Montreal Canadiens: Why Moving David Savard Now Makes Sense

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens took full advantage of Sean Monahan's value before it was too late, yet they find themselves in the same situation with David Savard.

With Savard, the issue has nothing to do with his health, but his age and perfect timing. Ahead of the trade deadline, playoff teams will start assessing their depth and how to best prepare for a deep Stanley Cup run. And they could do a lot worse than a penalty-killing, minute-munching veteran defenseman with a Stanley Cup on his resume.

The trade package may not be as intriguing as Monahan's was, but Kent Hughes could stand to gain from moving Savard. Shutdown, shot-blocking defenders don't grow on trees and his importance to a defence corps is invaluable. Kaiden Guhle and Mike Matheson have spent plenty of time paired with No.58, which speaks to the value he has provided Martin St. Louis.

Savard has two years left on his contract and his salary might be a little rich, but if a team is to provide Hughes with some incentive, he just might retain a bit of salary. But the thing that stands out about Savard is his ability to provide a mentor and calming presence on a young blueline. And while that may not stand out to a more experienced defence core, he is reliable and sacrifices his body for the benefit of the team.

His tangibles are what stand out and while he isn't likely to score a series-clinching goal or dangle the jockstrap off of a goalie. He is the type of player that a team wins with and his defensive efforts seldom go unnoticed. For the Canadiens to retain him and Mike Matheson beyond this year's trade deadline, it would make very little sense. Both aren't getting any younger, and Savard especially is likely going to become increasingly less fleet of foot.

It would undoubtedly shake the Habs defence core pretty significantly, but if the market for Savard is significant, it would be wise to move him. Strike while the iron is hot, and promote from within. A trade would open a spot on the Habs blueline, which would allow another defender to come up to the NHL and acclimate themselves ahead of next year's training camp.

Moving Savard would be a 'kill two birds with one stone' type of scenario. Not only would Hughes emerge as a helpful guy for a club in need of a defender. But he could acquire an asset(s) while adding to the Habs group of draft picks and creating more opportunities for players drafted by the club to crack the NHL roster.

I understand completely that you can't ice a completely raw group of blueliners, but I think that sitting Jordan Harris, and not listening to offers on Savard makes little sense. Harris has a future with this team and if he doesn't, then playing him will only raise his value. I hate losing as much as the next person, but the ultimate goal is to raise the value of those who are on their way out and address a need in the top six.