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Don’t trade David Savard

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Don’t trade David Savard

It’s November 27. The Habs have a 9-10-2 record, meaning they’ve won just nine of their 21 games after a quarter of the season has been played.

Only three of those victories came in regular time, the lowest total in the entire NHL.

This morning, the CH find themselves 13th out of 16 in the East, four points ahead of the miserable Blue Jackets in last place. With the Devils (14th) and Senators (15th) having games in hand on the Tricolore, it’s safe to assume that, in a few days’ time, the Montrealers will be second-bottom in their Association…

(Credit: NHL.com)

Fortunately, there are the Blackhawks (12 points) and Sharks (10 points) in the West to “protect” the Montreal debacle in the overall standings. Although, since the introduction of the lottery…

Some would say that the Canadiens are back where they were before the start of the season

I’m one of those who think that the Habs haven’t progressed since last season; thatthey’re not a better team than they were this time last year.

A team like the CH, which has just spent two years in a row at the bottom of the standings, should start to improve year after year. We should be able to see some encouraging things when we watch their Saturday afternoon games (in Los Angeles).

If you’re one of those who drinks the Kool-Aid served up (with lots of water) by the organization’s coaches and executives, that’s your business… except that the team’s current difficulties shouldn’t be excused simply by holding up the injury list.

Carey Price will never play professional hockey again. Chris Wideman’s career is probably over, and even if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t change the current reality.

Jordan Harris, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Arber Xhekaj would be depth players on a good team.

Yes, Kirby Dach’s absence hurts, but a myriad of players were absent last year and the CH was no worse than it is now.

If Josh Anderson had improved…

If Cole Caufield had put it in more often and been involved in all phases of the game…

If Christian Dvorak, Michael Pezzetta, Joel Armia, Tanner Pearson, Jake Evans and company gave more to the team…

The CH wouldn’t have such a poor record. Only Nick Suzuki, Sean Monahan, Alex Newhook, Brendan Gallagher, Johnathan Kovacevic, Brendan Gallagher, Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron, Mike Matheson, Jesse Ylonen and ultimately Juraj Slafkovsky in recent games have earned passing grades among forwards and defensemen. And even then, they don’t show consistency or regularity.

There is, however, one absence that really hurts the team: that of David Savard.

I know, Savard won’t be around the day the team – hopefully – aspires to the big time, but when he’s in the line-up, he gives his coach more than 20 minutes of good hockey, acts as a leader by showing the way to the youngest defensemen, and is the perfect example of what the organization’s culture should be. Even if it means getting injured while sacrificing himself for the team. #BlockedShot #Fracture

In 5 games this season with Savard in uniform (at the start of the calendar), the CH won three games and dropped two, including one in overtime. His 7 points were the fifth-highest total in the NHL on the evening of October 23…

But without Savard, it’s a different story: 6-9-1, the seventh-worst record in the NHL from October 24 to today.

Conclusion: David Savard helps his team win by playing good hockey… but also by making the other players around him better. Especially the young defensemen

Without Savard in the line-up, the young defensemen have fewer bearings and don’t play the same way. They may be scoring goals, but the problem is that they’re letting far too many shots (and scoring chances) get past their two goalies.

In short, even though he’s 33 years old, Christ David Savard represents a very important element for the Montreal Canadiens… and that’s why he shouldn’t be traded.

I know, many will say that we should try to get a quality asset (pick or prospect) in return for a veteran like Savard, but we mustn’t forget that :

1. The Habs already have plenty of draft picks in the bank,
2. Teams won’t give an A prospect in return for Savard,
3. If he can bring the team’s young defensemen up to their highest potential, Savard will help the team more than, say, another second-round pick,
4. Savard has one year left on his contract, which will allow us to reassess his situation in two weeks’s time, when he will be a potential rental player,
5. He is an important vector in the culture that management is trying to impose,
6. He is one of the few right-handed defensemen in the organization, along with Justin Barron, Johnathan Kovacevic and David Reinbacher.
7. He is a French-speaking Quebecer who can bridge the gap between the media, the fans and the organization.

If this were 1985, I’d say Savard was a bit of a player-coach…

But since we’re in 2023, I’d compare him to anoverall rating boost applied to all team players in your favorite video game.

At ” only” $3.5 million a year, it’s worth it! Especially since Éric Girard could always decide to pay his salary with taxpayers’ money just because we like hockey in Montreal. #LOL

2 X $3.5 million = $7 million. All is in all.

Note that David Savard should be able to return to action in early December. That should help the team… which will be on the verge of its longest road trip of the season. #Holidays

Extension

Some would argue that Brendan Gallagher can play the same leadership role as David Savard. However, just because Gallagher has a letter on his sweater and Savard doesn’t, doesn’t mean Gally is a better leader than the Quebec veteran.

First, Savard is a defenseman and Gally is a forward; ultimately, they don’t influence the same group of players.

More importantly, I’m pretty sure that Cole Caufield and Christian Dvorak wouldn’t have been “passing a message” to Savard during a training session last week.

In fact, I’m pretty sure Savard would never have been involved in a game like this during practice, period.

The two guys don’t have the same influence on the group, and no one can take Savard’s place when he’s absent. Gallagher can be replaced by Rafaël Harvey-Pinard. #Lavallagher

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