December 21, 2020

New York Rangers Rumors: Is there a path to bring in Zdeno Chara?

Chara to Caps (NHLI)

Zdeno Chara is 43 years-old and still a highly sought player on the free agent market. According to his agent, Matt Keator over 20 teams have reached out Chara to gauge his interest.

One of those teams rumored to be interested were the New York Rangers. So is there a way to bring in the Big Z?

Chara looking at all his options, including retirement

The team at Hockey Now floated the rumors that the Rangers were one of several teams that reached out to Zdeno this offseason.

I followed up and asked around the Rangers and was met with silence on the topic. Is it possible the Rangers reached out prior to signing Jack Johnson? Sure, why not? He is after all a left handed defenseman and the Rangers need that. At this time however, there’s no room due to performance bonuses.

Also, Chara may sit out the season or retire as I reported at The Daily Goal Horn. A sentiment reiterated today by his agent.

Can the Rangers find a way to sign Chara?

zdeno chara
Chara on the Rangers? (Getty Images)

While Chara’s desire is to play with Boston, Cam Neely spoke with the press today and didn’t sound like he was ready to just jump on it.

“We certainly respect Zdeno and everything he’s done for the organization and what he’s accomplished as a player and what he’s done both on and off the ice here in Boston. It’s really just a matter of what his desire is and how the coaching staff and we feel what our lineup should look like and could look like depending on the development of some of these young guys.”

Boston Herald

If Boston doesn’t want him and he still wants to play, are the Rangers an option for him? If that is a yes, and the Rangers do want him, Is it possible with the ability to have a taxi squad, for the Blueshirts to work out a deal?

That would likely mean sending recently signed Jack Johnson to the taxi squad and take a small cap hit of $75,000. Of course, Chara would need to be amicable to a one year contract at around $1 million.

Jeff Gorton has to manage a cap that comes with uncertainty. They currently have 23 players signed and $4.829 million in cap space. Sounds like an easy ask to sign the veteran lefty defenseman.

Of course, the Rangers need to set aside 3 million worth of cushion to accommodate for extensive performance bonuses for players like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Igor Shesterkin, and Adam Fox to name a few.

They could play it tight and risk going over, but they would have time to adjust at the trade deadline. Is the risk worth it? A defense with Chara on it, even at 43 would still be an improvement. Plus he would be a great mentor to many young players.

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