When the Boston Bruins signed free agent and former Michigan Tech standout Andre Savage on June 12, 1998, it generated little fanfare in Beantown. After all, the polite and unassuming hockey player had made a name for himself out in the WCHA and anybody who is from the New England area knows that when you talk about collegiate pucks, Hockey East is king. Savage did well in the 1998 Bruins Training Camp and was sent down to Providence where he quickly established himself as one of the AHL’s top rookies. Bruins fans who shrugged when he was originally signed, soon realized that Andre was a keeper and a pleasant surprise to boot.
Andre Savage, a native of Ottawa, Ontario spent four years with the Michigan Tech Huskies where he toiled in relative anonymity, despite the fact that he became only the second player in school history to lead the team in points in three consecutive seasons from 1995-1998. During the ’97-’98 season, Andre earned WCHA 1st All-Star and WCHA All-Academic Team honors. He finished his college career with 52 goals and 143 points in 149 games. When Savage showed up to Bruins Camp later that fall wearing the number 54, many folks said, “Andre who? “It didn’t take long for him to attract attention with his excellent skating ability and very accurate shot.
Savage did not make the big club and started the year in Providence, where he immediately began making a name for himself along with other players who contributed to the Baby Bruins’ high-octane offensive attack. Andre’s play was so impressive that he was named to the Canadian squad of the 1999 AHL All-Star Game, where he also won the most accurate shot of the skills competition. In the midst of all this, Savage had a brief call-up to Boston. In his six-game stint, Savage opened some eyes with his spirited play despite limited ice time. Against the Nashville Predators on January 18, he scored his 1st NHL goal on a pretty play in which he took the puck behind the net, wheeled around and beat goaltender Chris Mason on a shot just inside the post. Although Andre was sent down shortly thereafter, he had reason to smile. Unfortunately for Andre, he suffered a lingering shoulder injury that caused him to miss many regular season games as well as keeping him out of all but 5 of Providence’s post-season contests en route to the Calder Cup. Savage finished with 27 goals and 69 points in just 63 games, good enough for a spot on the AHL’s ALL-Rookie Team.
When the curtain opened on the 1999-2000 Boston Bruins season, Savage found himself in Providence once again, but his superb play has helped the Baby Bruins remain near the top of the standings once again. Another trip to Boston earned him his first NHL assist, but Savage found himself headed to Providence yet again after his ice time diminished. For the fans of the Baby Bruins, Savage is a real hero. Whether scoring key goals or dishing pretty passes, he is also a true gentleman who always has a kind word for his supporters. With Savage leading the Providence team in scoring, he should be able to further develop and could get another shot in Boston soon. One thing is for sure: Andre has exceeded expectations and will no doubt continue to play an important role in Providence’s fortunes in the new year. He should have a place in the Bruins organization for some time to come. When you’ve taken the road Savage has to play professional hockey, he’s a great story any way you look at it.