The Montreal Canadiens have signed free-agent defenseman David Savard to a four-year, $14 million contract. The defenseman had been linked to the Habs for some time after the announcement that captain Shea Weber was battling multiple injuries, thus making his future unknown. Savard joins Montreal after 10 seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets and a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Stanley Cup champion looks to bring his years of experience to a young and promising Canadiens team.
Savard was one of the latest Blue Jackets to depart following a down season and a commitment to retooling. He is among the best players to suit up for Columbus, playing almost 600 games for the franchise over parts of 10 seasons. His career plus-16 rating doesn’t do justice to the strong seasons he had with the Jackets in the past, including a plus-33 season in 2016-17. Now that he joins another playoff hopeful, Savard can add a lot to a blue line that took a serious hit over the last few weeks.
Fit with the Canadiens
Savard looks likely to slot into the top-four with Montreal, all but replacing Weber in the lineup. His defense partner is likely one of Ben Chiarot or Joel Edmundson, both of whom showed strong play during the Habs’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, ultimately losing to Savard and the Bolts. While not the biggest of bodies, Savard is extremely effective in shutting down the opposition, shown by his strong career plus/minus ratings aside from a dismal year all-around for the Blue Jackets in 2020-21.
Savard only played 14 regular-season games with Tampa Bay but was a crucial depth addition as they made their run to the Stanley Cup. He lined up on the third pair but was counted on for big minutes while shorthanded and his veteran presence helped guide youngster Mikhail Sergachev in his second playoff run. Savard could command more minutes from Montreal than he did with the Lightning, but his role as a chance mitigator and shot-blocker will remain consistent.
He won’t add much offense on the scoresheet, but opponents respect his hard shot and ability to create rebounds for his teammates. He has only eclipsed 30 points in a season once but could flirt with that mark on an offensively capable team in Montreal. Savard is also a very capable shot-blocker, something Montreal is known to pride itself on between Weber and Chiarot racking up the blocks during this year’s playoff. Having a healthy Carey Price behind him if all works out with him could be a big boost for Savard as he joins his third NHL franchise.
Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.