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Bruins Exploring Trade Market Before Signing Chara

Before the Boston Bruins jump into signing Zdeno Chara, they are exploring all their options, including a trade to improve their blue line.

While the deadline to voluntarily opt-out of the NHL season is today and few are expecting Zdeno Chara to be among the list of players to take advantage of that deadline, it still could be some time before the veteran defenseman’s future is known. The belief is that he’d like to return to the Boston Bruins, but the Bruins might have a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross first.

Related: Zdeno Chara Has Had 20 Teams Call About Signing, Status With Bruins

There’s a good chance the Boston Bruins will eventually sign defenseman Zdeno Chara. That said, it sounds like they’re exploring other options first and making sure he’s the right fit before simply brining him back to the team. As per Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, before signing Chara up for a 15th season, Shinzawa spoke to a source to see if a signing was imminent. That source responded: “Not sure…. Feels like they are waiting to see if the trade market opens anything up first.”

Some have suggested the Bruins might be a bit leary about how they spend their money. But, this same source said:

“Cap space is not a concern. The Bruins have approximately $3 million free under the $81.5 million upper limit. Chara, who had a $2 million base salary and $1.75 million in performance bonuses last season, would presumably fit under the ceiling.”

So, What’s the Hold Up on Chara?

First, the Bruins want to see if they can make a trade with another team that will improve their blue line more than they believe Chara will. Because, if they bring Chara back, he’ll need to be agreeable to decreased playing time.

The Bruins have some major reservations that a 43-year-old defenseman who has played only 13 games in the last nine months, and will have only 10 days of training camp with no preseason games can jump right in and excel playing 56 games in 116 days. Can he handle the rigors of so many back-to-backs?

The Bruins aren’t willing to put him in a high-profile spot and if that isn’t acceptable to Chara and a smaller role isn’t in the cards, he could look to sign elsewhere.

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