Is Zdeno Chara a fit for the Rangers defense, plus World Cup of Hockey in 2024?

zdeno chara rangers
Mar 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) shoves New York Rangers right wing Ryan Reaves (75) out of the way of New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin (30) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran defensemen Zdeno Chara is an interesting name floating around the rumor mill. His agent Matt Keator, who also represents Chris Kreider and Adam Fox, may opt to give the Rangers a call if his client feels up to it for next season.

“He’s going to take the summer with his family and assess where he’s at physically, where his family’s at, and make a decision in September,” Keator told the Boston Globe. “No rush.”

via Sportsnet

One team he won’t be playing for are the New York Islanders, where he called home last year.

Lou Lamoriello stated on Monday that there have been no discussions with either him. He also added that there isn’t a fit with the defense basically set after signing Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov.

With the Rangers rumored to be in the market for a veteran lefty to possibly play with Braden Schneider, should the Rangers give him a look?

Zdeno Chara a Rangers option?

A recent article by Larry Brooks of the NY Post, suggested that GM Chris Drury may be in the market for a veteran left defenseman in the $800,000 range.

Gallant likes size, we all know that, and he doubly likes size on the back end, we all sure know that. Which is why the club’s options for the third-pair left defenseman assignment that appears to be between Zac Jones and Libor Hajek — a healthy scratch 60 times, for goodness sakes — are so intriguing. Will there be a push to add an $800,000-type veteran during camp if the coach is not enamored with what he sees?

NY Post

Chara, 45, registered 14 points in 72 games for the Isles during the 2021-22 campaign. The ageless wonder could be a cheap option if Drury isn’t comfortable with two young defensemen in the 6th and 7th position.

Last season, Chara’s base salary was $750,000 with performance bonus potential that was able to double it.

Zac Jones should truly be given a chance at the starting role. The 21 year-old is in the final year of his entry-level deal that comes with a low cap hit of $925,000. He’s shown he has the ability to play in the NHL using his high hockey IQ to compensate for his size at 5-11, 185lbs.

Currently, Libor Hajek has the inside track as the 7th defenseman. If Chara is up for joining the team as an insurance policy, I’m all for it. Should Chara be looking to be an everyday player, the Rangers should pass.

For what’s it worth, the Rangers tried to get Chara to sign with them in 2020.

World Cup of Hockey coming back

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Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

In 1996, the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) put together the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. This tournament would take the place of the Canada Cup which ran from 1976-1991 and saw Team USA atop of the hockey world for the first time since 1980.

The showcase of the world’s best hockey talent took place only two more times after in 2004 and 2016.

Today, at the NHL’s European Player Media Tour in France, it appears the World Cup is coming back.

“We’re moving full steam ahead and that means we’re continuing to have regular meetings,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “We’re out in market already moving ahead with plans for a February 2024 World Cup. We’re still on schedule.”

The league and IIHF are currently looking for a two week window in February to hold the tournament. It would act very much like a break for the Winter Olympics that was supposed to happen this past season.

The NHL was forced to opt-out of Olympic participation due to a spike in COVID cases that forced 9 teams to shutdown and caused a premature extended holiday break in December.

“Since the CBA extension was reached 17 months ago, NHL players have looked forward with great anticipation to once again participating in the Winter Olympics,” NHLPA head Donald Fehr said. “Until very recently, we seemed to be on a clear path to go to Beijing. COVID-19 has unfortunately intervened, forcing dozens of games to be postponed this month alone. No matter how much we wish it were not the case, we need to utilize the Olympic period to reschedule these games… We expect that NHL players will return to the Olympics in 2026.”

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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