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Is Chara's Deal Worthwhile?

Is signing Zdeno Chara through age 41 a smart move for the Bruins, or was it a move to keep their captain happy?

Phunwin of SBNation’s Stanley Cup of Chowder analyzes in depth Chara’s seven-year contract extension, which the team announced on Saturday. While the Bruins do save money against the salary cap, will an older Chara still be an effective member of the Bruins blue line?

Says Phunwin:

“Is a cap hit just a shade under $7M for a 39 year old defenseman something the Bruins will regret in a few years? Will we turn into carbon copies of Islander fans, who are scratching the days on the wall like Edmond Dantes in his prison cell, until Rick DiPietro’s contract expires?”

Chara’s status as a defender may end up helping his quest to play into his forties, continues the post, because more defenders are playing into their later thirties and forties. Even if Chara’s skills diminish with age, says Phunwin, he still should be a useful contributor to the Bruins on defense, though his offensive skills may decline:

“Size and strength will age much more gracefully than speed and quickness, for example. A defenseman can counter declining speed with good positioning, something that’s much harder for a forward to do, since he will constantly be attacking the opposing zone. Positioning is a function of hockey sense, and should therefore not decline at all with age.”