Report: UFA David Savard Signed by Montreal Canadiens

David Savard Signed
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The Montreal Canadiens signed David Savard, an unrestricted free agent defenceman, to a four-year contract on Wednesday. This contract carries him through the 2024-25 season.

NHL free agent frenzy

UFA David Savard Signed

Over his 10-year NHL career, Savard has played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning. Originally drafted in the fourth round, 94th overall of the 2009 NHL draft by Columbus, the 30-year old owns 41 goals and 125 assists in 611 games. Of those 166 points, 30 came on special teams. He averaged 19:51 in ice time per game last season and averages 20:26 per game across his career. He also scored one goal and five assists for six points in 54 games last season between Columbus and Tampa Bay.

At the 2020-21 trade deadline, the Blue Jackets dealt Savard to the Lightning. In return, Columbus received 2021 first- and 2022 third-round draft picks. The trade included the Detroit Red Wings as well, who sent Brian Lashoff to the Lightning for a 2021 fourth-round pick. Savard’s Corsi-for percentage over the season ranked at 49.0 percent and -7.3% relative, but he typically sits in the negative on an annual basis. A defence-first, shot-blocking defenceman, Savard picked up 109 blocks and 132 hits in 2020-21. He also posted 24 penalty minutes, his fewest total since 2012-13 (when he played just four games, too). Though he played a limited role with the Lightning, he assisted on the Stanley Cup-winning goal as the Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cups.

What This Means for the Future

Getting David Savard signed to your roster provides Cup-winning experience and strong veteran leadership. He spent his entire career in Columbus until this past season’s trade deadline. Then, he immediately won the Stanley Cup with the Bolts. He’s logged 57 career games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, notching 16 points and 20 PIM’s in those contests. The one roster move GM Julien BriseBois made at the deadline was acquiring Savard. The defensive style he brings solidified the Lightning’s blue line and contributed greatly to their depth in the postseason.

Savard may not be flashy, but teams know what they’re getting with him. He eats up minutes on the penalty kill and at the end of games when needing to close out a win. Those types of defensemen typically fly under the radar, because they don’t often post numbers offensively. But the value added to a lineup by someone like Savard could be the difference come playoffs between winning and losing a series. Teams need defensemen like Savard.

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