In perfect 20/20 hindsight, the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames might regret their decisions to trade Marc Savard. One of the players at the forefront of the Boston Bruins' return to relevance the past two years, Savard was traded twice early in his career for what turned out to be (again, in hindsight) underwhelming returns.
On June 26, 1999, the Rangers, the team that drafted Savard in 1995, sent him and a first-round pick to the Calgary Flames for Jan Hlavac, a first-round pick (Jamie Lundmark) and a third-round pick. As bad as that might look now, that's still more than Calgary received for him when the Flames sent Savard to Atlanta four years later.
Does the name Ruslan Zainullin mean anything to you? No? Well that's what Calgary received for Savard in mid-November 2002, in what might be the best trade Don Waddell has ever made as general manager of the Thrashers. Savard continued to develop as a playmaker and eventually became a 97-point producer for the Thrashers. Zainullin remained in Russia and never played a game in the NHL.
Savard signed with Boston as a free agent prior to the 2006-07 season and has been one of its best players ever since.
Draft Year: 1995
Selected in the fourth-round, 91st overall, by the New York Rangers. Jarome Iginla and Petr Sykora are the only players taken that year with more points.
Why He's On My List
An elite passer, Savard has finished in the top-six in assists-per-game in each of the past five seasons. The only players to finish ahead of him each year:
2003-04: Peter Forsberg, Alex Tanguay
2005-06: Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Peter Forsberg
2006-07: Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby
2007-08: Sidney Crosby
2008-09: Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Nicklas Backstrom, Pavel Datsyuk
Solid company. He's finished in the top-10 in scoring three times, the top six in assists five times, and he's a two-time All-Star.
Obligatory YouTube Video
Marc Savard scores in overtime of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was his first career playoff goal.