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Analysis: The Zdeno Chara signing is a no-brainer for the Bruins

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You get your captain and best defenseman back, and at a fair price.

Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins - Game Two Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

At first glance, there’s really nothing to dislike about the Bruins’ re-signing of Zdeno Chara.

At second glance, there’s still nothing to dislike.

The Bruins made a minor splash on their off-day today, announcing that they re-signed the captain to a one-year contract worth up to $6.75 million; $5 million of that is his base salary, while the other $1.75 million is performance bonuses.

(What those bonuses are remains a mystery. Do 1,000 pull-ups? Get to 1 million Instagram followers?)

This signing is a slam dunk for the Bruins and for Chara. There’s really nothing to complain about.

No rational Bruins fan would argue that Chara isn’t valuable to this team. He’s no longer as elite a shutdown defenseman as he once was, but he’s still better than at least half the league’s blueliners.

And while the Bruins have decent defensemen in their prospect corps, they don’t really have a guy who’s ready to truly step into that #1 role. Charlie McAvoy is the heir apparent and could probably do it if called upon, but he could use some more seasoning and time to develop his game.

Brandon Carlo is still developing as well, and guys like Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril are still working to realize their pro potential.

By re-signing Chara, the Bruins accomplish a variety of different things: they retain a key part of their defense for another run, they leave their team leadership in place (which is important for a team with a lot of youth) and they keep a guy who can serve as a mentor to the aforementioned McAvoy, Zboril, Carlo and Vaakanainen, among others.

The team also gives itself some flexibility with this deal. Since it’s only a one-year deal (I assume it has some kind of no-trade protection), the Bruins could have options next year if the season turns into an Ottawa-esque disaster.

Obviously you don’t want it to come to the point where you’re shipping your captain out of town, but trading a guy like Chara in the event that things go south is a lot easier if he’s on a one-year deal than if he’s on a two- or three-year contract.

The cap hit itself is fine too. While it could get a little tight if he meets all of the bonuses, the base salary is pretty fair. Defensemen with cap hits higher than Chara’s base include Erik Johnson, Mike Green, Matt Niskanen, Tobias Enstrom, Andrej Sekera and Tyler Myers; Chara is better than all of them.

Overall, it’s a good move for the Bruins, both for today and next year: Chara gets to stop worrying where he’ll play next season, and the Bruins get the peace of mind that comes from knowing a key piece will be back on the blueline come October.

Poll

What grade do you give the Chara deal?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    A
    (452 votes)
  • 29%
    B
    (201 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    Fail
    (11 votes)
691 votes total Vote Now