In my last piece of my three part series on how to get Alfie his cup, SenShot will look at how Centre Marc Savard could be the missing link to Ottawa’s Cup glory. Could Marc Savard be the elusive 2nd line centre that Ottawa has been searching for? Could he alleviate some of the pressure off Jason Spezza’s shoulders? How would we be able to acquire him? And now with Kovalchuk signed in NJ, is Savard the right fit? Read on to find out.
Marc Savard is the Boston Bruins 1st line centre and has been since he signed as a free agent in the summer of 2006. Since the lockout, Savard has turned himself into one of the best point producing playmakers in the NHL. Standing at only 5’10” and 191lbs, and recently turning 33 yrs old, Savard has scored 392 points in his last five seasons (361 games). Since signing with the Bruins, Savard has developed into a two-way centre under the tutelage of Coach Claude Julien. Having signed a 7-year contract extension in December 2009, Savard thought he would end his career as a Bruin. But with the drafting of future franchise centre Tyler Seguin and cap issues, Bruins management has deemed Savard expendable. Savard has a no-trade clause and has been reported to have waived it to go only to Toronto or Ottawa as his family lives in the area.
The Savard situation is similar to the Dan Boyle situation a few years ago with Tampa Bay. Boyle had just signed a contract extension with TB that summer before the new owners took over the team. Once the new owners were in place, they wanted Boyle and his large contract gone. They threaten to put Boyle on waivers and he eventually was traded to San Jose. Ottawa had a chance to get Boyle back then and he could have solved their puck moving problems. But Ottawa passed on Boyle and he went on to star for San Jose. Now a few years later, Savard is in the same position as Boyle was and so is Ottawa. Savard could be the 2nd line centre that Ottawa has been searching for. He could solidify the centre position in Ottawa for the next few years. And as it has been proven with the last few Cup winners, strength down the middle is vital.
Taking a look at Ottawa’s depth chart, the centre position is stocked with a handful of quality prospects. However, apart from putting Peter Regin back a centre, Ottawa has no elite centres that could possibly make an impact in the top 6. Thus, by trading for Marc Savard, Ottawa can have two elite playmakers in their top 6 and move Mike Fisher to a 3rd line shutdown role. Savard would be able to help balance out the offense and could alleviate some of the pressure off Spezza’s shoulders. He could also help create a second power-play unit that can be effective.
There seems to be two main problems with Savard: his injury history and his contract. Last season, Savard missed a chunk of the season after receiving a cheap shot for Matt Cooke. He missed 24 games, including 6 playoff games with a concussion. However, he returned in the second round of the playoffs to scored 3 points in seven games. Savard seems to be over any side effects from the concussion and has been given a clean bill of health. Could he be injured in the future? Yes. But so can anyone (especially when you get cheap shots from Cooke), but he is no glass man.
Savard’s contract is another concern as fans don’t want to pay him until he is 40 yrs old. However, his contract is front loaded and essentially is a 4 year $25.5 million contract. The last three years of his contract only pays him a total of $2.550 million. He will be 37 yrs old after the first 4 years of his contract, and it is to be expected that he would retire and erase his cap hit from the books. And with $14.225 million coming off the books next year, the Sens have the room to fit Savard’s contract into their cap structure.
What would Ottawa have to trade to get Savard? Well here is where karma rewards the Senators for the whole Heatley fiasco last summer. It is known that Boston wants to trade Savard. It is known that Boston has cap problems. It is known that Savard will only waive his no-trade clause to go to either Ottawa or Toronto. This gives the advantage to Ottawa and the ability to possibly win a trade. Looking at Boston’s depth chart and salary cap, the Bruins are strong at forward and in goal. But there defence lacks true blue chip prospects. Having already six defensemen signed in Ottawa, unsigned RFA Chris Campoli is expendable, especially with the number of quality d-man prospects in the system. Campoli would be able to play in Boston’s bottom two pairings and provide offense and youth from the backend.
Would a trade of C Marc Savard for D Chris Campoli and a 2011 2nd round draft pick get the deal done? Is this too low? Flashy forward Simon Gagne only got D Matt Walker and a 4th round pick in a trade. I think this deal would be fair as Ottawa would be taking on more salary and a larger contract and is helping Boston solve their cap issues.
What would Ottawa’s line-up look like?
Peter Regin (2.000)* – Jason Spezza (7.000) – Daniel Alfredsson (4.875)
Milan Michalek (4.333) – Marc Savard (4.007) – Alexei Kovalev (5.000)
Nick Foligno (1.000)* – Mike Fisher (4.200) – Chris Neil (2.000)
Jarkko Ruutu (1.300) – Zach Smith (0.583) – Jesse Winchester (0.750)
Sergei Gonchar (5.500) – Erik Karlsson (1.300)
Chris Phillips (3.500) – Brian Lee (0.875)
Filip Kuba (3.700) – Matt Carkner (0.700)
Pascal Leclaire (3.800)
Brian Elliott (0.850)
Total cap =$59.202 million**
* = projected salary
** = plus buyouts ($1.928)
And as you can see, with Fisher moving to the 3rd line, there would be no need for Chris Kelly who could be traded out of Ottawa. Is this a line-up that can compete in the East? Are we too close to the cap? Is Savard the right man to take a chance on to go for it all? Could this get Alfie his Cup? Let us know what you think.