Denis Savard is a hockey Hall of Famer and a favorite of Chicago Blackhawks fans. Yet, I still think he is overlooked and underrated.
Savard was the third overall pick in the 1980 NHL draft. He started his NHL career with the Blackhawks for the 1980-81 season and played for ten seasons with the Hawks. He was traded to Montreal for Chicagoan and future Hall of Famer Chris Chelios.
Most people feel that Chicago got the better of the deal. The trade worked out good for Savard, as the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup for the 1992-93 season. Still, it was bittersweet, as Savard loved the Blackhawks.
The trade was interesting though. It isn't often that two future Hall of Famers get traded for each other. While Savard was a fan favorite, Chelios was the local kid coming home. It worked out well for all involved, but it still was a bit odd.
Savard would return to the Blackhawks midway through the 1994-95 season and play here through the 1996-97 season, before retiring. Chelios played in Chicago through the 1998-99 season, before signing with the Detroit Red Wings. He retired after the 2009-10 season, with three Stanley Cup championships on his lengthy resume.
Savard returned to the Hawks as a coach, but was eventually replaced by Joel Quenneville, in a move that angered some fans. Coach Q has guided the Hawks to three Stanley Cup championships.
While never really mistreated, Savard did experience some bumps in his three stints with the Hawks. Throughout everything, Savard has remained a class act.
I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back. He stayed over his scheduled time to meet all of the fans who were there. He patiently answered questions and talked of his great memories in Chicago.
In the 1980's, Savard brought excitement to Chicago hockey. Thank you Mr. Savard for your hustle and achievements. Thank you even more for always carrying yourself with dignity and class!
Denis Savard and me in IL-March 2013.