Josh Anderson or David Savard Will Win Their First Stanley Cup

By Jacob Nitzberg on June 26, 2021 at 9:25 am
Oct 14, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard (58) celebrates forward Josh Anderson (77) goal in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It'd be nice if the Blue Jackets still playing for the Stanley Cup, but that's not the reality we're living in.

Although they're out, there are two former Blue Jackets who will have the chance to win their first Stanley Cup: Josh Anderson of the Montreal Canadiens, and David Savard of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both were traded away by the Blue Jackets, and now one of them will hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time.

The Lightning will be the favorite, but you can't underestimate the Canadiens, who now boast series wins over Toronto (beating Nick Foligno and Riley Nash), Winnipeg, and Vegas (beating William Karlsson). The Canadiens are having great success because of their cohesive play. One of John Tortorella's areas of focus, when he was head coach in Columbus, was having his groups "playing as fives," meaning that the defensemen are in sync with not only each other but the forward group as well. Montreal is a great example of that philosophy. 

Anderson was dealt before the season in a deal that brought the Blue Jackets Max Domi. After acquiring him, Montreal immediately inked Anderson to a seven-year deal. Anderson tallied 17-7-24 in 52 regular-season games and has notched 3-1-4 in 17 playoff games during the Canadiens' run. He scored two goals against Vegas in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, including the overtime game-winner.

Savard, whose contract expires after this year, was dealt midseason to the Lightning in exchange for a first-round pick in this year's draft. It was an expensive price to pay for a rental, especially a third-pairing defenseman like Savard. In 14 regular-season games, he didn't tally a point, but he's notched three assists during the Lightning's playoff run, which includes wins over Florida (Alexander Wennberg, Markus Nutivaara, Anthony Duclair, and Sergei Bobrovsky), Carolina, and the New York Islanders. 

His playing time has been throttled during the playoffs. After averaging 20:26 of ice time during the regular season, Savard is only averaging 14:51 in the postseason. Some of that can be attributed to Tampa Bay's vast collection of talent, which has relegated Savard to the third pairing. The Lightning's top four defensemen are Victor Hedman, Jan Rutta, Ryan McDonagh, and Erik Cernak. It'd be difficult for Savard to break into that group.

While the Blue Jackets won't be lifting the Stanley Cup as a team, the next best thing is watching Savard or Anderson win their first one. 

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