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Islanders: 3 free agent left-shot defenseman to target

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 18: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders controls the puck during their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 18: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders controls the puck during their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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Zdeno Chara #33 of the Washington Capitals. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Zdeno Chara #33 of the Washington Capitals. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara | Washington Capitals

Why Him?

How poetic would it be for Zdeno Chara to end his NHL career where it began? The answer is very poetic.

Who knows if he still wants to play, but he was still an effective player with 18:19 of average ice time for the Capitals last season. Of course, he’s much older than even the Islander’s oldest roster player from last year (Andy Greene), but the future Hall of Famer still has something to give to the game. And he’s only 43 games back from the most games played for an NHL defenseman. He’s currently fifth with 1,608.

And how about the impact he could have on Noah Dobson? Charlie McAvoy shadowed Chara for a while in Boston and it did the young defenseman a world of good. A year with Chara could only be a good thing for Dobson.

What Might It Cost?

Consider that Chara’s last deal was $795,000 with $480,000 in performance bonuses. A similar or slightly improved deal would be great for the player and the Islanders. Greene held a $700,000 cap hit and $2 million in performance bonuses. So paying Chara a bit more even if he’s older is fair considering he had a good year and what he brings to the club as a larger than life presence

Why it might not work?

It’s still unsure if he even wants to play again. And would he actually want to leave Washington? He clearly likes it there and they clearly like him. A league minimum deal could be all it takes (with a few performance bonuses for games played) to keep him in DC.

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