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Montreal Canadiens' David Savard and Christian Dvorak on Trade Boards: Will They Deal? – Hockey Writers – Montreal Canadiens

Inside Frank Seravalli published his first Trade Target article and two of the Montreal Canadiens' top 20 players who can't be moved. Veteran blueliner and “big brother to young defensemen” David Savard is No. 14, while center Christian Dvorak finds himself at No. 18. Here's a look at their rankings.

David Savard

There was a lot of talk about trading Savard at the trade deadline, but in the end, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes didn't pull the trigger. Here's what Hughes said at his press conference after the deadline:

For us, David is part of this group. He is not someone we were willing to sell. His importance to the team and our young defenders is very important to us. That doesn't mean he isn't marketable, but it wasn't our intention. […] Not everything we do is strictly based on maximizing the value of assets – after all, we're trying to build a hockey team. If a player has value to us in terms of what we're trying to build by being a physical presence and part of our organization, that will sell him in the long run for a little less, because it's worth his time with us. .

As Hughes said, Savard is important to the Canadiens. His impact on the young defensemen's progression is more important than any trade offer Hughes received. This means it will take a big offer to get the big defender off the ground before next season's trade deadline. Until then, he will continue to have a big impact on the young players on the roster, especially those knocking on the door of the NHL like Logan Mailloux, Lane Hutson and David Reinbacher.

While the blue line wouldn't be without leadership if Savard was sent packing, mentoring doesn't come naturally to Mike Matheson. At 33 years old, Savard can still eat up minutes like the best and relish his coaching role. This season, he averaged 20:14 of ice time, an impressive number for a long-range player.

Having two veterans on the roster is not a bad idea. They provide insurance if the team loses a blueliner mid-game to injury (I'm thinking of Jordan Harris here, since “'I want to be more than a hockey player,' Canadiens' Jordan Harris says,” The Gazette, March 21, 2024) or if a person is excluded from extracurricular activities (see Arber Xhekaj here). Also, trading for a right-handed defenseman would put more pressure on Mailloux and Reinbacher, who should make it to the NHL. We've seen what can happen when a young defender is thrown in at the end, as happened with Victor Mete.

David Savard, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/Hockey Writers)

In addition, in 60 games this season, Savard has put 24 points on the board, putting him on pace for 33 points in a full season of 82 games. That offensive performance could be even better as he set a career high in 2014-2015 with 36 points. In other words, Savard is like fine wine, it gets better with age. If Hughes wants to see his team fight for a playoff spot next season, Savard's contribution could be crucial.

Christian Dvorak

After losing Jesperi Kotkaniemi to the offer sheet from the Carolina Hurricanes and Philip Danault to the Los Angeles Kings in free agency, former general manager Marc Bergevin needed to add a center, and there weren't many on the market. The league knew what the Canadiens wanted, so Bergevin didn't have much leverage in trade talks. They had to give up a first-round pick and their second-round pick in the 2024 Draft for a player who had never scored more than 38 points in a season or played all 82 games in an NHL campaign. Still, Bergevin thought there might be something there and pulled the trigger.

Related: Canadiens Defensemen: Who Stays & Goes?

Dvorak has had a string of injuries since arriving in Montreal (like many Canadians over the past few years, to be fair), which may have derailed any progress he may have made. In 2021-2022, he scored 33 points in 56 games, reaching 48 points in an 82-game streak.

Dvorak also bounced around the list, struggling to find regular partners and any chemistry. While Hughes would be happy to finish the American, it takes two to tango. Right now, there is no prospect of anyone trading Dvorak. He's been injured a lot, fell short of his ceiling expectations and doesn't bring anything special to the roster.

Montreal needs to open up their young prospects (Joshua Roy and Owen Beck come to mind), but Hughes has no intention of giving Dvorak the team. The only way I expect to see Dvorak move is if Hughes adds him to something bigger. He's in the final year of his contract, so that helps a bit, but I can see him going in a deal that includes one of the Canadiens' remaining defensemen.

Maybe Hughes can pull off another good trade on draft day, but making a deal involving Dvorak could be his biggest magic trick yet. Perhaps retaining a portion of his salary would help, but the Canadiens are already using two of their three salary cap spaces on Jake Petry and Jake Allen. It wouldn't be smart to use a third one before next season starts.

Now that the Canadiens have reached an important stage in their rebuild, drafting the right prospects is one thing, but there comes a time when every team must make room to grow and make the jump to the NHL. Unfortunately, Hughes received a number of big contracts thanks to the timing of Bergevin, who signed Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Dvorak and Joel Armia. Building a place won't be easy, but Hughes is the man for the job.

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