Canadiens defenseman David Savard
Photo credit: RDS

Leafs officially linked to bruising blueliner within their own division

Published February 9, 2024 at 10:38

The Toronto Maple Leafs are certainly a team who appears to be missing something. However, after winning 4 of their last 5 games, it has become abundantly clear that this team isn't going to go away. There has been a lot of speculation that this isn't the year for the Leafs to "go for it" and empty the cupboard any more than they already have, but with the team showing the level of resiliency that they have, they appear to be sending a message to GM Brad Treliving that they can compete, and if given the right pieces at the deadline, they can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the best come playoff time.

On Wednesday, TSN's Pierre LeBrun suggested that the Leafs are two defensemen and a top-nine forward away from being considered a true contender. While it may seem unrealistic and irresponsible for the Leafs to go after that many pieces with the cupboards already as bare as they are, if they want to truly push their chips into the middle and go for it, it may end up costing them a piece or two they don't want to move. There are, however, players that they can bring in who may not cost as much as, say, a Noah Hanifin or a Chris Tanev.

This week, The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta has linked the Leafs to a Stanley Cup winning defenseman from another Canadian market. That player is Montreal Canadiens defender David Savard, who won a Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2021.

Savard may not seem like a needle-mover at face value, but he may be exactly what this Leafs team needs to help solidify things on the backend. Savard is a hard-hitting, shot-blocking defenseman who can give the Leafs a solid 20+ minutes per night. While he's not going to shoot the lights out from the blueline, he can almost certainly come in and stabilize things for the Leafs in their own end.

A big body, standing 6-foot-1 and 238 pounds, Savard isn't going to struggle to clear the front of the net or play along the wall in his own zone the same way that T.J. Brodie and/or Timothy Liljegren do. He's also a right shot defenseman, which the Leafs desperately need.

When you take a look back at many recent Stanley Cup winning teams, they all seem to have one thing in common. A big, strong, bruising blueline. The Leafs already have a couple of pieces who fit that mold in Simon Benoit and Jake McCabe, but if they can add someone like Savard to the mix, there will be no easy nights against the Leafs. That's what this team has been missing.

It's anyone's guess at this point whether the Leafs will actually go out and get Savard, or if the Canadiens would even deal him within their own division, but if he is available, he's certainly worth a look if you're Leafs GM Brad Treliving.

February 9   |   593 answers
Leafs officially linked to bruising blueliner within their own division

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