MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens have landed a Stanley Cup-winning defenceman, signing free agent David Savard on Wednesday.

The Habs said Savard's four-year contract carries an average annual value of US$3.5 million.

Savard, 30, finished last season in Tampa Bay after the Columbus Blue Jackets dealt him to the Lightning at the trade deadline in April.

The six-foot-two, 233-pound blue liner had six points (one goal, five assists) in 54 regular-season appearances and added another five helpers in 20 playoff appearances.

Columbus selected Savard, a native of St-Hyacinthe, Que., in the fourth round (94th overall) of the 2009 entry draft and he spent 10 seasons with the Blue Jackets before moving to the Lightning.

The Tricolore also gave a one-season, $950,000 contract to forward Cedric Paquette from Gaspe shortly after the free agent market opened on Wednesday.

Four other Canadian clubs kicked off the NHL's free agency period with a flurry of trades Wednesday.

The Ottawa Senators sent right-winger Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for defenceman Nick Holden and a third-round pick in the 2022 entry draft.

Dadonov, 32, had 20 points for Ottawa last season, including 13 goals, while the 34-year-old Holden spent much of the campaign on Vegas' taxi squad, registering just two assists in 17 regular season appearances.

In other trade action, the Edmonton Oilers dealt defenceman Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for left-winger Warren Foegele.

The 24-year-old Bear struggled with a concussion last season, tallying eight points (two goals, six assists) in 43 regular-season contests.

Foegele, 25, had 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) for the 'Canes in the regular season and added another goal and an assist in 10 playoff appearances.

The Flames also made a deal, picking up defenceman Nikita Zadorov from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick in the 2022 entry draft.

The six-foot-six, 235-pound Russian blue liner had one goal and seven assists in 55 games for the Blackhawks last season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired the rights to defenceman Brennan Mennell from the Minnesota Wild for a conditional seventh-round pick.

Minnesota with get the selection if Mennell, who spent last year in the KHL, plays 30 games for the Leafs next season.


In the ongoing saga involving no. 31 draft pick Logan Mailloux, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson issued a statement offering an apology and action plan following the backlash after the draft.

Mailloux, 18, was charged and fined in Sweden for sharing explicit sexual photos without the consent of the woman in the pictures.

From Belle River, Ont., Mailloux was playing in Sweden on loan from Ontario Hockey League's London Knights when the incident occurred late last year.

Multiple sponsors including La Cage, Saint-Hubert, Desjardins and Jean Coutu have already said they will be reviewing their relationship with the team. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added his voice to those upset at the pick, with the "life-long Habs fan" saying he was "deeply disappointed with their decision" and that the team "has a lot of explaining to do."

-- with files from CTV News Montreal.