Could Zdeno Chara make the Panthers the big winners this offseason?

Published August 13, 2021 at 3:24 PM

While there aren't many big names left on the unrestricted free agent market, there are still several well known players who could make a deal with one of the 32 National Hockey League teams. Former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is on the list, as he could bring experience and toughness to any team's defensive line.

In fact, in the most recent edition of his 31 Thoughts podcast, insider Elliotte Friedman identified three teams that he said would be interested in acquiring the services of the giant-sized defenseman, namely the Washington Capitals, the St. Louis Blues and the Florida Panthers.

In the case of the Capitals, they would obviously like to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the 44-year-old Slovak, who was already playing with the team last season. In 55 regular season games with the Capitals, Chara scored two goals and 10 points while maintaining a +5 rating.

For the Blues, now, the interest is just as logical. The left side of the Blues' defense was greatly weakened this summer, with young Vince Dunn being selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft and veteran Carl Gunnarsson deciding to hang up his skates. While Chara doesn't exactly fill the same profile as those two players, his leadership could fill a gaping hole in Craig Berube's defense.

The Panthers: big winners of the offseason?

Finally, with the Panthers being extremely active since the market opened, it's hardly surprising to learn that they are in the running on this one. The signing of a veteran like Zdeno Chara could become the icing on the cake of a summer where the Panthers have already acquired Sam Reinhart and Joe Thornton, in addition to signing young prospect Anton Lundell.

With general manager Bill Zito parting ways with defenseman Keith Yandle, Chara would add stability to the Panthers' defense, as he is much more responsible defensively than Yandle.

In short, it will be interesting to see where Chara ends up between now and the start of next season, but one thing is certain, his acquisition would be another masterstroke by Bill Zito or any other general manager in the league.
Latest 10 stories