AHL stars still shining: Marc Savard

A fourth-round draft pick by the New York Rangers in 1995, Marc Savard began his professional career at the age of 20 with the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford in 1997-98.

In his first campaign, Savard led the team with 53 assists and 74 points in 58 games to earn a spot on the league’s All-Rookie Team alongside fellow future NHL stars Zdeno Chara, Daniel Briere, J.S. Giguere and Brendan Morrison. He also represented the Wolf Pack at the 1998 AHL All-Star Classic.

Savard made his NHL debut with the Rangers and picked up a goal and five assists in 28 games. He returned to the AHL and helped lead Hartford to the Eastern Conference finals, scoring 19 assists and 27 points in just 15 Calder Cup Playoff games.

Savard played 70 games in the NHL in 1998-99, his 45 points good for sixth on the Rangers behind names like Wayne Gretzky, Brian Leetch and Adam Graves. He returned to the Wolf Pack and led the team with 13 points in seven postseason games that spring, his final appearance in the AHL.

Savard was traded by the Rangers to Calgary in the summer 1999 and played three-plus seasons with the Flames, including a pair of 20-plus-goal, 50-plus-point years. He joined the Atlanta Thrashers in 2002, and enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2005-06, putting up 28 goals and 97 points and tying for third in the NHL with 69 assists.

Savard, now 29, is currently the leading scorer on the Boston Bruins, with 12 goals and 36 assists for 48 points in 37 games heading into tonight’s game against Toronto.

Of the 394 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Daniel Briere, Jonathan Cheechoo, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Ray Emery, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Dwayne Roloson, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Steve Sullivan and Kyle Wellwood.

The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, home of the AHL’s Marlies. The event features the 2007 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28 (7:00 ET) and the 2007 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 29 (7:00 ET), and will be televised live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on a network of regional broadcast partners in the United States.

For ticket and event information, visit http://www.torontomarlies.com/news/07allstargame.asp