By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Unrestricted free agent Zdeno Chara may find himself in a free agency holding pattern, but it’s not because of a lack of communication with the team he’s captained for the last 14 seasons.
The Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney are simply giving the 43-year-old final say on whatever he wants to do when it comes to a potential 15th season with the Bruins.
“We’ve communicated consistently with Zdeno and [agent] Matt Keator,” Sweeney said Saturday. “We’re just waiting for him to initiate what he’d like to do moving forward. I feel very comfortable allowing that to take the necessary time and let Zdeno his own make the decisions along that route.”
Sweeney’s update comes on the heels of Matt Grzelcyk signing a four-year deal with the Black and Gold, giving the Bruins eight defensemen signed for the 2020-21 season after re-signing Jakub Zboril to a two-year, one-way contract and bringing Kevan Miller back for another chance after injuries held him out of 2019-20. (A Chara re-signing would, of course, make it nine.)
But the Bruins and Chara do seem to be in agreement in terms of the door being open. This is Sweeney’s second time noting that they’ve been in proper communication with No. 33, and that their feelings have been made known. If the door were closed, you have a feeling that somebody on either side would have straight-up said it by now.
The Bruins and Chara have also developed a relationship where he’s been willing to take lower salaries — or perhaps whatever money is left this time around — to allow the Bruins to build a more complete team. That remains the name of the game this offseason, too, with the Bruins looking to either upgrade their roster via trade or re-sign restricted free agent Jake DeBrusk. (Maybe even both.)
And Chara, who totaled five goals and 14 points along with a plus-26 rating in 68 games this past season, has expressed an interest in playing next year.
The 6-foot-9 Chara, who joined the Bruins all the way back in 2006, is one of six Bruins to play at least 1,000 games with the franchise, and his 1,553 career games are the 15th-most in league history.