Canadians: Savard and Paquette in reinforcements

MONTREAL – Marc Bergevin found reinforcements on the right side of the defense by contracting the Quebec defender David Savard for four years and $ 3.5 million per season, when the free agent market opens on Wednesday.

The general manager of the Montreal Canadiens had indicated that this would be one of his priorities a few days ago, when he announced that the captain Shea weber would miss the entire next season due to injuries, and that his career may well be over.

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“It was important for us to replace Shea’s loss as adequately as possible,” said Bergevin. We all know he’s irreplaceable given his role in the locker room and on the ice, but David is a similar player in some ways.

“He can play shorthanded, he’s got a really good build and he’s very tough in front of the net. We wanted to continue in the same vein with what our top-4 defensive end did in the playoffs. David comes to make up for the loss of Shea on that side. « 

The big boss also came to a one-year and $ 950,000 agreement with Quebec striker Cédric Paquette in addition to granting a one-year contract and $ 750,000 to defenseman Chris Wideman – another right-hander – who just had a good season in the Russian Continental League (KHL).

The 30-year-old Savard had six points (one goal, five assists) in 54 regular season games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets last season. He had five assists in 20 playoff games to help the Lightning win the Stanley Cup.

“It’s a family decision,” said Savard. Other teams approached me, but the Canadiens’ offer was the best option for us. We will come back close to the house and see our families more often. It is an opportunity that I could not pass up. I grew up watching them. « 

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Selected by Columbus in the fourth round (94th overall) in the 2009 auction, the 6-foot-2, 233-pound full-back has 166 points (41 goals, 125 assists) in 611 regular-season games with the Lightning and the Blue Jackets, and 16 points (one goal) in 57 playoff games.

Paquette will add a little depth to the Habs center line. A necessary depth, especially with the loss of Phillip Danault who got along with the Los Angeles Kings.

The 27-year-old forward had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 47 games for the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators last season, including seven points (three goals, four assists) in 38 games after. being traded to Carolina on February 13.

“He can play center and wing and he’s got a good build,” Bergevin said. We have added two Quebeckers who are proud to play for the Canadiens. For us, this is significant. Cédric will add depth to our last two lines. I always liked the way he played. « 

Selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the fourth round (101st) of the 2012 draft, Paquette had 93 points (51 goals, 42 assists) in 424 career games with the Hurricanes, Senators and Lightning and 13 points (five goals , eight assists) in 95 playoff games.

He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2019-2020.

Second chance for Wideman

For his part, Wideman will have a first opportunity to return to the NHL, two years after being involved in the now famous « Uber » incident with the Ottawa Senators, during the 2018-19 season.

The 5-foot-10, 183-pound full-back had been unwittingly filmed in a taxi talking negatively about coach Guy Boucher and his assistant Martin Raymond along with a few of his teammates. He was then traded to the Edmonton Oilers and then to the Florida Panthers.

He played a handful of games at both organizations before playing a full season with the Anaheim Ducks school club in the American League in 2019-20. He has just collected 41 points, including nine goals, in 59 games for Nizhny Novgorod, in the KHL.

« He is an offensive defender who has just won the title of defender of the year in Russia, » said Bergevin. He can move the puck and play on the power play. The list of offensive defenders is really not long. Chris will have to fight for a job at training camp. « 

The Habs also bailed out their school club by granting two-part one-year agreements to Quebec striker Jean-Sébastien Dea and right-handed defender. Louie belpedio.

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