This is shaping up to be quite the important week for the Boston Bruins. First, news breaks about Marc Savard signing a seven-year extension to the tune of $28 million, followed by a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Now, the Bruins will try to carry the momentum they’ve created into the weekend where two notable games against division rivals will be waiting for them. The top news, not for the first time, isn’t the first visit to Montreal or Phil Kessel’s Maple Leafs coming to town. But instead, the fact that one of the biggest free agents to hit the market this upcoming postseason decided that winning here in Boston, not a blockbuster contract, was his top priority. When does that ever happen to the Bruins? Enter here, a sigh of relief.
Take a look at Marc Savard’s new contract for the next seven years. He’ll be cashing in with $7 million promised the first two years and then $6.5 and $5 million the two years following. For the last three seasons Savard, at age 37, will pull in $1.5 million the fifth year and $525K for the last two years. Annually, the Bruins cap hit for the deal is $4.007 million. That’s not a typo, that’s a steal.
All you ever hear Bruins fans talking about when a player shines on another team is “why can’t we have someone like him?” Marc Savard would have been that player if he started the 2010-11 season with another team. On the open market, Savard could have potentially received a lucrative contract by a team willing to overpay for his production. And where would have that gotten him? To a lower-tier team with cap space that is absolutely desperate for a Stanley Cup.
The Boston Bruins have that player. They’ve had him all along and now they’ll have him for another seven years. And who will he be passing to? Oh, potentially the 1st and 2nd round draft picks that the B’s acquired from Toronto for Kessel.
With Savard now signed, the Bruins have locked up three of their biggest potential free agents with Milan Lucic and Tuukka Rask (restricted free agent) rounding out the group. The Bruins now have their three centers signed through the 2011-12 season when Patrice Bergeron will become an unrestricted free agent. Give Boston credit for following the blueprint set by the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that builds their team around their centermen. And while Savard and David Krejci may not be Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the centering duo (or trifecta if you add in Bergeron), is certainly one of the tops in the league.
The next biggest issue for Boston is finding wingmen to produce goals off of Savard, who is on a four-game point streak. The shuffling of the top line for the B’s has yet to solidify with Lucic, Marco Sturm, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and Byron Bitz all taking turns. In the past three games, with Lucic still injured, Wheeler and Bitz have been lining up with Savard.
However, scoring goals remains the top deficiency for the Bruins. The coming-of-terms period is now in effect for all fans realizing that maybe no one skater will be able to replicate Kessel’s 36 goals last season. The post-lockout Bruins were never a team in which one superstar outshone the rest of the team. The closest they’ve come with having a remarkable offensive presence on the team has been with Marc Savard.
Luckily, perhaps, that’s something could continue for awhile.