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Lightning lose David Savard to Montreal in free agency

The former Tampa Bay defenseman will play for his hometown team in the new deal.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman David Savard (58) works to move the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the first period in game five of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the BB&T Center on Monday, May 24, 2021 in Sunrise.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman David Savard (58) works to move the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the first period in game five of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the BB&T Center on Monday, May 24, 2021 in Sunrise. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jul. 28
Updated Jul. 28

TAMPA — The Lightning lost a piece of their blue line on as free agency opened Wednesday afternoon in defenseman David Savard.

Savard, 30 of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, signed with Montreal following a brief stint in Tampa Bay. He will be under contract with the Canadiens through 2024-25 for at an average annual value of $3.5 million, according to his agent, Ian Pulver.

The longtime Blue Jackets defenseman came to the Lightning in an April trade that ultimately put him in a position to hoist the first Stanley Cup for the first time in his 10-year career.

It took a while for Savard to learn the Lightning’s systems, but once he became comfortable, you could see why general manager Julien BriseBois thought the heavy-style defenseman would be a good fit for Tampa Bay. And Savard recognized the opportunity in front of him after getting traded to “one of the best teams in the league.”

“It’s awesome (to be in this situation),” he said during the second-round series against the Hurricanes. “I think as soon as I heard about the trade coming here, I knew how good of a team they were. And I think it’s something special they can accomplish by going back-to-back, and it’s fun for me to be a part of it.”

They did just that, with Savard in a supporting role.

He contributed five assists in 20 postseason games, the biggest coming on Ross Colton’s winning goal against the Canadiens in the Cup-clinching Game 5 win.

Savard was a “steady” presence on the blue line, head coach Jon Cooper said. He blocked shots, dished out hits and played within himself, not trying to make fancy plays unnecessarily.

Ultimately, he provided the depth the Lightning needed to successfully defend their Stanley Cup championship.

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Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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