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Zdeno Chara might not return to the Bruins
The Boston Bruins could be going into the 2021 season without their longtime captain.
Over at Boston Hockey Now, Joe Haggerty was posed a question about whether the Bruins might look to trade for a defenceman to replace Torey Krug, who left the team in free agency.
Haggerty suggested that unsigned restricted free agent Jake DeBrusk could possibly be used in a deal to acquire a defenceman but went on to say that the Bruins could easily roll into the season with the group they have now on the blueline. That includes Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, John Moore, Connor Clifton, and Jeremy Lauzon, but not Chara, who remains an unrestricted free agent.
If I were a betting man, I’d say they go into the season with the defensemen group as constituted. I have doubts about whether Zdeno Chara will be back as well, but for now I’m going to take agent Matt Keator at his word that they are simply waiting on a season format before re-upping with the Bruins. One thing is for sure: The Bruins don’t want to run into the same bonus overage penalties for next season that they are dealing with for last season based on Chara’s bonus money earned.
The word is that Chara is waiting to find out what the structure of the 2021 season will look like before inking a new deal but the Bruins are strapped for cap room so a deal might not happen.
Sticking with Chara, Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Islanders are teams who could be interested in Chara if he doesn’t figure out a deal with the Bruins.
As reported here earlier this month, there was increasing chatter that the Tampa Bay Lightning had or would be reaching out to Keator about Chara’s services. Since then, multiple sources have also told BHN to watch the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs when things open up and teams start signing and trading players again.
All three teams are in a difficult salary cap bind so they would have to move things around in order to fit Chara in.
Canes hope to re-sign Dougie Hamilton
According to Tom Gulitti of NHL.com, the Carolina Hurricanes have not yet talked to Dougie Hamilton about a contract extension but they’re hoping to get the defenceman signed before the start of the 2021 season.
“We’re getting close to talking about it,” general manager Don Waddell said. “Dougie’s not back here, yet. He’s still up in Toronto. He’s coming back here I think at the end of the week. … He is a UFA at the end of the year, so we’d like to get that one done sooner than later. That one, you would have doubts if you play out the season, so it makes sense to try to get something done before the start of the season.”
If Hamilton doesn’t ink a new deal with Carolina, he’ll be one of the biggest names on the free-agent market next off-season. It isn’t very often you can find a top-pairing defenceman on the open market so Hamilton would surely have many suitors lining up to reach a deal.
The Hurricanes have about $52 million committed to their roster for the 2021-22 season already. Hamilton is a UFA, as are both of the team’s goalies, James Reimer and Petr Mrazek. Another name to consider is Andrei Svechnikov, who will be in need of a new deal as an RFA after his entry-level deal expires next off-season.
Brandon Saad hoping to stick in Colorado
Brandon Saad appeared on the NHL’s At The Rink podcast earlier this week and spoke positively about his new team, the Colorado Avalanche.
Saad was dealt from Chicago to Colorado earlier this off-season in a multi-player deal involving Nikita Zadorov. Though he hasn’t yet suited up for the Avs, Saad says that he’s hoping he can stick around in Colorado long-term.
“We haven’t had any discussions, I think it’s a bit early, especially with not really knowing what’s going on with the season and all that, but for me, thinking about it, Colorado has always been in my top because I want to win again,” Saad said. “So to be in a great spot like that, on a great team, and then you hear wonders about the city, so really, it seems like a great place where I want to play for a long time.”
Saad has bounced around quite a bit over the past few years. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2011 and signed a six-year deal with the team in 2015. Since signing that deal, he was traded to Columbus, back to Chicago, and then to Colorado.
He’s set to become a UFA next off-season, along with Gabriel Landeskog, Ian Cole, and Philipp Grubauer.