It turns out that the Bruins trip to Europe has been good for business. After locking up Patrice Bergeron for three more years with a contract extension, the Bruins announced today that they have extended the contract of captain Zdeno Chara as well according to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe.
This was a homecoming for Zdeno Chara. Turns out, it was a very lucrative return to the city where Big Z really got his hockey career started as a teenager, playing for Sparta Praha in the spring of ’96.
Chara, the 33-year-old Bruins’ captain, in the next few hours will finalize a long-term contract extension with the Bruins, one that is believed to expire on or about his 40th birthday.
Contract terms have not been released by the Bruins, but based on a conversation just minutes ago with his Wellesley-based agent, Matt Keator, Chara today will ink a six- or seven-year deal that probably will bring him slightly less than his existing deal, which this season will pay him $7.5 million.
As it turns out, the details of the contract are for seven years at $45.5 million. With extensions for both Chara and Bergeron worked out the effect is two-fold as it removes that potential distraction later in the year when both of their current deals would be winding down and it eliminates the possibility of the Bruins losing either or both of them in the off-season.
Thanks to the new Kovalchuk rule regarding contracts, Chara’s cap hit is a little different as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets.
The cap hit on Chara will be $6.917M in the first six years of the deal
and $4 million in final season. New Kovalchuk rule applies.
This also puts the Bruins in a position of knowing exactly where they’ll stand in regard to adding players next season. Their other soon-to-be unrestricted free agents in Michael Ryder, Mark Stuart, and Marco Sturm don’t seem like likely candidates to be brought back in the future, but at the very least the Bruins know how much money they’ll have to deal with them and others in the off-season.
For the Bruins, locking up two of their key players, especially Chara, is important because they’re guys that have served the organization well and to get the business side of hockey cleared before the Bruins take the ice today in Prague against the Coyotes makes a ton of sense. Of course, we’ll see how good Chara’s contract looks in the last year or two when he’s 39 and 40 years-old. At least they avoided having it be a 35+ contract like what they’ve got with goalie Tim Thomas.