OFFICIAL! BIG Z TO DC!
The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year, $795,000 contract.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 30, 2020
Zdeno Chara Signs With Washington Capitals
As per the last few offseasons, speculation of Chara retiring has been shut down. From the moment the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated Chara and the Bruins from the 2019–20 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Slovakian native made it clear he wanted to return. In his season-ending press conference, Chara told the media he wanted to stay in Boston and continue to lead the team he joined 14 years ago as a free agent. After all those years in Boston, Chara has developed into one of the NHL’s most iconic players and a sure Hall of Famer.
In 1,023 games with Boston, Chara has 148 goals and 333 assists for 481 points, as well as 1,055 penalty minutes. Chara won his first and only Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 in a playoff run that saw Big Zee post a postseason-best +16 plus-minus differential. Chara has averaged over 25 minutes per game with Boston and has been a cornerstone of their decade-plus of success. He is a six-time Norris Trophy finalist, winning the trophy in 2009.
Prior to joining the Bruins, Chara spent four years both with the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. His 22-year career is tied for the most among active NHL players, and his 1,553 career games played is third among active players. Chara’s also suited up for 195 playoff games, 150 coming with Boston. In total, the 1996 third-round pick 205 goals and 451 assists.
What this Means for the Future
Chara’s offensive numbers have seen a steady decline despite the 6’9 defenceman still averaging over 20 minutes of ice per game. In 2019–2020 Chara posted five goals and nine assists, which was tied for his lowest point total in 20 years. Chara’s 21:01 average ice time last season was also his lowest average since his rookie year. As Chara’s contributions on the ice lessened, he’s still an invaluable player in terms of leadership.
Chara has captained Boston since 2006 and has an illustrious career of an individual and team success. With youngsters Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton looking to become regulars in Boston’s lineup, Chara can continue to teach them the ropes of becoming the best defenceman possible, all while contributing to the team himself. It’s good to see Chara still giving it another shot with the Capitals.