Takin' a T/O With BT: Boston is Where Marc Savard Belongs

xx yySenior Writer IJune 28, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 01:  Fans welcome back Marc Savard #91 of the Boston Bruins before the opening face off against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 1, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. This is Savard's first game back after his late season injury. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Now that Tyler Seguin is officially a Boston Bruin, that's it. Someone has to be shipped out of Boston, because there are just two many centres and not enough ice time to go around. There must be another trade coming. It must be for Marc Savard. It had to be to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After all, if one million people believe it, it must be true right?

Until July 1, Savard has a full no-trade clause, meaning that he can't be traded unless he gives consent to the deal. After that, it's a select clause: Savard chooses the five teams he wants to (and will only) go to.

With all of the talk surrounding Savard and Bruins' goalie Tim Thomas this weekend, the popular destination for Savard was Toronto. The obvious reason for this is the Phil Kessel connection: In 2008-09 Kessel scored a career-high 36 goals while Savard posted a fourth-straight 60-plus assist season as the two played alongside each other.

Last year, when Kessel went to Toronto, it created one hole with two side effects: The Bruins had no one capable of the pure goal production Kessel had brought to the team, and Savard had no one of that capability to pass the puck to.

Kessel went on to score 30 goals in 70 games in a season shortened by offseason shoulder surgery and limited by constantly shifting line combinations. Savard would play just 41 games with 33 points thanks to a knee injury, a foot injury, and another in a long line of concussions.

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What that says though is that both benefited from their time apart and could easily survive without each other. It looks like Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager Brian Burke is thinking the same thing and that the relationship between Savard and Kessel is far from symbiotic.

You wouldn't be wrong to think that Kessel scoring 30 with last year's Leafs team was a miracle. He catapulted the misplaced Matt Stajan into a productive stratosphere he had never seen, and after that led Tyler Bozak to a season eerily similar of Savard's injury-cramped one.

Savard was streaky to start the season with four goals and three assists in seven games, but five of those points coming across just two games. After sitting off with an injury, Savard returned to score a hat trick, two two-assist games, and a four and six-game point streak, but also had 11 pointless games out of 21.

Once he returned for his third extended stay last year (13 games of full health), Savard found his groove. Held off the scoresheet in just four games, Savard had a goal and 10 assists before proceeding to sit out and watch the remainder of the season. At least once the room stopped spinning.

The injuries derailed a season that, if not for the time missed, would have vaulted Savard out of this league-wide trade speculation.

Or maybe it wouldn't have.

If Savard had produced a 90-point campaign but Boston still drafted the playmaker Seguin, would the Bruins still be eyeing a deal to get the second overall pick a roster spot?

The possibility is there that they wouldn't be. When Peter Chiarelli talked about where Seguin fit in, he did say that Tyler would get every opportunity to make the team as a centre. But he also asked him about the possibility of playing on the wing, something that Seguin was willing to do. Whether that was a contingency option depending on whether Chiarelli was able to move a centre or not, who knows?

Sidenote: Everybody got so uptight during the draft about which position Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin played. But you know what? They're both adaptable. While Hall can be a goal-scoring winger, he's just as dangerous down the middle of the ice, and he's played there before. Seguin is the kind of player that will do anything to get a win, so it's no surprise he'd be willing to hop back and forth.

How about that for a development? We could see Seguin alongside the man he's supposed to "replace."

Savard is a point-per-game player at a very affordable contract ($4 million cap hit) even if the early-year payments seem high ($7 million for the next two seasons). Nathan Horton and Seguin will help bolster the scoring on the wings, and while the just barely $6 million in cap space is third-lowest in the league, it's not the end of the world.

Sure the Bruins can't get into a no-holds-barred auction for one or two top-four defensemen this offseason, but a wisely spent $4 or $5 million and a trade or two, and Boston can be a complete team.

With Marc Savard in the lineup.

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