David Savard
David Savard
29-Year-Old DefensemanD
Columbus Blue Jackets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The Blue Jackets have bigger names on their blue line, but they may not have a more reliable defender than Savard. The 28-year-old doesn't offer much offensive upside -- he's topped 25 points only once in his career -- but he's recorded triple-digit hits and blocked shots in five straight seasons, and he's missed only one game in the last two campaigns. His physical, responsible play makes him an excellent partner for a more skilled, mobile defenseman, allowing them to jump into the rush. Savard's steadiness on the back end could be key for Columbus this season as it begins life without Sergei Bobrovsky in net. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a five-year, $21.25 million contract with the Blue Jackets in September 2015. Deal goes into effect beginning in 2016-17 and runs through the 2020-21 season.
Remains stalwart in own end
DColumbus Blue Jackets
November 11, 2019
Savard has two assists, a minus-2 rating, four PIM, 19 shots, 30 hits and 33 blocked shots through 17 games.
As per usual, the veteran defenseman isn't offering much fantasy value in traditional formats, but his physical play and willingness to get in front of pucks gives him some utility in leagues that score categories beyond just points. Savard's plus-minus could also pick up as the season progresses if the Jackets as a whole can tighten up their play -- he's a combined plus-54 over the last three seasons, and hasn't finished in the red since 2015-16.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Not surprisingly, Savard wasn't able to repeat his exceptional plus-33 rating from 2016-17, and with Seth Jones and Zach Werenski growing into more offensive responsibility, the veteran defenseman's scoring took a step backwards as well. That's not to say Savard played poorly, however, as he remains a steady second or third pairing stalwart on the Columbus blue line. The departure of long-time partner Jack Johnson could have an impact on Savard in 2018-19, but the duo was separated for significant stretches last year, and the 27-year-old will now get to play the role of mentor for another one of the Blue Jackets' up-and-comers.
While young Columbus blueliners Seth Jones and Zach Werenski got most of the headlines last year as the squad’s exciting young top pairing, Savard quietly went about his business and formed the team’s shutdown duo with a revitalized Jack Johnson, leading him to a third-place finish in the entire NHL with a plus-33 rating. Savard plays a smart, physical game and keeps his focus on getting the puck out of danger rather than looking for chances to join the rush, although his strong passing skills do allow him to collect points when the opportunity presents itself. The 26-year-old may leave the flashy plays to his younger teammates, but he'll remain a crucial part of the team’s defensive success going forward.
Savard's production took a step back last season as he battled foot and oblique injuries before ending his campaign early to undergo foot surgery. When healthy, the 25-year-old offers solid size and a strong presence in his own end while chipping in as a secondary option on the power play, a role that isn't likely to change with Seth Jones and Ryan Murray entrenched at the top of the depth chart, not to mention 2015 first-round pick Zach Werenski, who’s expected to crack the roster as well. Consider last year's 39 points to be Savard's ceiling rather than his baseline.
Though he was a strong prospect who had produced in the AHL, Savard took some time to get acclimated to life at the highest level, but he simply took off last year, blowing away the previous campaign's numbers in nearly every category. He's now a top-pairing blueliner for Columbus, and thus should be heavily involved on the offense. WIth James Wisniewski gone now, Savard could see his power-play role expanded, but unless he starts firing more pucks on net (just 112 in 82 games last year), he's a good bet to see his goal total fall back -- that 9.8 shooting percentage is very high for a defenseman and likely unsustainable. Still, that doesn't mean Savard should be discounted in fantasy drafts -- with all the minutes he'll be seeing on the ice with the Jackets' super-talented top forward lines, he's got the potential to pile up plenty of points.
Savard continues to produce solid offensive numbers in the AHL, but hasn't yet found a way to translate his skill to the next level. The Blue Jackets' depth chart on the blue line gets more crowded every year though, and Savard may need a change of scenery to get another crack at the NHL.
Savard didn't acquit himself too badly in his first look at the NHL, scoring 10 points and managing a plus-minus of zero in 31 games (not bad at all when you're toiling for the worst team in the league). He continues to see competition flow into the organization, with second-overall pick Ryan Murray and former Ranger prospect Tim Erixon joining Savard and John Moore to form what could be an impressive core of young blueliners in a few years, and, as a result Savard could remain on the AHL-NHL shuttle until Columbus starts phasing out its veteran defensemen to make room for the future.
John Moore was the more heralded prospect coming into last season, but it was Savard who hit the ground running in his first crack at the pros, and he rang up 11 goals and 43 points in 72 AHL games. Savard's still a little rough around the edges at both ends of the rink but he'll likely be among the first defensemen called up to Columbus this season if injuries strike the blue line, and if he works his way onto the first power play unit next to James Wisniewski he could provide some surprising production as a rookie.
Two-way defense prospect begins his pro career after a 13-64-77 showing in 64 QMJHL games last season.
More Fantasy News
Better on ice than in fantasy arena
DColumbus Blue Jackets
October 24, 2019
Savard set up two goals in the 4-3 overtime victory over Carolina on Thursday night.
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Physical start to season
DColumbus Blue Jackets
October 17, 2019
Savard has yet to score a point through six games this season.
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Huge defensive effort against Bolts
DColumbus Blue Jackets
April 12, 2019
Savard recorded a game-high six blocked shots while adding one shot, one hit and a plus-1 rating in Friday's 5-1 win over the Lightning in Game 2 of their first-round series.
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Sparks offense in big win
DColumbus Blue Jackets
April 6, 2019
Savard picked up two assists in Friday's 3-2 shootout win over the Rangers.
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Scores lone goal in loss
DColumbus Blue Jackets
March 22, 2019
Savard scored his sixth goal of the season Thursday in a 4-1 loss to Edmonton.
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