Marc Savard has officially retired from the NHL, seven years to the day of his final appearance in an NHL game.
Savard, 40, last played with the Boston Bruins on January 23, 2011, before having his career cut short because of concussion-related symptoms.
“I think the biggest thing is that I’m happy where I am in my life. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in a long time. I didn’t want it to linger on any more. My contract is up and I wanted to get it out there and head off in a different direction to pursue a coaching career,” said Savard, via the NHLPA.
Savard suffered a concussion in that Jan. 22, 2011 game against the Colorado Avalanche on a hit along the glass by defenseman Matt Hunwick. That followed a catastrophic concussion in March 7, 2010 on a blindside hit from Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke, which knocked Savard out for 29 seconds.
Savard would only play seven playoff and 25 regular-season games after that 2010 incident, which was cited as a catalyst for the NHL tightening its rules for targeting an opponent’s head on a check as well as increased supplemental discipline penalties.
Savard was placed on long-term injured reserve in 2011, in the first year of a seven-year contract. Later, his $4,021,429 average annual salary became a commodity, with the dead cap space helping low-budget teams reach the salary cap floor. The Bruins sent Savard’s cap space to the Florida Panthers in a July 2015 deal. It was traded again by the Panthers to the New Jersey Devils in June 2016.
Beginning in 1997, Savard scored 706 points in 807 games with the Bruins, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and New York Rangers, who drafted him No. 91 overall in the 1995 NHL draft. Savard had 22 points in 25 playoff games, all with the Bruins.
Despite only playing 25 regular-season games for them, and not appearing in the playoffs, Savard’s name was etched onto the Stanley Cup after the Bruins’ 2011 victory.