Zdeno Chara would be an Awesome Addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs but there is no space for him
Surprisingly, Zdeno Chara is still available on the free agent market. You’d think that someone who’s given his all to the Boston Bruins, would be off the market by his longtime team by now. Of course it would be nice if the Toronto Maple Leafs could sign the legendary defenseman.
Yet, over a month into free agency, Chara still remains a free agent and is at large to sign with any team he pleases to. It might be crazy to imagine but what if Chara signed with a big time rival of the Bruins in the Leafs?
I personally think that it would be amazing to see Chara play in the blue and white. Despite being at the age of 43, he would be a great addition to the Leafs. He would bring his 6’9, 250 pound frame to the Leafs blueline that could use some toughness and a veteran presence.
While it could happen, there simply isn’t space for him on the roster.
Why can’t the Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Chara?
The Leafs made a flurry of moves during the offseason to improve the roster. To the blueline specifically, they added T.J. Brodie, and Zach Bogosian to help what was a weak defensive unit.
Brodie will provide the Leafs with a defenseman that’s more tempted to stay back and play defense rather than taking on an offensive role like his partner Morgan Rielly does. Meanwhile Bogosian will give the Leafs a player of grit and toughness who isn’t afraid to lay out a big hit or get into a scuffle when needed. While he’s nowhere near Chara’s size or height, he’s not afraid to take on bigger guys.
If the Leafs wanted Chara, they should have gone after him instead of Bogosian. The two defenseman are similar players with Chara being older and bigger. Another thing that comes into factor is the salary cap. The Leafs roster as currently constructed costs $81,174,325 but they are also on the hook for $1.2 million of Phil Kessel’s contract which puts them over the $81.5 million limit.
To bring in Chara, they will have to make a move or two to fit him within the cap, and the Leafs probably don’t see the upside in Chara to make such a move worthwhile.
Not only would they have to move Justin Holl but Chara would need to take less than the $2 million than he made last year. Also, it’s probably not in the best interests of the team to move a cheap right handed defenseman that they can control for one year of Chara.
In total, the Toronto Maple Leafs have seven defenseman who are expected to be on the opening night roster. Unless a defenseman was traded or injured, there’s no room for Chara on the bench.
The Leafs could go a very unusual route and carry eight defenseman but they are very unlikely to do that as this would cause them to send a forward down to the minors.
Chara would be a great addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not only would he fit with the team but they would steal him away from their longtime division rivals. Unfortunately, there’s simply no room for him on the team.