Savard in play, but he may not be a GM’s go-to guy

If you believe various NHL types, the chase for Marc Savard will feature as much speed as the slow-motion O.J. Simpson-Ford Bronco caper.

However, there are indications Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke may get some competition for the Boston Bruins centre, even though Burke has yet to dive in with all guns blazing, à la his pursuit a year ago for Savard’s former linemate, Phil Kessel. Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter might be looking to reunite Savard with another of his ex-wingers, Jarome Iginla, now that he decided to close out the Ollie Jokinen disaster with a buyout of winger Ales Kotalik.

Burke says no to Mitchell

Restricted free agent John Mitchell will not get a qualifying offer from the Maple Leafs and will be free to sign elsewhere come Thursday, but that doesn’t mean general manager Brian Burke has pushed the centre out the Bay St. door.

Canadiens end Pouliot speculation

The Canadiens ended any speculation about Benoit Pouliot’s immediate future with the team when they signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.35 million yesterday.

There were a few raised eyebrows last week when Pouliot was not in a group of restricted free agents who received qualifying offers from the club.

Juggling act as free agency looms

The easy part for the Vancouver Canucks was to tender qualifying offers to restricted free agents Shane O’Brien, Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen and Tanner Glass before Monday’s deadline to retain negotiation rights and roster flexibility.

The hard part will be to see how they all fit — or don’t fit — into a revamped roster next NHL season.

By qualifying the troubled O’Brien at the $1.6 million US the defenceman earned last season, it will only add more drama to an intriguing back-end tale.

LEAFS GM BURKE HAS TRADE OPTIONS – NONE INVOLVING SAVARD

If the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in acquiring centre Marc Savard from the Boston Bruins, Brian Burke isn’t saying anything about it.

The Leafs’ President and general manager told Toronto’s Fan 590 radio station on Monday that while he’s exploring other options to acquire players, the Bruins’ No. 1 centre was not on the radar.