A Thought On Marc Savard

It’s funny how quickly things can change in the NHL. And I’m not talking about Jonathan Cheechoo’s downward spiral from that 56-goal Rocket Richard Trophy winning season. (Ed. note: RIP Jonathan Cheechoo’s NHL Career — June 30th, 2010.) No. I’m talking about how after having been signed a 7-year contract extension this past December, Marc Savard is likely going to be traded by the Boston Bruins within the next few days.
So it’s my understanding that because the Boston Bruins want to free up cap and roster space for the newly drafted Tyler Seguin, they have approached Marc Savard about the possibility of a trade. Why have they approached Savard? Because with seven years and $29.4 million in his back pocket, Bruins management has decided that six months later, the length of Savard’s term is too long and expensive. Cap savings and roster flexibility was needed the moment that they drafted Tyler Seguin.
So why do I care? Because of his no-trade clause, Savard has a say in where he wants to go and the thing is, he has listed the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators as his two primary destinations before he’s obligated to provide a list of five teams to the Bruins by July 1st.
Oddly enough, there seems to be a general consenus amongst the hockey experts that Ottawa either won’t try and fit Savard in under the cap or they’re going to go in a different direction.
Whether it’s posturing or that they’re genuinely not interested in Savard, I don’t understand it. At a cap hit of $4.2 million per season, the 32-year old Savard may be on his last contract but at least he’s affordable. For a player who averaged 67 assists and 93 points for the four seasons prior to this past one, that’s not an egregious contract figure. Based on his production alone, he’d be one hell of an insulator for Jason Spezza.
With the way that Savard’s extension is structured, it’s not as bad as it sounds from the outlook. According to the Boston Herald’s Steven Harris:

Savard’s deal is heavily front-loaded, paying $7 million each of the next two seasons, then $6.5 million, $5 million, $1.5 million and just $525,000 in the final two years, giving the B’s a pretty painless buyout option ($1.05 million spread over four years) if Savard is no longer healthy and/or productive at age 38.
Certainly there are some things working against Savard. Obviously foremost is his history of concussions — the most recent coming as a result of that vicious blindsight hit that Matt Cooke laid on him. The other is the length of the contract itself. Seven years is a long time in the salary cap world. Or maybe his presence would leave the Senators a little soft up the middle.
Regardless, it gives me another opportunity to encourage the brass to pursue a legitimate second line center. Whether it’s Savard or someone else, this team needs more offensive production out of that pivot spot than what they’ve grown accustomed to from Mike Fisher. And if the cost to acquire Savard is low, why the hell not?
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