While the Blues are believed to have shown interest in Zdeno Chara, it doesn’t appear to be mutual. Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland notes (Twitter link) that if the 44-year-old decides to play next season, his intention is to stay in the Eastern Conference to be closer to his family. Chara still logged more than 18 minutes a game with Washington last season and led the team in shorthanded ice time so he can still contribute in a limited role. But at this stage of his career and knowing he’s going to be signing for the minimum salary or close to it (plus possible bonuses) for cap purposes, Chara can afford to be selective about where he wants to go and if the right fit doesn’t materialize, he can simply call it a career.
More from the East:
- While teams have often wanted to front-load contracts to players signing their final contracts at the end of their career to try to keep the AAV down, Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now suggests the Penguins may want to try a different approach when it comes to center Evgeni Malkin. Instead, with the 35-plus penalties not applying to contracts for players that age that have the same salary throughout, a deal like that could potentially allow Pittsburgh to tack an extra year on in return for a lower AAV while giving Malkin the opportunity to retire or go to the KHL without any risk of cap penalties that most 35-plus deals carry.
- A pair of Western Canadian teams still have varying degrees of interest in Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, reports Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic (subscription link). The scribe notes the Oilers and Flames as teams interested, though Calgary is to a lesser degree. DeBrusk is coming off a tough season that saw him post just 14 points in 41 games, hardly worth the $3.675MM AAV (that also carries a $4.85MM salary). However, he scored at least 16 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons so there is a track record of some success. Shinzawa suggests that a swap for a center would be Boston’s preference but neither of those teams have a center that could plausibly be had around that particular price tag.