Marc Savard has now been traded twice without having played in a single game.
The injured 38-year-old center was dealt Friday – the second time in less than a year – in a move made strictly because of salary cap implications. Savard is now a member of the New Jersey Devils, leaving the Florida Panthers for minor-leaguer Paul Thompson and center Graham Black, a 23-year-old prospect.
Savard is entering the last season of a seven-year, $28.15-million contract. He has a cap hit of $4,027,143, according to General Fanager, but his actual salary for next season is $575,000. Savard signed a front-loaded contract before the last lockout.
This means the Devils, who are still more than $9.2 million short of the salary cap floor, will see Savard’s inflated cap hit go towards their total while only paying him the league minimum. The Panthers, meanwhile, get more financial flexibility. They have more than $20-million in cap space available, but need to sign restricted free agent Vincent Trocheck. Jonathan Huberdeau, Reilly Smith and Aaron Ekblad are restricted free agents next summer and are due for raises. Veteran defenseman Brian Campbell, who made $7,142,875 in each of his last eight seasons, is an unrestricted free agent this July.
Savard hasn’t played since the 2010-11 season when he was a member of the Boston Bruins. Savard sustained two serious concussions after being checked by Pittsburgh Penguins left winger Matt Cooke in March 2010 and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick in January 2011. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup that season and Savard got his name engraved on the trophy.
The Bruins traded him to Florida, along with Smith, for right winger Jimmy Hayes on July 1, 2015.
Savard had 207 goals and 706 points in 807 games with the New York Rangers, Calgary, Atlanta and Boston. He added 22 points in 25 playoff games.
Thompson, 27, went pointless in three games with the Devils last season. He registered 13 goals and 35 points in 56 games with the AHL’s Albany Devils. Black had seven goals and nine points in 50 games with Albany.