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Any Chance the Maple Leafs Trade for Zdeno Chara at Trade Deadline?

The Toronto Maple Leafs could use a big physical defenseman for the playoffs. Could it be Zdeno Chara? Would the Islanders trade him?

I cannot take any credit for this idea, but it’s a good one. It falls under the category of “I wish I would have thought of it myself.” Alas, I didn’t. However, I cannot help but share it with Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans.  

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Should the Maple Leafs Try to Trade for Zdeno Chara?

I have to attribute the idea completely to Howard Berger of “Between the Posts.” Berger put forth the idea that, when the Maple Leafs go after defensive help at the trade deadline this season, they seek to bring in none other than Zdeno Chara of the New York Islanders. 

Zdeno Chara, with New York Islanders

​​Berger’s reasoning makes sense. Chara is currently playing for the Islanders; and, for the first time since the 2017-18 season, the Islanders are going to miss the playoffs. There’s no reason for the Islanders not to trade Chara, who’s on a one-year $750,000 contract, before the March 21st trade deadline. 

In fact, the Islanders will probably leverage Chara’s contract into a prospect or a draft choice. Hanging on to the 6–foot–9, 250–pound Chara past the trade deadline makes no sense for Lamoriello; and, he’ll trade the 25–year veteran.

The first question is “Where will Chara go?” The second question is “Is there a chance he could move to the Maple Leafs?”

The Fly in the Ointment for a Possible Trade

However, there’s one fly in the ointment that would militate against such a trade. The Islanders’ general manager might not be interested in doing any trade with the Maple Leafs who dumped him as a general manager and gave the job to a younger Kyle Dubas. Then, the Maple Leafs signed the Islanders’ captain John Tavares as a UFA after his Islanders’ contract had ended. 

We know two things. First, the Islanders are more than likely to trade Chara for a prospect or a draft choice. Second, the Maple Leafs would likely jump at the chance to have Chara on its blueline. And, they’d also likely be willing to move a prospect or a lower-round draft choice for that opportunity.

Chara will be 45-years-old soon, but he’s probably not too old to provide the solidifying presence to the Maple Leafs’ blue line. He has the size and the reach; and, he can be downright “moody.” 

There Might Be Younger Defensemen, But Are They Too Expensive?

Although there will probably be much younger and stronger defensemen on the market at the trade deadline, there’s no way the Maple Leafs should overpay to rent John Klingberg (from the Dallas Stars) or Jacob Chychrun (from the Arizona Coyotes). Given the Maple Leafs’ salary-cap squeeze and their need to pay Morgan Rielly and resign goalie Jack Campbell, Ilya Mikheyev, and the two young Swedish defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren, there’s no chance the team could keep a defenseman with term who’s paid in the area of $4 million or so.

But Chara’s a big horse of a different color. He’d easily fit under the Maple Leafs’ salary-cap space, which Berger noted would be (at the March 21 deadline $928,275, according to It doesn’t hurt the Maple Leafs that Chara wouldn’t have any commitment for next season.

The Only Question Might Be a Big One

However, as Berger notes, one big question remains to be answered: “Would Lamoriello do business with the Maple Leafs?” He might if the deal is good for his new team; or, he might just get his back up and say, No Way!

Related: Maple Leafs Open to Acquiring Players With Term in Deadline Trades



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  2. Afp1961

    January 28, 2022 at 11:43 am

    Wrote a week back that Chara would be a good depth piece and replace the grit we missed when Bogosian left. He would be our 6-7. Not the RHD2 in my opinion as that requires someone who can play 20mpg and has more mobility. So after a Manson or Risto trade, Chara would instantly make this defence 50% better

  3. Old Prof

    January 29, 2022 at 1:07 am

    I don’t think the Maple Leafs need a top-four defenseman – just one who’s big and mean – as you say, like Bogosian.

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