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Bruins GM Chiarelli: ‘Hard as ever’ to make trades right now

Mar 22, 2013, 8:30 PM EDT

Peter Chiarelli AP

Peter Chiarelli would like to make a deal to improve his club.

Problem is, there’s no deal to make.

That’s what the Boston Bruins GM told CSNNE.com on Friday, saying the current landscape makes it difficult to pull off a trade.

“It’s as hard as its ever been or harder because of all these teams that are still in it,” said Chiarelli. “Teams feel like they only need to win three games and they’re back in it…and they are because of the condensed schedule.”

It makes sense that tight standings have frozen the trade market. But it’s also disappointing, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When people learned the new CBA included the “Brian Burke clause” — a wrinkle allowing teams to retain salary in trades, a mechanism designed to make deals easier to complete — many figured this year’s trade deadline had the potential for fireworks.

Here’s what the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle wrote at the time:

This could be a fascinating new wrinkle in that way, as we’ve often seen players become untradeable due to their contracts and GMs like Brian Burke have pushed to allow more creativity in deals.

Whether it dramatically ups the number of trades being made remains to be seen, but that’s the hope from NHL executives right now.

The rule may have made previously “untradeable” players more moveable, but that hasn’t translated into deals.

(Though, it should be noted, Burke’s predecessor in Toronto — Dave Nonis — utilized the clause to move Matthew Lombardi to Phoenix in mid-January, retaining $500,000 in salary.)

As for Chiarelli, he’s still holding out hope for increased activity as the Apr. 3 trade deadline draws near.

Plenty of teams can fall out of contention over the next week and a half, which could allow for more conversations to take place — and Chiarelli confirmed talks have been underway.

“There’s more chatter and more talk because we were all in Toronto at the GM meetings,” he said. “I’d like to be able to do it earlier [this month] but I might not be able to, because the deal just might not be there.”

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