Photo: NBC Sports
The Washington Capitals announced on Wednesday that they have signed unrestricted free-agent defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year contract worth $795,000.
The Capitals have agreed to terms with Zdeno Chara. In 1,553 career regular season games with the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators – the sixth-most games in NHL history among defensemen – Chara has 656 points (205g, 451a). pic.twitter.com/GHYUGC6CYq
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 30, 2020
The 43-year-old is a left-handed shot. He recorded five goals, 14 points, a +26 rating, a 46.79% Corsi-for percentage, and a 48.46% expected goals-for percentage in 68 regular-season games with the Boston Bruins last season. Chara was also 31st in the NHL last season with 60 penalty minutes. He tallied 78 hits, 101 blocked shots (second among Bruins defensemen), 26 takeaways, and 52 giveaways in 2019-20.
According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, nearly 20 teams recently called Chara’s agent to inquire about his availability.
In 1,553 career regular-season games with the Bruins, New York Islanders, and Ottawa Senators, Chara has recorded 205 goals, 656 points, and a +288 rating. He was selected with the 56th overall pick by the Islanders in the 1996 NHL Draft. In 195 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Chara has recorded 18 goals, 70 points, and a +48 rating. He tallied two goals, nine points, and a +16 rating in 24 games during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2011. He was the captain of that team.
Chara will likely become the 11th player in NHL history to play a game in at least 23 different seasons.
Chara recorded three goals, 15 points, and a +7 rating in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2013, where the Bruins fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final. He posted two goals, six points, a +11 rating in 23 games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Bruins fell to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.
Kept this in my phone. Live audio of Chara being introduced as a starter in Game 5 of 2019 Cup Final. He had broken his jaw in Game 4. pic.twitter.com/bipK2vHSCP
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 30, 2020
Chara won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2008-09 and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2010-2011.
It is unknown where Chara will slot in the lineup with Brenden Dillon, Dmitry Orlov, and Jonas Siegenthaler all projected to be the Capitals’ three left-handed defensemen on the roster before the signing and prospect Martin Fehervary knocking on the door.
Chara averaged 21:01 worth of ice-time per game last season, including a Bruins-high 3:11 on the penalty kill. The Capitals ranked sixth with an 82.6% penalty-killing rate last season.
Chara owns the NHL-record for the hardest shot (108.8 miles-per-hour), which was set in 2012. He has played in the NHL All-Star Game six times.
Zdeno Chara, signing 1x$0.7M with Washington(!?), can still play. He may not be the elite two-way force he used to be but his defensive play has remained strong in the past few seasons. That being said, the playoffs did not go well for him and he’s 43. Will be interesting. pic.twitter.com/fcxIvAdPt6
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) December 30, 2020
After averaging 3.44 goals-against per game from December 23 on (the second-highest in the NHL), the Capitals have now signed four defensemen in free agency: Chara, Justin Schultz, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Paul LaDue. The other three are right-handed. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist announced on December 17 that he will not play this season due to a heart condition, so the Capitals could enter this season with first-year starter Ilya Samsonov and a rookie backup. They signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a PTO on Sunday.
Chara contract has $730K in bonuses: $230,000 for 10 games; $250,000 for playoffs; $250,000 if WASH wins Cup
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 31, 2020
The Capitals now have $1,4405,123 left in cap space with a need for a back-up goaltender.
Chara will return to Boston for the first time after 14 seasons with the organization on Wednesday, March 3 when the Capitals visit TD Garden.
On Instagram, Zdeno Chara confirms he is leaving BOS pic.twitter.com/sY5Yz8WIeB
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 30, 2020
By Harrison Brown
Welcome, Big Z!
This makes no sense. Chara never was the fastest out there, and at his age he’s gotta rely on the poke check now more than ever. I’m sure he can still contribute for a team in need, but I this isn’t that team.
and we already have the poke check king(74).
He will be a good mentor to young blueliners, but you’re right, this is a bit of a head scratcher.
I’m excited but it doesn’t make sense. Didn’t cost anything so.
This is one of the dumbest(& he’s made so many in last 2 years!) by your GM,I still say BM has to have “bribe photos” of owner with another woman or animal!?!,because I don’t know how he’s kept his job over last year & 1/2! Chara hasn’t been effective NHL’er for @ least 5 years. And that’s coming from a Bruins fan! Your GM is slowly becoming Joe Magrath from Slapshot….”every piece of crap that comes to market & you got to sign him!” I’ll give it a month before fans are going to see how useless he is…. Chara!
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