While Zdeno Chara is still pondering his options for next season, there is one decision he has apparently made one month before NHL training camps begin.
If the Slovakian rearguard returns for a 24th year, which is still unclear, Chara, 44, will play for a team in the east.
According to The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, Chara’s family will stay in Boston during the 2021-22 season, and the defenseman’s “plan again is to stay close to them.” They are Chara’s “number one priority.”
The Blues reportedly expressed interest in Chara for the second straight season, but according to Andy Strickland of Bally Sports Midwest, the Stanley Cup champion is not interested in playing there.
Told the #stlblues are not an option for future Hall of Fame Dman Zdeno Chara. His focus, if he plays, will be to stay in the East to remain close to his family.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) August 18, 2021
Meanwhile, the Capitals remain an option, but it’d be a tight fit under the salary cap.
“It was probably unlikely, but I’d never rule it out completely,” Brian MacLellan recently said on DC101’s Elliot in the Morning. “We’ve kept in contact with him, just to see where he’s at. Right now, we have seven guys and [Matt] Irwin who’s on a two-way contract. And [Dylan] McIlrath is on a two-way contract. We’d have to balance all that out. Health would be a big part of that decision on our guys coming back.”
The Capitals already have Dmitry Orlov, Michal Kempny, and rookie Martin Fehervary slated to skate on the left side next season. Kempny, however, is coming back from two severe injuries (torn hamstring and torn Achilles tendon) and missed the entire 2020-21 season.
Kempny is 100 percent healthy and currently back at home working out in the Czech Republic.
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