The Bruins signed 32-year-old Marc Savard to a seven-year contract extension with the intention that he probably wouldn’t play out the entire term of the deal but would at least be a perennial offensive force (at a friendly salary cap hit) for no less than half of that time.
So hopefully Savard’s injury-ravaged 2009-10 season got all those ailments out of the way and wasn’t a sign of things to come for the playmaking center.
Once the season, and the Bruins’ playoff collapse, were done, Savard admitted he really wasn’t ever 100 percent. Foot and knee injuries, and then the severe concussion suffered March 7, kept Savard out of the Bruins’ lineup for 41 regular-season games and the first round of the playoffs. He wasn’t quite himself against Philadelphia, but was a difference-maker during the season when healthy — the Bruins’ exponentially better power-play numbers with him than without him.
There’s no doubt a fresh, healthy Savard will arrive at camp this fall and be a breath of fresh air for a Bruins franchise that relies so much on his production and presence.
Stats: 41 GP, 10-23-33, 14 PIM, plus-2
Season highlight: Two of Savard’s 10 regular-season goals were game-winners, but there was no more exciting, dramatic and important game-winning score that came off Savard’s stick than the one that beat Philadelphia in overtime in Game 1 of the second-round playoff series. Savard had been used sparingly by head coach Claude Julien through the first three periods of his return to the lineup. In the extra session, Julien moved Savard to wing next to Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, and Savard rewarded his coach for the extra ice time and responsibility by hammering home a loose puck.
Season low-light: It was a hit so bad, it (finally!) sparked the GMs to implement a headshot rule. And as far as the repercussions, there might still be some coming in the season ahead. Sure Shawn Thornton beat down Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke a couple weeks after the Penguins forward’s blindside blow to Savard’s head knocked Boston’s star center to the sidelines with a Grade 2 concussion. But Savard has yet to face Cooke again, and one has to figure that there will still be some payback once that matchup finally happens. .
Final grade: B
Savard was a huge boost to Boston’s power play when healthy, and still scored at a decent pace considering all the time he missed and the rust he had to shake off every time he returned. That he sucked it up and risked coming back from a concussion against one of the league’s roughest teams, the Flyers, is a tribute to Savard’s dedication to the Bruins.
The crystal ball says … you can pencil in Savard for 80-plus points next season, as he’ll be healthy and he should have a more potent supporting cast around him.