It’s been a long day for the Bruins, as news hit today that the NHL  is indeed investigating center Marc Savard ‘s seven-year, $28.05 million extension. The deal is perceived to be a “retirement contract,” as it pays the 33-year-old veteran half its money in the first two years of the deal and the other half over the following five years, which makes for a much more affordable $4.007 million cap hit.
Hours after the news broke, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli came out with a statement in which he said that the investigation has been ongoing and that he had met with NHL  lawyers as recently as last week. With the Bruins’ cap situation up in the air and the team risking the loss of Savard, it might be a little too much to keep track of. Here’s what we’ve learned today, and what it might mean for the Bruins.
– This investigation has been going on for a while, and by a while, we mean since Savard’s contract was registered with the league in the first place way back in December. This means two things. First of all, this isn’t some new development for the Bruins. Maybe it was the magical cap relief they were expecting all along when they made signings that in total would put them more than $3 million over the salary cap (Savard’s cap hit is $4.007 million).
Secondly, it really dents the validity of rumors that the team was working on trades to move Savard out of town this offseason. In addition to there being zero concrete or validated reports of the Bruins and another team discussing a deal for the center, would it really make sense for the Bruins to shop a player knowing full well that the NHL was intent on voiding his deal? That would make the Bruins look awfully bad as a prospective trade partner for any team in the future.
– Savard is not the only one. The only reason the news came about was because Savard’s investigation was listed in the footnotes of arbiter Richard Bloch‘s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk ‘s appeal. In noting why the NHL was correct in rejecting the winger’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the Devils, Bloch also listed Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger  and Roberto Luongo as players also being investigated.
– Yes, the Bruins have been looking to save money off the cap (they’re right up against it even when factoring in the $3.5 million they will get in relief to begin the season thanks to Marco Sturm ‘s long-term injury status), but there’s no way Savard’s contract could be viewed as the one that’s weighing them down. In fact, the only reason this deal is being investigated is because it is so team-friendly that the NHL is trying to prevent deals like this from being made going forward.
Both Savard and Tim Thomas  ($5 million cap hit in each of the next three seasons) have starred in offseason trade rumors, but their values to the team should not be overlooked. If the team does end up losing Savard for nothing, it would seemingly be a huge loss for the Bruins.