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The Marc Savard trade rumors may have quieted down in the past month, but that doesn't mean the Boston Bruins aren't still exploring a possible deal.
According to a source close to the situation, the Bruins are still "actively shopping" Savard, but trade talks have been "hampered" by interested teams facing cap issues. Also complicating a potential deal, according to the source, is the NHL's investigation into Savard's seven-year contract that has an annual salary cap hit of $4 million for the next seven seasons. The Bruins, of course, have cap issues of their own. They'll need to make a move to get under the cap before the season begins.
The front-loaded, long-term contract of Savard -- as well as similar deals signed by Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger and Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo -- has been under investigation for "circumventing the spirit of the CBA" since Savard and the Bruins signed the deal in December. The Savard probe came back into the spotlight when the NHL won its arbitration case against Ilya Kovalchuk earlier this month following the rejection of a front-loaded 17-year, $102 million contract the Russian winger signed with the New Jersey Devils.
As part of his rejection of Kovalchuk's contract, arbitrator Richard Bloch stated that the other four contracts "are being investigated currently with at least the possibility of a subsequent withdrawal of the registration."
According to the source close to the situation, the investigation into Savard's contract was enough to cause teams to back off from possibly making a trade offer for the Bruins center, who earlier this month admitted to the Ottawa Sun that he has been "hurt" by the trade rumors surrounding him this summer.
"The investigation by the NHL definitely made teams back off from their interest in Savard, but the team is still open to trading him and trying to," the source said.
The Bruins report to training camp on Sept. 17 and as of Monday, it appeared that Savard would be there. However, it also appears that the trade rumors could follow him and the Bruins until either he is dealt or the team definitively states that he is not available.James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.