There’s no way that Zdeno Chara will play for the Boston Bruins again right?
On Wednesday, Andy Strickland of Bally Sports Midwest and The Cam And Strick Podcast tweeted that while the St. Louis Blues had recently expressed interest in the former Boston Bruins captain who mutually parted ways with the Bruins the last offseason and signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Washington Capitals on December 30. However, according to Strickland, Chara and his agent Matt Keator indicted to the Blues that if he does return for his 24th NHL season, it will once again be with a team in the Eastern Conference.
Told the #stlblues are not an option for future Hall of Fame Dman Zdeno Chara. His focus, if he plays, will be to stay in the East to remain close to his family.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) August 18, 2021
So could that team be the team he captained for 14 seasons and helped lead to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011 and two more Stanley Cup Finals in 2013 and 2019?
After seeing Strickland’s tweet, we did some digging via phone calls, texts, and emails with multiple NHL sources, one close to the 44-year-old future hall of famer.
“I’m told that while highly unlikely, never say never and that he is exploring multiple options, with one obviously being retirement,” that NHL source told Boston Hockey Now on Wednesday. “I can tell you that nothing except playing in the West, like what ‘Strick’ said, has been ruled out.”
Two other NHL sources doubted a reunion with the Boston Bruins and Chara on the ice was potentially in the works but a return in a coaching or player development role could happen if and when Chara decides to hang them up. That goes in line with what we’ve heard too and based on the Bruins’ youth movement on the blue line, along with signing a big, minutes-eating defenseman in Derek Forbort last month, it does seem ‘highly unlikely.
“I know the Bruins and Chara have discussed that since they parted ways and clearly there’s no love lost there,” one of the sources said.
The other source could not say for sure what other NHL teams have expressed interest in Chara but said to keep an eye on the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. As reported here before Chara signed with the Capitals, both teams, as well as the Montreal Canadiens, looked into signing the former Boston Bruins captain whose No. 33 is destined to hang in the TD Garden rafters after he retires.
“You reported it last December and you were dead on with that,” the source said. “So if you gotta look at those teams again right? They both still could use that rugged, veteran leadership presence and playoff experience. I’ve heard him linked to the Islanders recently but it was more of hearsay and speculation. It makes a ton of sense but then look at the Rangers too; imagine Adam Fox getting even better under a mentor like ‘Zee’?”
Boston Bruins fans had mixed reactions to Chara’s departure last December but as the season went on, after two standing ovations and seeing their team beat Chara and the Capitals in five games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they appeared to have moved on. If as expected, Chara and the Bruins don’t reunite and he signs with the Islanders, Rangers, or any other team in the East, he will likely get another standing O. However, seeing Chara come into TD Garden with the Habs on November 14 could cause a riot!