Lightning shore up their blue line with David Savard acquisition
In search of a championship repeat, the Tampa Bay Lightning have plucked the top defenseman from the trade-bait list ahead of Monday's deadline.
With the help of Detroit Red Wings GM and former Bolts boss Steve Yzerman, the Lightning have acquired David Savard from the re-tooling Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-team trade.
It cost the Lightning three draft picks, including a first-round selection this summer, to complete the acquisition with the Blue Jackets retaining half the salary. Columbus receives the first-round selection, as well as a fourth-round pick in 2022, while the middle-man Red Wings pick up a third-rounder from the Bolts to retain 25 percent of Savard's cap hit.
All told, the Lightning paid three draft selections to ice Savard at a quarter of his $4.25 million annual salary, while also stashing minor-league defender Brian Lashoff.
Originally drafted in the fourth round in 2009, Savard, 30, has been with the Blue Jackets for parts of the last 10 seasons. He's having one of the worst statistical campaigns of his career for the downtrodden Blue Jackets, featuring poor underlying data in addition to meagre output, scoring just one goal and six points.
Still, he's managed to create a fair amount of buzz and interest over the last few weeks as a tough, defensive-minded, postseason-ready defender, ultimately attracting a solid haul from Tampa Bay.
This also might still be fresh in Lightning management's minds:
David Savard toe-drags Victor Hedman to the moon ... it's getting weird already
(🎥 @NHLGIFs) pic.twitter.com/He7TVtvUwt
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) April 11, 2019
Savard should assume a major role with the Bolts. Tampa was left with a sizeable hole on the right side of its defensive core after several blue-line pieces were lost in the championship wake. The Lightning have also leaned incredibly hard on Norris Trophy front runner Victor Hedman, so the move should help lessen the load on him, either as a partner or reliable support, while also making life easier on the likes of Mikhail Sergachev and Ryan McDonagh.
An unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Savard helps bring a measure of completeness to the roster without having to sacrifice anything beyond the price paid to Columbus and Detroit.
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