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Chara, Bruins talk contract

Lyle Richardson
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Zdeno Chara, 33, scored 44 points for Boston last season. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Chara, Bruins talk contract

Lyle Richardson
By:

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara recently acknowledged contract talks with management were going well, but appeared to suggest a deal isn’t as close to completion as earlier stories reported.

Chara said he’d like to continue playing into his 40s, possibly up to age 45, and would be open to any kind of deal. But signing an 11-year contract that would take him into his mid-40s could be difficult to get done due to the new CBA provisions regarding long-term contracts in the wake of the Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco.

In calculating salary cap values, any long-term contract that extends past a player's 41st birthday will be valued and accounted for in two ways:

The compensation for all seasons that do not include or succeed the player's 41st birthday will be totaled and divided by the number of those seasons to determine the annual average value. In all subsequent seasons, the team's cap charge will be the actual compensation paid to the player in either that season or seasons.

For any long-term contract that averages more than $5.75 million for the three highest-compensation seasons, the salary cap value for any season in which the player is age 36, 37, 38, 39 and/or 40 shall be a minimum of $1 million.

The Bruins, who are already seeing the impact of being crushed against the cap ceiling, will certainly want to be careful about structuring a contract that could see a higher cap hit based on the new CBA rules.

ANOTHER RANGER ESTRANGER?

A recent report in the Ottawa Sun claimed New York Rangers center Todd White may be joining defenseman Wade Redden in the minors this season.

White, who was obtained in the summer from the Atlanta Thrashers (in a trade that rid the Blueshirts of Donald Brashear’s contract), struggled through training camp and mainly saw fourth line duty.

If he joins Redden in Hartford, the Rangers will have nearly $9 million in salary buried in the minors.

The Ottawa Sun reported some league executives aren’t happy with deep-pocketed teams like the Rangers burying their expensive mistakes in the minors. That, however, would be hollow grumbling. Every league executive knew such demotions were possible when this CBA was ratified five years ago and few, if any, raised complaints at the time.

THN.com’s John Grigg recently complimented Rangers GM Glen Sather for his ability to rid himself of expensive mistakes, but perhaps if Sather put a little more thought into his acquisitions he wouldn’t need to waste time trying to dump overpaid players when they fail to pan out.

WHIFFED ON WAIVERS

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray cleared waivers for the second time this past weekend, but Oilers GM Steve Tambellini hasn’t demoted the unhappy blueliner yet and continues to shop him around in hopes of making a trade.

Unfortunately for the Oil, it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen. A rumored swap last month of Souray for Columbus blueliner Mike Commodore appears to have come to naught, which leaves Tambellini little choice but to demote the expensive defenseman to Oklahoma City of the American League.

It’s believed the Oilers stand a better chance of ridding themselves of Souray by placing him on re-entry waivers, where interested clubs could pick him up for half his $5.4 million per season cap hit. But the Ottawa Sun quoted an NHL executive who claimed he wouldn’t touch Souray without seeing him in action first.

It’s a good point, since Souray has a lengthy injury history and missed much of last season due to a concussion and a broken hand. As the Sun article noted, picking up half of Souray’s salary ($2.7 million per for two seasons) is still an expensive proposition, so interested parties would want to ensure he’s healthy and back in playing form before taking a chance on him.

That means the Oilers may have to demote Souray to Oklahoma City, keep him there for a couple of weeks to allow interested teams to scout him in action, then attempt to place him on re-entry waivers if there’s sufficient interest to merit that move.

- with files from the Canadian Press

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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Chara, Bruins talk contract