Early season injuries didn't seem to phase the Boston Bruins in locking up Marc Savard to a new long-term contract on Tuesday morning. Savard has reportedly agreed to a new 7-year deal worth approximately $29.4 million, which evens out to being a $4.2 million salary cap hit over the duration of the deal. Savard was set to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2010 and thought to be ready for a big pay raise from his current $5 million cap hit deal that he is finishing up. This deal signals that Savard is ready to be a team player and to help the team financially to win the Cup in the next seven years.
This season, Savard has only played in 11 games for the Bruins, scoring four goals and six assists. Missing the time with the broken foot has hurt Savard's production, but he is starting to find his way around the rink again and the production will come with it. In 2009, Savard ranked 13th among all players in the pool with 88 points in all 82 games, so the Bruins have seen what Savard can do in a completely healthy season.
Without a doubt, the Bruins are a team that can spend their way all the way to the cap ceiling and they are proving that again this season. The Bruins, however, will be running into all sorts of cap trouble next season, especially with all the impending free agents they have on their roster. They are trying to combat that by signing up the core of their team for the long-term, which they have done with Milan Lucic, Tim Thomas and David Krejci. Currently, the Bruins have 12 players signed on for the 2010-'11 season, which would be considered regulars at the moment, for a cap hit of $44.1 million. That's fairly reasonable with a good portion of your mainstays already signed on, but the number will start to shrink dramatically if they want to infuse greater talent on the team.
There is no doubt that the Bruins are making a huge steal here by signing Savard to a low cap hit like this. Everyone, including myself, was expecting Savard to be a cap hit of $5 million or more, likely more. Savard has turned into a fairly consistent scorer in the NHL, ranking well among the superstars of the league, but they are all being paid quite a bit more money for the same job. If the Bruins can win by adding more talent to this team, you can thank Savard for that luxury.