHL as often as it used to.
So, he's going the college route via the USHL, as are many Canadians these days. The league is quickly developing into one of the best for players in this 17-20 age group with NHL aspirations, and Boisvert certainly qualifies.
On top of it all, he'll get access to a college education when he joins the University of North Dakota in his draft-plus-one season.
For now, Boisvert is a bit of a raw talent. He looks like a centre as currently constructed, but you never know these days; centres in junior often become wingers in the NHL. He's put on the weight to survive at the position in the NHL – Boisvert is at 180 pounds as of this writing – and he's got the skill for it, but his skating may keep him from sticking there.
"I like being a centre because there are a lot of responsibilities being a centre. It’s a big challenge being a centre. You have to think offence and defence at the same time,” Boisvert told EP Rinkside. “It’s fun and it’s challenging. I struggled last year, as a 16-year-old in the league. I’ve been really picking it up. That’s one part of my game that’s been improving the most. We have some great coaching in Muskegon, and I’ve been working on it a lot. Before and after practice.”
Boisvert certainly has the kind of vision that can make a player very effective as either a scorer or a playmaker at the next level.
“I think my shot is my best attribute,” Boisvert answered quickly. "The way I use my size (6-foot-2) and my skill together that’s my next best attribute.”
That’s what makes this forward so appealing. If he turns into a centre, that’s a bonus since the draft isn’t deep at that position.
Going up against the NTDP is something he’s used to. Whether it’s an all-star game like the All-American Game or just a regular season game when Muskegon faces them. He is up for the challenge, and that’s why I look at him as one of the best players in the USHL.
“We’ve played them six times this year so far. I played a lot against them last season too,” Boisvert said.
Some players can tune out the black jackets in the crowd and others try and play up to them. Boisvert is a bit different, and the fact that he’s able to tune it all out is a good sign when he moves up the ladder.
“Obviously, there will be a lot of scouts in the stands. You have to block that out. It's just a game. In any game, you never know who is going to be watching you and who is going to be there. It’s just a hockey game so I will be myself the best I can.”
This summer his training helped set up his best season ever. Last year he had 17 goals and 28 helpers in 57 games. This year, he already has 21 goals and 17 assists after 38 games. The fact that he’s scoring more is a plus for him. That goal scoring is coming from gained confidence from a hard summer of training.
“I did put on 15 pounds of muscle. I’ve been working on my strength a lot,” Boisvert said, but he worked on more than that. “I worked on my skating. Particularly the first three steps. It’s very important.”
Boisvert is fully at home on the power play. He has a smooth wrist shot that does find the net. It has some bite. Another strong part of his play on the power play is his ability to set up on either side.
“When I’m trying to beat the goalie. I try to change the angle a bit and try and put the puck in the back of the net. I do like mixing sides up, exactly,” said Boisvert.
There are times when the other team is trying to target him and take him out of the play. He does have some pushback now that he’s stronger and that can make a player mentally tougher too.
“If I get the sense that the other team pre-scouts me, I’m just going to shoot or get in a lane and try and fake a shot and move it to someone backdoor. Just things like that to help myself and my teammates get better,” Boisvert added.
Boisvert has a good two-way game.
“I’ve improved it a lot over last year. At Muskegon, we have coaching sessions about that and there’s been good improvement. It’s not perfect,” Boisvert admitted. “There’s always room for improvement, but it is improving.”
Rush chances is a fairly new statistic that is tracked and coveted at the next level. Boisvert checks those boxes and can score that way.
As a draft-eligible player, it’s always a bonus to play your best hockey that season. It doesn’t always work out that way, and scouts watch players for many years, but the truth is a fruitful draft year still helps, and it can boost your stock.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet. I am just focusing on my game right now,” Boisvert said. “My family and I should be going. I haven’t really talked to them about it yet.”
Boisvert is going to a great program at North Dakota There is no doubt that they will round out his game, and he’ll have a chance to face top-notch competition. He will be going there as a true freshman, but he’s very mature, and this shouldn’t be a problem.
As far as his future, this is someone with second-line talent, if everything breaks right. And that seems like a reasonable floor for his draft position, too.
Could Boisvert go higher though? If he keeps it up, I certainly wouldn't rule that out.