The 2014-15 season was a difficult one for Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
The 38-year-old defenseman suffered a PCL tear in his left knee in October and missed 20 games, but when he returned to game action, he wasn’t the same Norris Trophy-caliber player (although analytics prove he still was a legit top-pairing defenseman).
The Bruins, who finished with 96 points, missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. Chara believes the team is still good enough to compete and has no plans to retire in the immediate future.
“My contract goes for another three years and I’d like to play until then,” Chara recently said in an interview with Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun.
“I think we still have a competitive team with some good young players. Being out of the playoffs just makes you want to get back there even more.”
Chara is right. The Bruins still have a very good team that includes several young, talented players. Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson are the only top-nine forwards older than 30 or will turn 30 before next season. Dougie Hamilton, Zach Trotman, Torey Krug and Joe Morrow also represent a bright future on the blue line, and starting goaltender Tuukka Rask, who already has won a Vezina Trophy, is just 28 years old.
For the Bruins to be a Stanley Cup contender again, they need to be better in their own end. Defensive play, puck retrieval and breakouts all must improve. A healthier Chara next season would help the Bruins address all of those areas.
Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP