By Ryan Porth
When the rumors came out a week or two ago about Boston dealing Marc Savard away to Columbus, I almost couldn’t believe his name was brought up in trade discussions. And with the latest talk about him waiving his no-trade clause, it’s left me wondering if Boston is making the right decision or not.
Since arriving in Boston prior to the 2006/07 season, Savard has been a great top-line center for the Bruins. In four seasons, Savard has collected 295 points in 279 games. Sure, he struggled this past season; but he was ravaged by injuries and didn’t have a go-to goal-scorer by his side when he was in the lineup. With Nathan Horton now wearing black and gold, he has a go-to-guy.
Savard is also a very affordable number one pivot. The 2010/11 campaign will be the beginning of his newly-signed seven-year pact, with a cap hit of just over $4 million. He and the Bruins came to terms on that extension this past November.
By drafting center Tyler Seguin second overall on Friday, it has reportedly made Savard ‘expendable’. That is silly. Many believe Seguin is still a year from truly being NHL-ready, and may not be able to take on the role of the number one center this year. If the Bruins trade Savard, they’d be forcing Seguin or fellow centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci (who aren’t number one-quality) into that top pivot role.
If I’m Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, I hold on to Savard, and try to trade or buyout Michael Ryder. With #91 in the lineup this year, the B’s can be more than just playoff contenders – they could win the division and be a force in the Eastern Conference once again.
Trading Savard is not necessary. They are $5.5-plus million under the cap with 17 players signed. Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler are RFA’s, and Wheeler may not be re-signed. Ridding Ryder (currently making $4 million) would open up $2 million via buyout, or bring in a draft pick or prospect via trade.
There were reports this weekend that Savard had waived his no-trade clause to go to either Toronto or Ottawa. The Leafs wouldn’t be giving up Tomas Kaberle as part of the package, while the Sens don’t make much sense unless they find a suitor for Jason Spezza. If a deal comes to fruition with one of those teams, Boston will have traded their two best offensive players within the division.
Tim Thomas is another candidate to be traded by the Bruins, but the suitors are few and far between.
Savard is a damn good top-line center and a fan favorite in Boston. I just don’t understand the logic of him being ‘expendable’ when the Bruins have cap space and aren’t in a selling-mode like the Blackhawks.
People will mention Savard’s concussion in the spring as a red flag for his future. While true, Chiarelli won’t be able to get equal return because of it.
Drafting Seguin shouldn’t force Chiarelli to trade their best offensive player.
** Ryan is a diehard hockey fan that would prefer to watch a Leafs-Islanders regular season replay over any NBA game! He’s been the editor in chief of RLD Hockey since it started in 2008, and also contributes to Inside Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter here.