Hockey fans in New England had better get used to No. 91.
The Bruins formally announced the signing of Marc Savard to a new seven-year deal on Wednesday, thus preventing the Bruins? playmaking center from reaching unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2010. The new deal — reportedly for $28 million, with an average cap hit of $4.2 million — will keep Savard in Black and Gold through the 2016-17 season.
For Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and Savard, this move was a no-brainer.
"I stated in a couple articles earlier that I wanted to stay in Boston for the rest of my career," said Savard, who has led the Bruins in points the last three seasons. "Looks like I'm going to have that chance. So I'm happy about that. Over the last few years, I've watched this town grow back into a hockey town. Hopefully, our goal as a team and a staff comes true that we can bring a Cup here to Boston."
According to Chiarelli, Savard has been nagging him for "quite some time" to get this contract done and made it clear from the get-go that he wanted to remain a Bruin.
"It is refreshing, and everything Savvy does is with enthusiasm, and [the] same goes for his request to meet with me. It speaks to where we are as an organization and a city with fans of the Bruins,? a happy and relieved Chiarelli said.
Savard might have garnered a bigger payday if he?d hit the open market — many "rumormongers" figured Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was salivating at the chance to bring Phil Kessel's former setup man to Toronto. But Savard never really thought about playing elsewhere or the possible bigger payday.
"I stressed to Peter right away, so I wasn't really listening to that stuff," Savard said. "I'm happy with what I got, and I'm proud to be a Boston Bruin."
Savard has gone through a lot of ups and downs, both on and off the ice. Some have labeled him as "selfish? and ?lacking? on defense. But since coming to Boston, he has shed such images with his play and leadership.
"I hope I shook that a while ago, but I'm older now, and I try to help my teammates out, especially the young guys,? Savard said. ?I'm a guy that likes to have fun and keep things loose. For sure, it's something that I've worked on and tried to get better at. I'm 32 now, and hopefully, I just get better with age."
Chiarelli discussed Savard?s improvement on the ice and didn't sound scared that Savard's play may decline over the next seven years.
"Marc has shown an increasing willingness to get better on the ice, and he's also done that with conditioning and recognizing where he is age-wise, that that requires more commitment," Chiarelli said. "I expect that commitment to remain, and I'm confident in him going forward."
With the ink on the new contract just drying, Savard is now focused on getting back to the playoffs and winning the Cup.
"I look back at the playoffs [last spring] and see what it could be — that really excites me," Savard said. "Especially when we play the Canadiens in the playoffs and the way the fans react, it's something that we'd like to try and finish here."