NHL: Can the Boston Bruins Win With Marc Savard?
Immediately after the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs last year, everyone started pointing the finger at Marc Savard.
With about 11 minutes remaining in the game, Savard called for a line change, and then he saw something developing and called off the change. However, it was too late as the Bruins were called for a penalty for having too many men on the ice. Not long after the penalty the Flyers scored the eventual game-winning goal.
After the Bruins drafted Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick in the NHL Draft, reports came out that the Bruins were going to try and trade Savard—this upset "Savy."
Marc Savard had been a fan favorite around Boston for quite some time, but once the playoffs ended, his popularity started to wane.
It was announced before the season that he would not be ready for the start of the season due to post-concussion syndrome, the same concussion he returned from in the playoffs. Many thought he was taking his time returning from the injury to spite the Bruins because of the trade rumors.
On December 2, 2010, Savard made his season debut at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 25 games this season, Savard has tallied two goals, eight assists and 10 points—not exactly standout numbers.
Should the Bruins Trade Savard?
On January 26, Savard was hit by former teammate Matt Hunwick, which resulted in—you guessed it—another concussion. Unlike the Matt Cooke hit that sidelined Savard for much of last season, this was not a dirty hit, it was just unlucky. According to reports, the best case scenario for Savard is that he returns for the start of the playoffs—the worst case is that he does not return at all this season.
This puts the Bruins in an interesting spot because of the depth and youth they have on this team.
The Bruins play a "blue-collar" style of hockey, whereas Savard is very fragile and does not really fit this mold. While I am not saying he has to be Milan Lucic or Shawn Thornton, he is in a system where toughness is so important and he should show that he is buying into the Bruins philosophy.
There have been numerous reports that Savard is not much of a team player, and these reports date back to when he was playing in Atlanta. Savard is going to be 34 years old at the start of next season and while he could still have several years left, do the Bruins really want to keep him around for the final six years of his contract?
Patrice Bergeron is playing the best he has in years, while Lucic is having a breakout season. When Savard went down last year, David Krejci stepped up and carried the team.
Mark Recchi has discovered the fountain of youth, and the addition of Nathan Horton has added another scoring threat to an already deep team.
Not to be forgotten is Tyler Seguin, who many are predicting to be one of the best players in the league within a couple years.
It is going to be difficult to trade Savard right now because of the concussion, as he would likely fail any physical that he would be required to take. However, the Bruins would be smart to shut him down for the year and just play on without him.
Last year it was always a matter of "when is he coming back?" but if the Bruins can just tell themselves that this is the team they are going to win with, they could try and trade Savard in the offseason.
It is likely that they would just be looking for draft picks in return, which is fine. Their team is talented enough where they do not need any "game changers."
Savard's contract is worth an average of about $4 million annually and this is affordable for many teams. The Bruins have showed before that they are not afraid to trade away the team's top players (Thornton, Samsonov, Kessel), so do not be surprised if they put Savy on the trading block.
I think trading Savard would be for the best. It would give the Bruins some money to spend in the offseason, while also giving Seguin some more playing time that he could probably use.
If Savard was younger, I would be against the trade as he would likely have a much higher upside, but at this point in his career he has peaked. He is still a nice complementary player, but he is not the player.
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