Big Z is 43 years old and will turn 44 next March. If the pandemic ends this season for good, what does the Bruins captain do next season?
It’s an interesting situation. Z has slowed down the past few years and the league has only gotten faster. He plays a physical game and has a lot of miles on those long legs of his.
I’d imagine if the Bruins went all the way this year he’d for sure hang them up. Every athlete wants to go out on top and it would be the perfect way to end a great career.
BUT, if the season is cancelled, I’m curious as to what happens with Z. As great as it would be to end your career with a deep playoff run, it would be anticlimactic to end on a cancelled season. There’s tons of factors in play here.
Would the Bruins want him back? I think his contract would play a major role. He’s making $2 million this year. Torey Krug is up for an extension and can make $8 million a year in free agency.
We have to consider the impact of the pandemic on next years salary cap. It’s currently sitting at $81.5 million. It was projected to reach as high as $88 million next year, before the league was put on pause. However, with the stoppage and the league missing out on a huge revenue booster in the playoffs, who knows how that effects next year’s cap. I imagine it would stay much closer to that $81.5 ceiling.
If that’s the case, and they want to keep Z, what kind of contract is he looking for? Would he take one year $1 million? Would that even be enough to fit in Krug? Even if it is, that doesn’t leave much room to play around in free agency. Halak and DeBrusk are up for contract extensions as well as puck moving defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. All of those guys are going to look for a significant boost. The Bruins are also on the hook for $1.5 million of David Backes’ contract.
It would seem to me that Chara wouldn’t want to end his career on a shortened season. I’d love to see the captain finish out his career on a higher note. Don Sweeney has his work cut out for him this offseason.
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