The Habs have added to their back end, announcing the signing of David Savard to a four-year contract. The deal will carry a cap hit of $3.5 million and does not contain any trade protection.
The 30-year-old has spent almost his entire 10-year career with Columbus who drafted Savard back in the fourth round in 2009. However, with the Blue Jackets out of contention down the stretch, they moved him to Tampa Bay in a three-team, double-retention trade (and we all know what happened next, no need to relive that further).
Savard checks off a few boxes in terms of what Shea Weber brought to the table as the Habs look to try to replace their captain who is out for all of next season at a minimum. He brings plenty of physicality to the table and is a capable penalty killer which should allow Dominique Ducharme to put him on the top unit and not ask Jeff Petry to take on a bigger role shorthanded. It will be crucial to avoid not over-taxing Petry so that should certainly help.
However, Savard is not going to come in and replace the offence that Weber brought to the table. Over the past two seasons combined, he has one goal and 16 assists. He had an 11-goal year but that came back in 2014-15; it’s safe to say Savard is just a stay-at-home defender now.
As a result of this signing, GM Marc Bergevin is doubling down on size and physicality being the key to success from the back end as with Savard plus Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson, they basically will have three of the same type of player. We saw that work out well for the Canadiens in the playoffs but the officiating standard is typically tighter in the regular season so will it work for them again next year? Bergevin clearly believes the answer is yes but we’ll have to wait a while to find out.