- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- Could Bruins star center Marc Savard, rumored to be on the trade market for much of the summer, finally be on the move now that Ilya Kovalchuk has signed with the New Jersey Devils? There were no clear signs that was the case on Monday afternoon, and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the media prior to the Kovalchuk news that there was nothing to report on the Savard rumors.
"Right now there's nothing going on with him. He's a Boston Bruin and he's happy to be a Boston Bruin," Chiarelli told reporters Monday at the first Bruins summer camp at the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena in West Roxbury, Mass.
But as Chiarelli also pointed out, he never comments on rumors. Also remember that following the signings of forwards Gregory Campbell and Jeff Lovecchio, as well as defenseman Adam McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk last Thursday, Chiarelli said the trade market had become stale, but that the landscape could change once Kovalchuk was taken off the unrestricted free agent market.
"It's just quiet right now. Everything's really slow," Chiarelli said Thursday. "I've talked to a few guys and everything has kind of grinded to a halt. I think once a player of that caliber [Kovalchuk] moves, there's probably a couple of other players just under him who might move in a couple of deals."
Well, consider Chiarelli and the other GMs and agents who said the same thing over the past month prophets. Almost immediately after the Devils signed Kovalchuk to a whopping 17-year deal reported to be worth upward of $100 million, the Flyers dealt away Simon Gagne -- also a regular on the trade-rumor circuit for the past two weeks -- to the Lightning in exchange for defenseman Matt Walker and a 2011 fourth-round draft pick.
The Internet then buzzed with talk of other deals, including a possible Savard trade, that could follow soon. It was all pure speculation, but according to numerous sources around the NHL, more teams could inquire about the center that the Bruins reportedly have explored trading to gain some salary cap space (currently $587,229).
Savard, who is signed for six more seasons with an average annual cap hit of $4 million, reportedly has a no-movement clause that will allow him to be dealt only to the Ottawa Senators or Toronto Maple Leafs. But that doesn't mean other teams can't inquire about the pivot who led the Bruins in scoring in three of his first four seasons with the team.
"There's teams that will want to explore what it would take to get him," one NHL source said late Monday. "Yes, he has to waive the no-movement, but I'm sure from what I've been told he will at least look at other options."
There is growing sentiment around the Bruins organization that Savard will be sporting the spoked B when the team opens its season, and another league source said Monday that he expected that to be the case unless the Bruins could deal Savard to a Western Conference team.
But the source did acknowledge Chiarelli's phone bill could very well go up in the coming weeks with discussions regarding Savard and possibly other Bruins, such as forward Blake Wheeler, who is scheduled for an arbitration hearing July 27.
"Chiarelli and lots of GMs will start talking and tossing ideas around now that Kovalchuk is signed," the source said. "You will see some more deals for sure, but the Savard situation will obviously be interesting. I think they'll be very cautious if they can really only deal with Ottawa, Toronto or an Eastern Conference team, but if the right deal is there you make it in this day and age. Obviously, though, a western team would be preferable."
James Murphy has covered the Bruins and the NHL for the past eight seasons. He has written for NHL.com, NESN.com, Insidehockey.com and Le Hockey Magazine. Murphy also authors a blog, Drop Puck Murphy.
While Ilya Kovalchuk's signing with the Devils should open the trade market, indications are the Bruins may not deal Marc Savard after all.