Canadiens defenseman reveals how he felt knowing that he could have been a Leaf at the deadline

Dean Chaudhry
March 16, 2024  (8:06 PM)

Savard pursues a puck into the corner
Photo credit: The Fourth Period

Defensemen are always a hot commodity ahead of the trade deadline and this year was indifferent with players like Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Sean Walker, and Nikita Zadorov amongst others all being dealt to contending clubs. The Toronto Maple Leafs were unsurprisingly linked to all of them at one point but another name that garnered a lot of interest was Montreal Canadiens veteran David Savard.

The 33-year-old was an interesting piece because he was not your typical rental as he carried an extra year on his contract with a relatively low cap hit of $3.5 million - which is exactly why Brad Treliving was snooping around Montreal. Ultimately, the Canadiens held onto the defenseman full well knowing that his value won't drop between now and next year's trade deadline.
The asking price was steep considering he was carrying term but the Quebec-native was more relieved than anything else that was able to stay put. His first game post-deadline was against the Maple Leafs and even he admits that it would have been strange to not only suit up in the visitor's quarters but also for a rival like Toronto.
"They weren't trying to shop me too much, but I definitely heard all the names, and you have people calling you or telling you all these. I'm trying to block it out, in a way. I know it's part of the business. And it would definitely be weird ... if I were in that dressing room, but those things happen."
At the end of the day, he also understands that hockey is a business and that the Canadiens are currently in a rebuild where prospects and draft picks are far more valuable:
"If we got the call, we get the call — and we'll figure it out, but I think we kind of had a sense that they weren't trying to throw me anywhere."
Savard has spent the last 3 seasons in Montreal after having won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2021. He knows all too well about the trade deadline woes as he was sent from Columbus to Tampa Bay in 2021 - after having spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Blue Jackets.
He has averaged 21:18 TOI in his 168 games with Montreal where he has also tallied 11 goals and 52 points to go along with his 94 PIMs, 426 blocked shots, and 250 hits. Not to mention that he is also a right-handed shot, which is something all general managers covet more than anything else. Look for rumours to ramp up ahead of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft and beyond - if he's still not moved.
MARCH 16   |   580 ANSWERS
Canadiens defenseman reveals how he felt knowing that he could have been a Leaf at the deadline

Should the Maple Leafs re-engage trade talks for Savard this summer?

Yes, he's exactly what they need on the back-end21436.9 %
No, they need to prioritize elsewhere16829 %
Not sure Montreal would deal him to Toronto19834.1 %
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