The New York Islanders are being linked to former defenseman Zdeno Chara. The link makes sense, but it’s just not going to happen.
There’s a rumor that the New York Islanders could be in play for defenseman Zdeno Chara. The current UFA hasn’t yet signed an extension with the Boston Bruins as everyone expected him too. According to BHN’s Jimmy Murphy, the Islanders could be keen to sign the big-left handed veteran defenseman if he doesn’t sign with the Bruins.
On the surface, it’s easy to see why the Islandesr would be interested. They like veterans, they certainly like a defensively-minded player, and they like guys of character. Chara checks off all of those boxes. And at 43 years old he isn’t likely to command anything pricey in a COVID market. We also can’t overlook how poetic it would be to see Chara end his career where it all started; as an Islander.
Remember it was over 19 years ago when the New York Islanders made a franchise-altering trade by sending forward Bill Muckalt, a first-round pick (second overall), and Chara to the Ottawa Senators for center Alexei Yashin.
Yashin was never quite that elite level center for the Islanders. Good? Sure. Elite? No. Meanwhile, Chara evolved into a workhorse top pair shutdown defenseman and leader. Chara will also surely be a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done.
Again, Chara checks a lot of boxes for the Islanders. And it’s not like the Islanders haven’t been linked to a veteran left-shot defenseman already. Andy Greene is all but officially signed. So linking Chara to the Islanders makes a heck of a lot of sense. Who better to teach Noah Dobson how to be a top-tier defender in the NHL than Chara? His last protogé – Charlie McAvoy – sure benefited from being under Chara’s wing for the last three years.
But why would Chara come back exactly? By all accounts, he wants to stay in Boston. His agent Matt Keator told Murphy that Chara is simply waiting on how the 20-21 season is going to shape out and that there is “no rush” on signing with Boston.
While the Islanders have little cap space to work with, the Boston Bruins have $6.657 million and only RFA Jake DeBrusk to re-sign. The Bruins have the space to sign both and still have some money left ofter.
It’s certainly an interesting rumor, if only for how poetic it would be to see Chara end his NHL career as an Island, but it’s just not going to happen.