Denis Savard and his lethal blend of speed, improvisational trickery and cockiness helped his linemates and teams soar during the 1980s and '90s.
Born in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Gatineau, Quebec, Savard registered 455 points as a sensational junior on the hometown junior Canadiens. In 1980, Savard scored 181 points and was named to the QMJHL first all-star team.
The Chicago Black Hawks drafted Denis in 1980. The youngster scored 75 points as a rookie and formed a solid line with Ted Bulley and Tim Higgins. Al Secord replaced Bulley the next season and scored 44 goals while Savard emerged as an NHL superstar with 119 points. He also scored 11 goals in 15 games as the Hawks upset Minnesota and reached the semi-finals.
In 1982-83, Savard formed one of the top lines in the NHL with Secord and rookie Steve Larmer. The trio led the way as Chicago registered 104 points and reached the semi-finals for the second straight year. Between 1982 and 1988, Savard topped the 100-point mark five times, including a personal best 131 points in 1987-88. He was named to the NHL second all-star team in 1983 and helped Chicago reach the semi-finals in 1985, 1989 and 1990.
The tricky pivot returned home when Chicago traded him to Montreal for Chris Chelios prior to the 1990-91 season. In 1992-93, Savard scored 50 points and played 14 games as Montreal won the Stanley Cup.
Savard joined the second year Tampa Bay Lightning in 1993-94 and contributed 18 goals along with veteran savvy. Late in the 1994-95 schedule he was re-acquired by the Hawks in time to add depth to their post-season roster. The rejuvenated pivot recorded 18 points in 16 games to help Chicago reach the Western Conference final. Savard recorded 35 assists and was a +20 for Chicago in 1995-96 as the club extended the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche to six games in the second round of the playoffs. The talented veteran retired after playing 64 games for the 'Hawks in 1997 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.