The New York Islanders do not have a lot of good options to fill their open spot on the blue line via free agency. Also, the trade market is very limited and would be extremely expensive.
The veteran defenseman Chara who was originally drafted by the blue and orange could be a really good 1-year fit.
The 44-year old Chara was drafted back in 1996 in the third round by the Isles under then General Manager, Mike Milbury of all people. He was part of the trade that brought Alexei Yashin to the Islanders.
Chara is a left defenseman who could give the Isles 18 or so minutes a night, be a good penalty killer and provide even more leadership in the room. At this stage of the game, Chara wants a contributing role on a true contender, that has a chance to win the Cup. Chara and the blue and orange could be an ideal fit.
Also, with the Isles up against the cap, Chara would be landing a 1-year veteran minimum deal with some bonuses attached. Fitting someone under the cap isn’t easy for the Isles and with Chara that would be an issue.
Giving the Kids Time
The Isles have two young defensemen closing in on the NHL to be excited about. Samuel Bolduc and Robin Salo both look like they could be part of the Isles’ future core for years to come. Both Bolduc and Salo are lefties as well.
Given where the Islanders currently are with the clear mission of the upcoming season to win the Stanley Cup, the Islanders want to start the season with someone with a track record. In addition, Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz do not want to rush Bolduc and Salo that would not be good for their development.
Signing Chara would give the Islanders great depth on the blue line and allow them to bring along Bolduc and Salo on their timetable. Also, signing Chara would allow the Isles to give Noah Dobson a bigger role next season. Don’t expect him to eat a ton of minutes.
Yes, Chara has age on him but he still has a lot to offer for the right contending team. The Isles are one of the teams that Chara would be an excellent fit.