Marc Savard has quietly become one of the most complete centers in the NHL. Everyone knew about his scoring and passing ability, but what is becoming more obvious this year is his ability to change and become better defensively.
Before coming to Boston, Savard played for three different teams over an up and down nine year career (New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers). He has never once had a plus/minus higher than +7 in a season. His only other plus season was in his second year with the Bruins and he was only a +3. Other than that, Savard has been a minus player including his first year with the Bruins when he was a -19 (a career low).
This season, Savard is already a +12. He leads the team in points with 27 and assists with 19. Despite the great numbers, it is obvious Savvy buys into Claude Julien's system. He is often the first forward back into the defensive zone and he has even seen some penalty killing time.
It is clear that Savvy finally gets it. He understands that in order to gain the respect that he deserves in this league, he needed to become a complete player. He has now become a very good face-off man, defensive support guy, and, like all of his Bruins' teammates, he is willing to stick up for his fellow B's (check the game against the Dallas Stars).
Marc Savard might not lead the league in points (although he is tied for second now) and he might not be the toughest player, but he is quickly becoming one of the most complete players on the Bruins' roster and in the NHL.
Watch out for Savard as he continues to thrive under Claude Julien and as he continues to come up with new, creative ways to pass the puck. He is just becoming a thrill to watch and I have caught myself numerous times wondering how he just made that pass.
With Savard healthy, the Bruins will only continue to get better not only offensively, but defensively as well...and that's something that could not have been said a year ago.