There’s the people who say 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 40 and 80 is the new 40 and so on and so on. Pretty much, they all relate to 40 and aging because humans have a longer life span than they did 100 years ago. That said, Zdeno Chara is 40 which leaves a lot of questions: what is 40 these days.
Well, Chara is the oldest player on the Bruins. He’s slightly younger than Matt Cullen, so he is not the oldest player in the NHL yet. The point still stands: he was a veteran when he came to Boston and he has been in Boston for a very long time: 2006, to be exact. He’s also been in the league since the 1997-1998 NHL season. Two decades in the league. Not bad.
Even so, he still plays big minutes for the Bruins. Last year, he had 23:20 per game in 75 games for the Bruins last year because they lack defensive depth. If we’re being honest though, that’s a bit much for a guy that old. In recent years, his production has dropped. I think we can all agree he has slowed down considerably since the Bruins got him and that’s not a shot at him. That’s what happens when a player ages. The fact that he is able to play as much as he does still is impressive in itself.
Chara had a little media session recently and despite his age, he said he wants to continue his career past this season. Interesting.
Chara is in the final year of his seven-year $45 million contract. The Bruins are lucky. It was a front-loaded contract, so he is only a $4 million hit this season, so it could definitely be worse than it is. It might be tough for him to get another $4 million contract after this year because of his age and dropping production but if he is healthy, productive and really wants to keep playing the game after this year, then the Bruins will have some leverage over him. Why? Because a 41-year-old on the open market isn’t a great position to be in. Doubt he’ll get many offers. Regardless, the Bruins could sign him back and their fans would be stoked.