By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
A free agent for the first time in 14 years, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is facing an uncertain future.
One that may take the 43-year-old defenseman out of Boston, too, as revealed by hockey insider Pierre LeBrun during Thursday's 'Insider Trading' segment on TSN.
"It is a possibility," LeBrun said when asked if it's possible Chara is anywhere other than Boston next season. "I mean, I asked his agent Matt Keator on Thursday for an update and specifically asked 'Hey, like I'm hearing that you know, 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.'"
Well, that's something.
It was reported last week that Chara had 'numerous teams' reach out to him to inquire as to his availability, but were told that Chara was willing to wait and see how the process played out. That obviously remains the case, as noted by Keator.
"The key thing that Keator said is that Zdeno Chara is in no hurry, he wants to take his time," LeBrun relayed. "And one thing he mentioned is the format for next season is of particular interest to Chara. He's got a young family, there's a lot of factors to consider whether he jumping back in for another season, depending on how next year looks like."
It's obvious worth noting that the Bruins still have a spot for Chara on their roster. Or they should, anyway, with a left-side defense depth chart headlined by restricted free agent Matt Grzelcyk, and with John Moore, Jeremy Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen, and Jakub Zboril behind him.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, however, gave a total word-salad answer about Chara's future last week. (That non-answer honestly made me begin to think that Chara may indeed be on the outside looking in when it came to the 2020-21 B's.)
"There’s communication between the two sides and again I’ve had a great deal of communication with Zdeno and his representative Matt Keator, to make sure there is no ambiguity in terms of that," Sweeney said last Saturday. "And whatever Zee decides to do, ultimately, he’ll tell us. We’ll react accordingly to that. We have our own feelings as to where these things will go. We’ve certainly relayed them. We’ll continue to relay them.
"As I’ve mentioned before, he’s an iconic player, a personality and a leader, and things that we want to make sure that we’re dealing with this with the utmost respect as we try to treat all our players with. And communicate it as effectively as possible. Like I said, we take a lot of pride in that, making sure that there is really, no really unanswered questions in that regard or ambiguity."
These are indeed words, we know. What they mean in regards to his future, however, is anybody's guess. It was a simple question but came with a needlessly convoluted answer.
But that doesn't mean Chara is automatically on the outs in The Hub either.
"I have to say that the Bruins are probably the frontrunner but other teams keep calling," LeBrun said. "Bottom line is right now Big Zee is in a holding pattern."
Chara, who is one of six B's skaters to play at least 1,000 games with the franchise, scored five goals and 14 points in 68 games this past regular season, and has been with Boston since 2006.