This is definitely something to keep an eye on, as my eyeball emoji on Twitter already did. David Savard, sought-after depth defenseman with the NHL trade deadline just four days away, was a scratch from the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
— Adrian Dater (@adater) April 8, 2021
As my mom would say: “They’re up to somethin.’
That definitely means a trade is coming, seeing as how Savard had no injury at the time of the scratch. On an expiring contract with a $4.25 million cap hit and a veteran, physical D-man, Savard is the prototypical rental player so often sought at the deadline. The Avs, whose fifth and sixth D-man roster spots have looked a bit more tenuous of late, would seem to be the perfect player in the Savvy Sweepstakes.
I am told, though, that the Florida Panthers are also in, big-time, on Savard. Florida just lost their best D-man, Aaron Ekblad, to a season-ending injury. Still, I think the Avs are a prime player in this.
Throw in the fact that Savard plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, otherwise known as the Avs’ Triple-A club (that’s a joke, C-Bus) and the Avs would seem to be a lock to get the 30-year-old rearguard. Not only is Avs assistant GM Chris MacFarland a former Columbus front-office guy who has been known to lobby for acquisitions of former Blue Jackets, but Avs coach Jared Bednar and assistant coach Nolan Pratt both coached Savard when he was a player with the Springfield (Mass.) Falcons of the AHL, in the Blue Jackets’ system.
David Savard, like other Blue Jackets, has not had the best of seasons. He’s a minus-19, with one goal and six points in 40 games. But I’m told by reliable, never-wrong sources that Savvy has actually been one of the better Jackets on the year, that poor goaltending and lazy puck management by forwards has the biggest problem in the home of Wendy’s hamburgers and THE Ohio State University.
The Avs have some artificial cap space, but it looks like it’ll hold up. There is currently about $8 million in the Avs’ LTIR cap pool, which in layman’s terms means “the money we can spend on the salaries of our injured guys.” Under NHL bylaws, if Erik Johnson and/or Pavel Francouz were deemed healthy enough to play, the Avs would HAVE to put them back on the active roster, with their cap hits. Combined, EJ and Frankie constitute the $8 million currently available in the LTIR pool.
I have heard nothing that would lead me to believe that either EJ or Frankie will be back anytime soon. Which, is a shame. But it’s the business of pro hockey, and right now the Avs have some money to spend, with four days left to do so. Will Savvy be an Av by Monday?
I’d say the chances are good. But nothing happens until it happens (trademark on that phrase already applied).