One of the biggest questions surrounding the Boston Bruins heading into the 2020-21 NHL season is the future of Zdeno Chara.
Chara, who’s been with the B’s for the past 14 seasons, played the final year of his deal in 2019-20 and has yet to make a decision about what’s next.
General manager Don Sweeney noted in October that the Bruins were waiting for Chara “to initiate what he?d like to do moving forward.” And even though multiple teams reportedly reached out to the 43-year-old during the first day of NHL free agency, there still is no official decision.
The 2020-21 season is hopeful to begin in January, and it’s fair to think Chara could see what, if any protocols will be in place when the puck drops for Opening Night.
There’s also his age to consider. Chara will be 44 in March. And while he’s understandably lost some speed, he still has some left in the tank. But he’s making the decision on his own terms.
Still, there’s a possibility the B’s will have to prepare for life after Chara. Head coach Bruce Cassidy weighed in on that idea during an appearance on NHL Network on Wednesday.
“Well, it has,” Cassidy said when asked if the thought had crossed his mind what Boston’s blue line would look like without Chara. “… The part of it that’s a little bit impersonal is they’re always preparing for who is in the lineup. So we’re looking at it, if Zee’s not in, could (Jeremy) Lauzon go in and do the job? And Jeremy played hard this year, he’s a bigger body … he plays hard. He’s not 6-foot-9, but he’s a big guy and he can do some of the things that Zee brings to the table in terms of shutting down good players, playing hard against good players. …”
Watch the full clip below:
The Bruins’ depth at the blue line is strong. Plus, Boston recently re-signed Kevan Miller — another big body — to a one-year deal in October.
Of course, this is all a “what if” scenario should Chara not return to Boston.