During the 2006 NHL off-season, the Boston Bruins made one of their best free-agent signings ever with Zdeno Chara. From the very beginning of his tenure with the team, he provided spectacular leadership, while also sporting the C on his jersey. He would not only snag a Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman here, but also led the team to their 2011 Stanley Cup victory.
However, last off-season would mark the end of his illustrious tenure in Boston. Although he had a lot of interest in returning, he was unhappy with the team wanting to give him a far smaller role. They felt that it was time to allow the rookies to play, so the big man signed with the Washington Capitals. He did well on their bottom-pair and quickly became a favorite in their locker room, too.
Now, the 44-year-old defenseman is unsure what his next move will be. He certainly plays well enough to warrant a spot in the league, but retirement is a real possibility. Yet, if he decides to play one more NHL season, that could get the attention of the Bruins.
He may be old, but he is still serviceable.
When looking at how poorly the left-side of the defense was for the Bruins this season, Chara could be an intriguing addition. This year did show that he can succeed as a bottom-pair defenseman at this stage of his career. Thus, there is no way he should be on the Bruins’ top-pair if he is brought back.
However, in a depth role, this could actually be a very good signing. Keep in mind, the Bruins not only had inconsistent play from their defensemen this year, but also faced constant injuries. If Chara is now willing to change his mind and take on a lesser role here, it would be a worthwhile move. Of course, he would need to accept a small contract, though.
For the record, he is clearly not the answer for the team’s need for a top-four, left-handed defenseman. However, he could be fantastic as extra support when the Bruins experience injuries again next season. The way this postseason ended for the Bruins showed that they needed this badly.
Lastly, if he does call it career, at least give the man a one-day contract. His #33 will be hanging from the rafters in the near future, as he was the true heart of the Bruins for over a decade. Thus, he needs to retire as a member of the team. He never looked right playing for the Capitals, and it is a real shame it even happened in the first place.