Boston Bruins

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins is attended to after being injured during the game against the St. Louis Blues in Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Matt McCarthy,

If Zdeno Chara can’t play in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final after taking a puck to the face in Tuesday’s Game 4 loss, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy could look to get creative to fill his captain’s shoes.

Cassidy told the media that he could sit a forward and dress seven defenseman if Chara can’t take the ice Thursday night.

98.5 The Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson detailed the potential replacements for Chara, with Steven Kampfer probably the leading candidate to play. But the Bruins could also insert one of their top prospects, Urho Vaakanainen, into the lineup.

Vaakanainen is a left shot defenseman, something the Bruins likely value in replacing the left-handed Chara. But he is only 20 years old and has played in just two NHL games in his career.

Cassidy also mentioned Jeremy Lauzon and Jacob Zboril, both left shots, as possible candidates to suit up as well.

It’s easy to believe that the team might trust the veteran Kampfer more to play in the Stanley Cup Final, even if Vaakanainen has a higher upside. But if Cassidy wanted to give himself matchup options with a lefty while still dressing Kampfer to split those minutes, dropping a forward could be an option.

If the Bruins were to carry only 11 forwards, David Backes could be the odd man out. Backes had a team-low nine minutes of ice time in Game 4.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.

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