Defender from the capital Zdeno Chara will be an unlimited free agent on Wednesday, but it looks like his future may remain unclear well into the summer.
On Tuesday, Chara’s agent Matt Keator told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that the future Hall of Famer is at home in Slovakia. While “training hard”, he has not yet made a decision on whether or not to retire, and “leaves all his options open.”
Do not expect a quick decision from UFA D Zdeno Chara.
Agent Matt Keator: “Z is in Slovakia and spends time with his family. He trains hard and leaves all his options open. There is no hurry for anything with him. ”@TSNHockey @TheAthletic
– Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 27, 2021
The plan is similar to how Chara approached the 2020-21 season. The Stanley Cup champion waited until about a week before NHL training camps opened before accepts an annual $ 795,000 agreement with the capitals.
“We’ve talked to his representative,” Capital General Manager Brian MacLellan said after the NHL draft Saturday. “We may be able to check in again here when [free agency] opens up to see if he is serious or not about coming back. MacLellan added that re-signing the rear guard depends on “where the salary ends and whether we have space based on our list decisions.”
During the collapse day in May, 44-year-old Chara admitted he was unsure if he would return for a 24th season.
“This season didn’t end the way we wanted, but it’s life,” Chara said. “You have to move on. For myself and my future, I will probably take a few days to talk to my family and make decisions after. I think, of course, it is not always a decision I can make myself. Sometimes there are things in life you need to realize. I need to have these conversations with my wife and kids and see where we are going to be the next two days or weeks. After these conversations, I will probably let these feelings settle down and see where I am. ”
The Capitals appear to have room, both on the depth chart and below the salary cap, to bring Zee back after sending Brenden Dillon and his $ 3.9 million cap hit to the Winnipeg Jets. The move allowed capitals to sign Alex Ovechkin to a five-year $ 47.5 million deal Tuesday, opening a log jam on the left side of the defense. Prospect Martin Fehervary is expected to be trained for the NHL next season, and Alex Alexeyev, another leftist, may also join him in the NHL possibly next season. Chara could serve as a stopgap and a mentor to Fehervary, a Slovak colleague, if he decided to return.
Chara played 55 out of 56 games for the Capitals last season, collecting 10 points (2g, 8a), and was an important part of the team’s penalty kicks, which ended the season as the fifth best in the league (84%). Chara too played in his 1600th NHL game of his career in April. Chara was the 13th NHL player and the fifth defender in general to hit
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