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Islanders Trade Talk: Chara Could be Moved to Contender after Record Breaking Game

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Zdeno Chara, New York Islanders

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara is on the brink of making history. The 44-year old wonder in his 24th NHL season will tie Chris Chelios for the most games played by a defenseman in NHL history on Tuesday when the Islanders face the Seattle Kraken. On Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, Chara will break the record.

And then the door to the NHL trade market will open.

Over his lengthy career, “Big Z” has played for four teams and is currently in his second stint with the New York Islanders, the team who drafted him way back in the third round (56th overall) in the 1996 NHL Draft. With whispers of this being Chara’s last season in the NHL, there will likely be a fifth and final team.

A league source told NYI Hockey Now that following Zdeno Chara’s record-breaking night on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, the New York Islanders will explore the NHL trade market to move Chara to a Stanley Cup contender.

But the source indicated the Islanders and GM Lou Lamoriello are waiting for Chara to break the record before moving him.

Could Chara end up back in Boston? What about with the Pittsburgh Penguins? Would Toronto take a flyer?

At his age and declining play, Chara is not a hot commodity. A playoff-destined franchise would be acquiring the ageless wonder for his leadership and playoff experience rather than production. But that still matters, and perhaps a playoff race could rejuvenate the big defenseman one more time.

A physical, net-clearing defenseman can make a goalie’s job a lot easier. There are a few playoff teams who could use Chara’s locker room gravitas and physical presence, even at this advanced stage of his career.

The History

Zdeno Chara has played in 200 career playoff games and has made the Stanley Cup Finals three times. He’s also played in the most Game 7’s in NHL history (14). He raised the Stanley Cup once over his illustrious career. In 2011 Chara captained the Boston Bruins to the Cup victory.

After one season with the Washington Capitals in 2020-21, Chara signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders with a cap hit of $750,000. The Islanders had been to back-to-back semi-finals, had an opening on the backend, and this was the team that gave Zdeno Chara his NHL start 24 years ago. It seemed like the perfect situation for both sides.

But not everything has worked out in his island reunion.

The Islanders have struggled mightily, and a chance at making the playoffs is now slim to none. Although Chara is not to blame for the Islanders’ inability to play a consistent brand of hockey in 2021-22, he has looked his age on the ice.

After struggling mightily alongside 22-year old Noah Dobson when the season began, the defensive pairing settled. In mid-December, Dobson’s game reached another level. Chara played a part in Noah Dobson’s exponential development, even if the big man appears to have lost a step.

Since training camp, Chara had served as a mentor, the same role he played for Boston’s Charlie McAvoy during their three seasons together.

In 42 games played this season, Zdeno Chara has seven assists, 54 blocks, 84 hits, and 31 giveaways in 18:29 ATOI.

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Metalhead88

And several fights… Which he won… I doubt it would be Boston though not to mention chances of a deep playoff run aren’t great for bruins this year.

Rene

Bring him back to Boston , a real contender team !

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