NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Zdeno Chara Contract, Elias Pettersson Extension

Jake RillFeatured Columnist INovember 19, 2020

Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara plays during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Just because there's a lull in the NHL offseason, it doesn't mean there aren't quality players available on the free-agent market or that teams don't have work to do.

Things are sure to pick up at some point before the start of the 2020-21 season, whenever that may be. For now, there continues to be speculation regarding potential moves and teams' goals for the remainder of the offseason.

Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NHL.


Could Chara's Time in Boston Be Over?

Zdeno Chara has spent the past 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins, but there's no guarantee the 43-year-old defenseman will be back with the team next year. And that's not because of his age, either. 

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now recently reported that Chara and the Bruins were "far apart" on a new deal, per numerous sources, and that he's had "more than just feelers with 'more than three teams'" this offseason. It wasn't mentioned which teams may have interest in adding the veteran.

It may be a while before Chara signs with a team this offseason. His agent, Matt Keator, told Murphy that he's waiting to see the format for the 2020-21 season and that there's "no rush." That doesn't indicate whether Chara could be leaning toward a return to Boston or heading to a new team.

If Chara doesn't return to Boston, it will mark the end of an era for the Bruins. He's been the team's captain since joining prior to the 2006-07 season. He led them to the Stanley Cup in 2011 and has been an integral part of the team's success for much of his time in Boston (the B's have failed to make the playoffs just three times since his arrival).

Before signing with the Bruins, Chara spent four seasons with the New York Islanders and four with the Ottawa Senators. He's a seven-time All-Star and won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman in 2008-09.

Although Chara is getting closer to the end of his career, he's continued to be a quality contributor. Last season, he had five goals and nine assists in 68 regular-season games and had a pair of assists in 13 postseason contests.


Latest on Pettersson's Future in Vancouver

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Elias Pettersson was selected by the Vancouver Canucks with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NHL draft. He's played his first two NHL seasons with the team, and the 22-year-old center is likely to remain a key part of their offense in 2020-21.

But how about beyond that? He's set to become a restricted free agent in 2021, so the Canucks may want to work out an extension sooner rather than later.

Pettersson's camp and the Canucks "have stayed in touch but [have] yet to engage in substantive extension talks" this offseason, according to Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic. But that doesn't mean a deal won't be worked out.

"That's no cause for concern," Drance and Dhaliwal wrote. "There's plenty of time remaining on the clock, and in fact it makes sense for both sides to take some time to evaluate what the second contract market for superstar-level contributors even looks like on the other side of the pandemic."

Pettersson had 28 goals and 38 assists in 71 games as a rookie in 2018-19, winning the Calder Trophy. He followed that up with another impressive showing, tallying 27 goals and 39 assists in 68 regular-season games. He also impressed during his first taste of the playoffs, scoring seven goals and 11 assists in 17 games in the summer.

With how impressive the Swede has been early in his career, Vancouver needs to sign him to an extension. Although nothing appears to be imminent and the salary cap will remain flat during the COVID-19 pandemic, a deal will almost certainly have been worked out before the end of next season.