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David Savard and Joel Edmundson must not be managed in the same way by Kent Hughes
Credit: Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

On paper, David Savard’s case looks a bit like Joel Edmundson’s a year ago. Both are defensive defensemen with a history of injuries and good leadership skills.

Both have/had four-year contracts valued at $3.5 million per year.

In both cases, with a year and a half to go before their autonomy (2023 for Edmundson and 2024 for Savard), Kent Hughes tried to trade them to another club, but to no avail.

Of course, we know that Edmundson was eventually traded to the Capitals on July 1. The Canadiens retained 50% of his salary and received a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick in exchange.

Could this also happen to David Savard? Yes. At a higher price, but yes.

I’ve talked about the similarities between the two men, but there are also differences that will ensure that if Savard leaves, it will be at a higher price. Firstly, he’s right-handed. Secondly, he doesn’t have a recurring back injury…

But above all, he’s more important to the Habs right now.

Last year, when Edmundson was traded, the Habs still had two veterans on the blue line: Mike Matheson and Chris Wideman Savard. But now, if you trade Savard, a valued veteran, and Matheson gets injured…

That’s why Savard has a chance of being traded, but it’s not exactly a guarantee either. If the price isn’t extraordinary, Savard will start next season in Montreal.

Obviously, Kent Hughes will explore the possibility this summer… but at worst, it will only serve as a basis for establishing his value next winter, at the 2025 deadline.

That’s what Frank Seravalli has to say on the subject of NHL transactions.

Obviously, if the price is right, releasing a defender can be tempting. As you know, the Habs are overflowing with growing defensemen and will have to make room for them at some point.

However, in an NHL where every penny counts, I don’t see Savard leaving without salary retention. That complicates the matter.

Joel Armia, Christian Dvorak (who the Habs aren’t going to keep after 2025) and Savard will all be free agents a year from now. Those are three guys who could leave with salary retention… but the Habs only have one in the bank as of July 1.

That complicates things, too. And it also means that trading Savard isn’t nearly as simple as trading Edmundson in 2023.

In bursts

– Oh, yeah?

– That’s crazy.

– Did you see this?

– Good thing Alexis Lafrenière is here. [JdeM]

– Still.

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