It’s Wednesday, which means we’re half way through the week AND it’s time for us to ask the lovely people of Leafs Nation WHAT WOULD YOU DO??!!
This week, we have a little tidbit about the Boston Bruins shoved into Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts. Specifically, he says that talks around the team’s future Hall of Fame defenceman Zdeno Chara are going to heat up if the team continues to struggle.
A couple years ago, the Kings and Sharks inquired about Chara’s services, but the Bruins decided not to pull the trigger. Last summer, Friedman reports that other teams got into the mix, and the Leafs might have been one of them. He says not to run crazy with it, but hell, let’s do the exact opposite and make a mountain out of this molehill.
As we all know, the Leafs blueline is… less than stellar. I mean, it isn’t terrible, and the defenders do some things quite well. For example, they move the puck nicely and serve as excellent catalysts for the team’s potent offensive attack. But when it comes to actually defending? The Leafs are below average. And that could become a problem, especially down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Zdeno Chara is old. He’s currently 40 years old and will be 41 in March. But he’s also not a human. He’s literally some kind of robot that can still log more than 20 minutes a night against top competition. He isn’t the same dominant force he once was, but Chara is still good, particularly in the defensive zone. The biggest thing he’s lost, obviously, is mobility, but he’s still huge, tough, and smart. He makes life a goddamn nightmare in the offensive zone for opposing forwards as they try to gain position in front of the net or battle down low against the boards.
Last season, Chara logged just over 23 minutes a game alongside a fresh-faced rookie named Brandon Carlo who, at times, looked totally lost on the ice. Despite dragging around some kid half his age while making heavy defensive zone starts against the other team’s best players, Chara still managed a positive goal and shot differential. So far through a handful of games this season, it’s been more of the same. Chara has continued to play solid hockey and can clearly still contribute even at his ripe age.
So what would you do?
Would you be bolting up the stairs to get Don Sweeney on the phone, trying to acquire the legendary Zdeno Chara? I mean, it would obviously be an upgrade on the blueline, but he is old as time itself and could tucker out down the stretch. But it would also be pretty damn hilarious to see an Ottawa Senators (lol remember when they let him walk to sign Wade Redden?!) and Boston Bruins legend play for the Leafs, especially on a deep playoff run.
If you aren’t interested in Chara, what other defensive upgrades should the Leafs target?