What Does Savards Contract Tell Us About the Oilers?

As is being reported by TSN, The Boston Bruins and forward Marc Savard have agreed on a seven-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of around $4.2 million per year.

By all accounts, that is a terrific deal for the Boston Bruins, who now have on a long term deal, one of the top set-up men in the league. Savard has averaged 67 assists and almost 90 points per year over the last four seasons.

If we can switch gears and use this news to read into the Oilers roster, what does a signing like this tell us?

One, it seems as though Savard likes it in Boston and wanted to stay there. He must know, that this contract is valued lower than he could have received on the open market. We'll keep that in mind as we look a little closer.

Two, it tells us, that in an NHL that is leary to continue to hand out bigger contracts, Savards deal may be more the furture of the NHL, than the Pronger, Gaborik or Ovechkin type deals.

With the sheer amount of contracts coming due for the Edmonton Oilers, should the Oilers be happy that Savard signed at such a low rate? Unless they wanted to grab Savard off the free agent list this next summer, absolutely.

Edmonton doesn't haven't have a single player at the level of skill that Savard provides the Bruins. With every player that signs a contract with a team at a lower rate, Edmonton's chances of keeping players like Brule, Gagner, Cogliano and others within the organization and at affordable rates increases.

When in the past keeping a Brule would have been like keeping a Nilsson, perhaps now a reasonable number might be $1.3 - $1.6 million a season. When keeping a Gagner would have been like keeping a Patrick Sharp (I'm not comparing these two players, just possibly their importance to their respective teams), what would have cost the Oilers $3 million a season, might only cost them $2.4-$2.6.

All of this is of course guess work and depends a lot on the seasons that these players in question have through the rest of this year. It also matters how other contracts around the league are handled (ie. Chicago and Kane, Toews and Keith), but for every Savard contract that comes to the forefront, the Oilers should be able to negotiate a much fairer value for the players they would like to keep.

Of course it makes trading the crappy contracts harder, but that's another story for a different day.


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