BOSTON (CBS) — NHL free agency is nearly a week old, and Zdeno Chara remains unsigned. It was expected that he would be back with the Bruins, but Chara’s agent says that his client is exploring all of his options on the open market.
And those options are increasing, as teams keep calling about the 43-year-old defenseman.
That update comes from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, who spoke with Chara’s agent, Matt Keator, on Thursday. It certainly sounds like the Chara wouldn’t be opposed to finishing his career in a different sweater.
“It’s a possibility. I asked his agent Matt Keator on Thursday for an update and specifically asked, ‘Hey I’m hearing that it may not necessarily be Boston as a slam dunk if he decides to play another season.’ And Keator’s answer was, ‘Looking at all options,'” LeBrun relayed on Thursday’s Insider Trading on TSN.
LeBrun believes that the Bruins are still the front runner, “but other teams keep calling.” Chara has long said that he wants to finish his career in Boston, but it sounds like that has changed. Considering he’s still available, it doesn’t appear as though the Bruins are in a very big rush to bring him back, either.
There remains the possibility that Chara hangs up his skates after 22 NHL seasons, especially given no one knows what the 2020-21 season will look like. If the NHL opts for another bubble settle, it’s possible Chara could choose to retire so he wouldn’t have to spend extended time away from his young family.
“Bottom line is, right now, Big Z is in a holding pattern,” said LeBrun.
Defense is one of Boston’s biggest needs this offseason, especially following the departure of Torey Krug. Losing a veteran like Chara would be another blow to the Boston blue line.
Chara has spent the last 14 seasons as the Bruins captain, leading the team to a Stanley Cup title in 2011.