By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins just locked up one of their best young talents long-term with David Pastrnak’s six-year extension. Now, Don Sweeney is looking to do the same with his 40-year-old captain.
Speaking at his first press conference of Bruins training camp, the Bruins GM mostly fielded questions about the team’s six-year, $40 million extension with Pastrnak. But when asked about the possibility of an extension for Chara, who turned 40 years old on March 18, he acknowledged that the B’s have spoken to the captain about it and are interested in working something out.
“I’ve had talks with Z,” said Sweeney. “Our indications are, as he’s indicated, he would like to continue to play hockey. We would like to continue to have him part of the Boston Bruins. We’ll monitor that as we go through camp and as we go through the start of the season and continue to have those talks. I think it’s important for him to understand that we’re in his court in that regard.
“But there’s no timetable to have those discussions. But I think he wants to play, I think he can play, and I think he’s an impactful player. Hopefully we can look forward to having him while he monitors how long he wants to play.”
After looking like he was on the start of a decline in 2015-16, Chara rebounded nicely in 2016-17, continuing to play heavy minutes and looking much stronger in his own end on an effective pairing with Brandon Carlo. He later expressed interest in continuing to play for the Bruins beyond his current contract, which pays him $4 million in 2017-18.
Assuming Chara can maintain his current level of performance – and take a reasonable salary – it may be wise for the Bruins to keep him around for a couple extra seasons while their younger defensemen continue to develop and mature into, hopefully, the next leaders. It may also be wise to see how Chara performs this season before rewarding him with a new deal, but it’s unlikely they’d find viable replacements for him as a leader and top-end shutdown defender within the next two years.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @Dolloff985 and email him at email@example.com.