The Washington Capitals signed 43-year-old Zdeno Chara on Wednesday, ending the 6-foot-9 defenseman’s 14-year spell with the Boston Bruins.
Chara signed a one-year, $795,000 deal with the Capitals, and he’ll face his former team eight times during the regular season. Chara has been one of the most physically imposing players in the NHL over his 22-year career.
He ranks third among active NHL players with 1,553 regular season games played, and he’s scored 205 goals and racked up 451 assists during stints with Boston, the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators. So far in his career, Chara has averaged over 23 minutes on the ice each game, and he’s known for his grittiness.
The Slovakian native played through a broken jaw during Games 5, 6 and 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. Chara is coming off a 2020 season in which he recorded 14 points in 68 games.
“We are extremely pleased to have Zdeno join the Capitals organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blueline and our team.”
Signing Chara gives Washington depth in defense this season, even after losing Michael Kempny, who underwent surgery to repair his Achilles tendon in October. The Capitals also signed Justin Schultz, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Paul LaDue during the offseason.
Chara thanked the Bruins — for whom he had served as captain since the 2006-07 season — in an Instagram post Wednesday.
“My family and I have been so fortunate to call the great city of Boston our home for over 14 years,” Chara’s post read. “Recently, The Boston Bruins have informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players and I respect their decision. Unfortunately, my time as the proud Captain of the Bruins has come to an end.
“… As I begin this next chapter, I want the people of Boston to know how proud I was to be a Bruin and how grateful I am for all of the support over the years. ‘Thank you’ does not seem adequate to express my sincere gratitude. I will always be a Bruin. I will always love Boston.”
Chara won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011. It remains to be seen where Chara will fit in Washington’s defensive pairings, but the lefty adds a combination of leadership and experience.
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