The Boston Bruins had a different role in mind for Zdeno Chara had he returned, but that didn’t preclude them from offering the longtime captain a contract.
Chara left the Bruins on Wednesday, electing to sign with the Washington Capitals on a one-year deal. Presumably, Chara will fit into a top-four role there, or at the very least a bottom pairing spot in which he’ll still log a fair amount of minutes and get used on the penalty kill.
Whatever the case may be, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney on Thursday in no uncertain terms said Chara was offered a deal by Boston.
“I want to make sure it’s abundantly clear that we had multiple, multiple discussions with Zdeno and (his agent) Matt Keator,” Sweeney said over Zoom. “And we’re very appreciative of all the dialogue and both sides being honest in determining where they were.
“We had certainly offered a contract to Zdeno months ago. He indicated he wanted time to continue to work through where he felt he was at, where the league was at with return-to-play protocols and the role we were describing and hoping to integrate him into with our hockey club.”
Sweeney did go on to point-blank admit that the Bruins made clear to Chara that they were looking to “integrate” the younger players — likely Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon and Urho Vaakanainen — into the fold this season.
Now, with Chara and Torey Krug gone, those youngsters, in addition to John Moore and Matt Grzelcyk, will be leaned on a good bit.