Zdeno Chara has not decided on whether or not he will be playing during the 2022-23 season. His agent, Matt Keator, told Matt Porter of the Boston Globe earlier this summer that the veteran would announce his decision this September (from ‘How former Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is enjoying himself in retirement,’ The Boston Globe, 6/25/22). If the 45-year-old defenseman decides that he wants to play one last season, three teams seem like clear potential landing spots for him. Let’s take a look at each of them now.
The Boston Bruins got the band back together when they inked Patrice Bergeron and old friend David Krejci to one-year contracts for the 2022-23 season. With this, one has to wonder if a reunion with Chara could be in the cards. Although he certainly wouldn’t be the team’s captain and play top-pairing minutes again if signed, he could be a decent depth addition. Furthermore, his physicality and vast experience in the NHL would be welcomed back with open arms.
When looking at the Bruins’ defensive group, it’s fair to say that Chara still has enough left in the tank to compete for a spot on their bottom pair. However, it’s also important to note that the Bruins will be over the salary cap when everyone is healthy. Thus, signing the future Hall of Famer to a one-way deal would require them to move some salary out. Trading Mike Reilly and his $3 million cap hit could be a way to make a reunion with Chara possible. Although he wouldn’t replicate Reilly’s offense, he would provide the Bruins with far more grit and overall toughness.
Yet, I’d also like to point out a scenario that would be far easier for the Bruins to pull off. If Chara elects to call it a career, general manager (GM) Don Sweeney should not hesitate to sign the 45-year-old to a one-day contract. He is such a massive figure in Bruins’ history and deserves to retire as a part of the team because of it. Alas, it will be intriguing to see if a reunion of some kind happens between both parties.