It’s become quite clear the Boston Bruins are going to skew young on the back end when the new hockey season finally opens up. It’s still yet to be determined if 43-year-old Zdeno Chara will return to Boston as an unsigned free agent, but offensive dynamo Torey Krug is long gone after signing a free agent deal with the St. Louis Blues.
The Bruins retained some veteran blood by signing Kevan Miller to a one-year deal, but everybody else could be aged 26 years old and under with Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril expected to get plenty of playing time next season. Sure 29-year-old John Moore is also around right now, but his contract may be moved if the Bruins have one more move up their sleeve to improve their NHL roster.
With that in mind, the Bruins have explored a lot of deep options on the back end for once training camp rolls around. The most high-profile option was a potential deal for Oliver Ekman-Larsson that fell through, but the B’s have kicked the tires on several different possibilities.
One of those possibilities, according to a couple of hockey sources, is free agent defenseman Karl Alzner, who has played just 13 NHL games over the last two seasons while buried in the minors with an unwieldy contract. His forgettable stint with the Canadiens ended when he was bought out of the final two years of a five-year, $23 million contract following last season.
The 32-year-old has now been freed of that albatross deal weighing down his career, and would make a cheap insurance veteran insurance policy as a left-handed D possibility should youngsters like Vaakanainen and Zboril show they aren’t quite ready for prime time.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Alzner has never been a premium offensive defenseman by any means, but he was a top-4 guy at the NHL level as recently as 2017-18 when he played all 82 games for the Montreal Canadiens with one goal and 12 points. Last season Alzner suited up in four games for Montreal but played the bulk of his season with the Laval Rocket while posting one goal and 13 points in 53 games for Montreal’s AHL club.
Alzner could be a decent option as a seventh defenseman given that he’s going to be low-cost as either an NHL veteran minimum contract, or a training camp invite that wouldn’t cost the Boston Bruins anything unless he ended up making the big club. The need for a veteran left-shot defenseman obviously will become more acute if Chara ends up signing elsewhere as was hinted at by his agent while speaking to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun over the last few days.