With all the recent news about possible Calgary Flames departures on social media this week, it’s nice to see a possible new addition breaking some more positive news on Twitter.
Marc Savard tweeted out a new profile pic post to get the scoop on his own signing — presumably as the latest member of new Flames bench boss Ryan Huska’s coaching staff. It might have been one of his old Flames jerseys, because 10 minutes later, he posted the updated version of the Flaming C.
Savard had interviewed for the head coaching position and had previously stated that he would prefer his head coaching path with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires than rejoining the NHL as an assistant, but the return of former Flames teammate Jarome Iginla may have tipped the scales.
Fun fact: Savard was Iginla’s centre in 2001-02 — Iginla’s 52-goal season — before in injury opened the door for relative newcomer Craig Conroy to take that spot and ride shotgun toward history.
Conroy, of course, is the Calgary Flames’ new GM. Iginla just joined on as a special advisor to Conroy.
The key to the Savard hiring is unlocking the Flames offence, which is something he’s done successfully in two seasons with the Spitfires but also accomplished in St. Louis at the NHL level during the 2019-20 campaign as an assistant coach with the Blues.
He’ll be expected to help turn around the powerplay that struggled under Kirk Muller and Darryl Sutter last season (ranked 19th in the league) and getting winger Jonathan Huberdeau back to the elite level of play he showed during a decade in Florida before last summer’s blockbuster trade between the Panthers and Flames (remember, Matthew Tkachuk did not end up winning the Stanley Cup).
For the record, the Spitfires powerplay has been tops in the OHL in Savard’s two seasons. The Blues went from top 10 to top three in the NHL during Savard’s coaching year.
As a player, Savard joined the Flames in a trade in 1999 and spent parts of four seasons in Calgary. He never regained his top-line role after Conroy showed chemistry with Iginla, and he asked for a trade amid a tumultuous start to the 2002-03 season with head coach Greg Gilbert. Savard was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers and his ascent to elite assist man was underway.
He was a big part of the Boston Bruins buildup to a 2011 Stanley Cup, although a concussion from a dirty blindside hit by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Matt Cooke in May of 2010 essentially ended Savard’s career before he was able to lift the Cup the following spring.
Now he’ll try to add a Cup as a coach with the Flames.
A nice addition at a time when all the news is about what the franchise might be losing.