David Savard Will Replace Shea Weber

Published August 12, 2021 at 6:33 PM

Defenseman David Savard signed with Montreal to make his own defensive contribution to the Habs, not to replace Shea Weber.

The Quebecer should not be considered the great replacement for Shea Weber at the blue line, as he is expected to miss the entire upcoming season due to injury. However, Savard's defensive skills are not to be ashamed of and he could easily replace the captain if you compare his defensive statistics.

Last year, Savard posted 132 checks, 109 blocked shots and only 24 total turnovers in 54 games. Meanwhile, Weber had 70 checks and 68 blocked shots with 53 total turnovers in 48 games. Fewer games and yet more turnovers.

In the end, we can conclude that Savard is really dominant in his territory and that he can clearly do Weber's job on defense. We're talking about a similar playing time at even strength, as the Quebecer played 30 seconds more per game (17:50 vs 17:27) this season.

Where it's more problematic is on the offensive side of the puck, where Weber had 19 points compared to only 6 for Savard. However, we're talking about increased usage for #6 on the power play with 2:22 of playing time per game in 2021 versus virtually no man-up action for Savard (6 seconds per game).

So, if you take away the power play points, you end up with only 2 more points for Weber on the power play. Plus, it was becoming predictable when Weber was going to use his shot, when the team will be able to use other weapons, like the Suzuki shot, in the upcoming season.

The big imponderable is Weber's intimidating presence on the ice and in the locker room as captain, as one of the most respected players in the league. It's not that Savard isn't intimidating or respected, but not as much as Weber has been for the past several years.

So literally, Savard does pretty much the same job as Weber when it comes to defending the territory, and he'll make a smaller salary. That's why he should be able to bring his A-game with the Habs, while Jeff Petry should take care of the offense this year, as he should be the number one back in 2021-22.

We should therefore continue our defensive work by committee this season with a top 4 composed of Petry, Edmundson, Chiarot and Savard, while having the development of Romanov, who is only 21 years old.
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