If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to compete for the playoffs, they have to tighten up on defense. Considering their salary cap issues, they won’t be going for the top defenseman. Could Zdeno Chara be their guy?
Before we start, this is an opinion piece. It’s not likely that the Blackhawks will look at Chara.
How does Zdeno Chara fit with the Chicago Blackhawks next season? On their third-line defensive-pairing, or a 7th defenseman for $2,000,000. Signing Chara for one-year to see what he still has wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Chara still can play at the NHL-level. He adds depth to this team, which is desperately needed. Chara will add the size that is needed down the stretch for this team.
Chicago has a solid group of defensemen for the future, but they still are missing that depth defenseman who makes a difference when he is on the ice, right now. That’s the exact role Chara would play in Chicago.
He wouldn’t be expected to play all 82-games, as the team will, most-likely, filter through defensemen throughout the season. Even if he ended up being a staple on the Hawks blue line, he can still play a full season.
Chara played in 68 of the Bruins’ 70-games last season. He showed great durability throughout the year. During the playoffs, Chara played in all 12-games for the Bruins. He didn’t add much offensively, but he did log around 20-minutes of ice time each game.
Chara can be used in many different ways. The biggest way he would make a difference in on the Power Play. Chicago could throw Chara in the slot and have him screen goalies on the Power Play. That would increase their Power Play percentage.
The biggest part of signing Chara that I like is the physical play he brings to the team. He gets in the heads of his opponents and isn’t afraid of anyone out there on the ice. The Hawks need that player, especially if they make the playoffs. They haven’t had a player like that since Dustin Byfuglien. It’s time that they fill that role again.
So, the choice is yours, Stan Bowman. If Chara is out in the market, seeing his price tag is worthwhile. A one or two-year deal for Chara is enough, as their younger players start to mature and get ready to take spots of aging veterans on defense.