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Does Florida Signing Thornton Hint Zdeno Chara to Panthers is Next?

With news the Florida Panthers have signed Joe Thornton, could there be anything to the rumors that Zdeno Chara might be next to sign?

There was already some chatter the Florida Panthers might be interested in defenseman Zdeno Chara. The fact the Panthers signed veteran forward Joe Thornton suggests there might be something to those rumors. If the Panthers are in the frame of mind that some savvy veterans will help this Panthers’ roster, there may be no better fit than Chara.

Related: Florida Panthers Sign Joe Thornton to One-Year Deal

It’s not clear if Chara is looking at the Panthers. That said, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman named Florida as a team he could see Chara signing with.

GM Bill Zito said of the Thornton signing: “His drive to succeed is unmistakable and we are thrilled that he chose to sign with our club and that he believes in what we are building here in South Florida.” Doesn’t this sound like something Chara might find intriguing as well? Thornton clearly chose being in a market where there’s a chance to win as important. The Panthers — if not for a tough first-round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning — might have been good enough to go deep in last season’s playoffs. The chances of doing that again has to be attractive for someone like Chara, who isn’t yet sure if he wants to play again, but would likely try to land in a place where he could win should he give it one more shot.

Joe Thornton Zdeno Chara Florida Panthers

The Panthers might make a good fit on the ice in a hockey sense, but Matt Larkin of The Hockey News isn’t sold that Chara fits in cap wise. He suggests that the Panthers have a nice core on their blue line and if the team were to trade Markus Nutivaara it would be a totally different situation. But, if he sticks around, the cap hit issue is certainly one the Panthers would have to be aware of. Chara signed for $795K last season with performance bonuses that put him around $1.5M. Would that work? It probably would.

Either way, the young talent on that roster wouldn’t be hurt by having someone like Chara around.

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