Re: B's SIGN SAVARD
posted at 12/4/2009 5:07 PM EST
Great article from SI.com
Hockey may be a game of sacrifice on the ice, but that selflessness rarely shows itself at the bargaining table. When the term "hometown discount" is tossed around, it usually means a haircut of a couple hundred thousand, maybe a million (case in point: Sidney Crosby's well-deserved but nonetheless limiting $8.7 million annual hit in Pittsburgh). Everybody smiles, talks about how much the extra cap flexibility means to the team, and a few pennies are pushed from one pile to another.
But Marc Savard, who has earned $5 million a year as Boston's leading scorer over the past three seasons, made a more sizable concession. As a free agent this summer, he would have attracted offers in the $6-$7 million range. But the seven-year, $28.05 million accord announced this week proved him to be the rare player who is truly willing to take one for the team.
Rather than follow ex-linemate Phil Kessel's advice to maximize his take in the open market (and, you know, maybe join him in Toronto), Savard actively campaigned for a deal to stay with the Bruins that actually cut his cap footprint. The pact was heavily front-loaded, paying him $7 million each of the first two years. After that, it's $6.5 million, $5 million, $1.5 million and then just $525,000 over the final two years. In essence, the 32-year-old and the team are betrothed for just the next four years. If his productivity slips before or during the last three seasons of the deal, the Bruins can send him out to pasture with a readily absorbable buyout.
The irony of it is rich. Savard, a guy ripped for much of his career as the epitome of me-first selfishness, proves to be the game's ultimate team player where it matters most these days. Good on him. Now the pressure's on Boston GM Peter Chiarelli to do something important with the cap space to justify Savard's sacrifice.