June 26, 2010
LOS ANGELES -- When Tim Thomas(notes) gets traded -- and let's not even pretend that statement needs an "if" -- the Boston Bruins will be moving a player who essentially played his way out of a job and into the role of backup goalie to starter Tuukka Rask(notes).
The Bruins can't be blamed for moving him, and Thomas couldn't be blamed if he sought a move.
But Marc Savard's(notes) circumstances are different. The notion that the Bruins would sign him to a "lifetime" contract with a no-trade clause and then seek to trade him was preposterous in its logic. That it's apparently what GM Peter Chiarelli is attempting to do is, frankly, an insult to the concept of franchise/player loyalty.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet is reporting that Savard has agreed to waive his no-trade clause if it means playing for either the Toronto Maple Leafs or Ottawa Senators. Savard probably didn't hit them on a dartboard while blindfolded; it fair to assume their courtship. In fact, before the Bruins took Savard out of the UFA market, the Leafs seemed like the likeliest suitor.
Savard to the Senators makes sense on the Ottawa depth chart, but what would the Bruins look for in return?
The Bruins have a logjam at center and can use Savard's $4.2 million cap hit if he's no longer in the plans. But the more you think about the plans, the more you feel for Savard. Was that seven-year deal with the friendly cap hit Chiarelli's way of keeping Savard not as a popular star in Boston but as trade bait? Did Savard have a sniff of that plan when saying things like "I wanted to stay in Boston for the rest of my career and it looks like I'm going to have that chance" after signing a 7-year deal?
If nothing else, news of Savard's impending move is just a reminder that hockey's a business with occasional games.