By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Zdeno Chara was waiting to see what the upcoming NHL season was going to look like before making any decisions about his career. But he’s made it clear that if he does lace up the skates, he’d like to do so for the Boston Bruins.

Now that we know that the NHL will return on Jan. 13 with a 56-game regular season, it’s time for the 43-year-old Chara to decide if he wants to return for a 23rd NHL season or hang ’em up.

And, in turn, it’s time for the Bruins to decide if they want Chara back,

According to Chara’s agent, Matt Keator, over 20 teams have reached out to him to express interest in the veteran blue liner. Keator told TSN’s Pierre LeBrun that while Chara has no shortage of suitors, “his focus is to talk to Boston.”

Those talks will happen in the next few days, according to Keator, who added that retirement and playing for another team remain options for Chara.

Bruins president Cam Neely spoke about Chara’s free agency on Monday, and said that the team will chat with the veteran about returning. But it will all come down to the two sides agreeing on a fit going forward, leaving the potential that the B’s don’t bring back their long-time captain.

“I think it really depends on what he feels he can do and help us, and we have to feel the same way,” said Neely.  “Is that something that he would be comfortable with, how we maybe envision it looking compared to maybe how he feels it may look?”

The Bruins likely don’t see Chara as a top-pairing D-man anymore, and if Chara agrees, there should still be a fit for him in Boston. But if Chara wants to continue to fill some big skates on the blue line, he may end up finishing his Hall of Fame career elsewhere.

Whatever happens, we should have a solution sometime in the near future.

CBSBoston.com Staff