A Radio-Canada report from earlier today suggested that Savard would take over the top hockey job in the organisation. This would mean that the new GM, whoever it may be, would have to answer to Savard.
According to Dave Stubbs, hockey columnist for the Montreal Gazette, Savard is "flatly denying" the reports.
Although Twitter exploded with fans criticizing the possible move, bringing Savard on as VP might not be such a bad idea. Some sober second thought might be invaluable for a team that has far too often succumbed to the demands of the fans.
A strong, independent VP might have prevented this team from moving Guillaume Latendresse for Benoit Pouliot. Someone with unquestioned job security might have prevented Louis Leblanc from being rushed to the NHL. Someone with the clout of Savard might have nixed a trade that brought in Scott Gomez for Ryan McDonagh.
Of course, all these moves were made by the previous administration and there's no guarantee that the new GM will need someone like Savard breathing down their neck. My question is, would it hurt?
John Davidson and Scotty Bowman have proven that having a strong hockey mind behind the general manager could be beneficial to the team.
In St. Louis, Davidson has become the face of the hockey operations department, essentially allowing Doug Armstrong to avoid having to answer to the media. In Chicago, Stan Bowman benefits from having an advisor that isn't afraid of getting on the GM's bad side.
In Montreal, someone like Savard could take some of the media responsibilities away from the GM. Savard could be the voice of the hockey operations department, allowing the GM to make the hockey decisions away from the most intense media scrutiny in the league.
Also, having Savard around could ensure that the GM won't be surrounded by a bunch of "yes" men. I can guarantee you that Savard wouldn't be afraid to let his opinion be heard.
The one issue with having Savard in the mix would be that it might scare away potential general managers that demand complete control over the organisation.
I would say that those fears are overblown. Keep in mind that there are only 30 of these jobs in the world and there aren't many openings from year to year. Having Savard in your ear shouldn't be enough to keep anyone from taking one of the premier hockey jobs in the world.
For more on the Montreal sports scene, check out The Montreal Sports Report.
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