Zdeno Chara has 22 years of NHL experience and has spent the past 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins. What's next for the 43-year-old defenseman? At this early point in the offseason, even he may not know.
On Thursday, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported that Chara's agent, Matt Keator, said the blueliner is "looking at all options" ahead of the 2020-21 season. But it's a situation that may not develop quickly, especially considering the uncertainty of when the season could start.
"Now, I have to say the Bruins are probably the front-runner, but other teams keep calling," LeBrun said on TSN's Insider Trading. "The key thing that Keator says is that Zdeno Chara is in no hurry. He wants to take his time. And one thing he mentioned is the format for next season is of particular interest to Chara.
"He's got a young family, there's a lot of factors to consider, whether he's jumping back in for another season, depending on how next year looks like. Bottom line is right now, 'Big Z' is in a holding pattern."
Chara is a seven-time All-Star who helped Boston win the Stanley Cup in 2011. At the beginning of his career, he played four seasons for the New York Islanders and four for the Ottawa Senators.
This past season, Chara had five goals and nine assists in 68 regular-season games, and he tallied two assists in 13 postseason contests.
It's unknown which teams have reached out to Chara, but if he doesn't return to Boston, there is clearly some interest in adding his experience and leadership. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do.
Martin Wants to Stay with Islanders
According to The Athletic's Arthur Staple, seven teams inquired about forward Matt Martin when free agency began on Oct. 9. However, it appears the 31-year-old may be staying right where he was.
Staple reported that Miller has decided he wants to remain with the New York Islanders and that "the two sides are working toward a deal, possibly for two years to knock the AAV down." The 11-year veteran has played nine seasons for New York.
"The partnership will continue with an official announcement at some point," Staple wrote. "The Rangers, by the way, never inquired. They don't have enough cap space, and even if they did, they likely would have spent it on Jesper Fast, who went to the Hurricanes earlier this week."
Miller was selected by the Islanders in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL draft and played his first seven seasons with them. He left via free agency in July 2016, signing a four-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who traded him back to New York two years into that contract.
Although Miller isn't a top scorer, he provides depth for the Islanders on the wing. In 55 games this past season, he had five goals and three assists while averaging 10 minutes, 25 seconds of ice time per game.
Hurricanes Shopping Gardiner on Trade Market?
After spending his first eight NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, defenseman Jake Gardiner signed with the Carolina Hurricanes last offseason. Is it possible that could end up being his only season with Carolina, though?
Sportsnet's Eliotte Friedman recently reported that Carolina "continues to examine its trade options" with Gardiner. The 30-year-old signed a four-year, $16.2 million deal with the Hurricanes in September 2019, so he's not set to hit free agency until 2023.
Gardiner had four goals and 20 assists in 68 games for Carolina this past season, but he had a career-worst plus/minus of minus-24. He also averaged 16:40 of ice time per game, the lowest of his career.
Still, Gardiner can provide solid defensive depth, so it wouldn't be surprising if there are teams interested in acquiring him from the Hurricanes. It's yet to be reported which teams Carolina has discussed a potential deal with.
However, Gardiner will have some control over where he could go, as he has a seven-team no-trade clause in his contract.