The Defense Rests: Long-Haulers Keith Yandle, Zdeno Chara, and PK Subban Retire From NHL

Photo: NHL via Getty Images

Tuesday marked the retirement of three long-time NHL defensemen: Keith Yandle, Zdeno Chara, and P.K Subban. It is a momentous occasion when a player makes it to the NHL. But no matter how great a player is, eventually, it comes time to retire for all players. Longevity in the league, however, is special.

Keith Yandle

 Photograph: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The first to announce his retirement was Keith Yandle. He made it official as part of the Spitting Chiclets’ podcast, Episode 407, on Monday. “I’m retiring from the game of hockey…Taking my talents to South Beach and doing nothing.”

Yandle, whom the Phoenix Coyotes drafted in 2005, played in the NHL from 2006-07 through 2021-22, with 2008-09 being his first full season in the NHL. He played with the Coyotes through the 2014-15 trade deadline, when he was traded to the New York Rangers.

Yandle remained with the Rangers through 2015-16 when, as an impending free agent, he was traded to the Florida Panthers where he then signed a 7-year contract. He remained with the Panthers through the 2020-21 season, after which the Panthers bought-out the remainder of his contract. He then signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for 2021-22, his last year in the NHL.

Yandle played in 989 consecutive regular-season games – from March 26, 2009, through March 29, 2022, which is now the NHL ironman record. On January 25, 2922, he broke the ironman record previously held by Doug Jarvis at 964. Yandle’s ironman streak will likely fall early in the 2022-23 season, however, as Vegas Golden Knights forward Phil Kessel has played in 982 straight games.

Yandle’s career high in goals occurred in 2009-10 when he was Phoenix. His career high in points was in 2018-19 with Florida. His final statistics were 1109 Games Played, 103 goals, 516 assists, and 619 points. He played in three All-Star games.

Yandle attended high school at Cushing Academy where he was a teammate of former Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears forward, Chris Bourque who was one of his closest friends. Zach Bogosian, another former NHL player, was a freshman at Cushing Academy when Yandle was a senior.

NHL: Jarvis Fortunate to Set NHL Iron Man Record: Excited About Yandle Passing Him

Zdeno Chara

The second defenseman to announce his retirement was Zdeno Chara. He announced it on his Instagram account on Tuesday morning.

“After 25 seasons of professional hockey 1,680 NHL regular season games, 200 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and hundreds of international games I am proud to announce my decision to retire from the National Hockey League. In doing so, I am honored to return to TD Garden today to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and officially finish my career with the team that has meant so much to me and my family. There are so many people that have helped contribute to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to properly thanking everyone this afternoon.”

As promised, he held his retirement press conference at TD Garden.

“I am so grateful for everyone’s help, support, and love for the past 25 years. It wouldn’t be possible without you. THANK YOU!”

Chara, whom the New York Islanders drafted in 1996, played in the NHL from 1997-98 through 2021-22. He played in 1680 NHL games which ranks first among defensemen. He broke the record for games played by a defenseman on February 25, 2022, breaking the previous record of 1652 games, held by Chris Chelios.

Chara played the vast majority of his career with the Boston Bruins, from 2006-07 through 2019-20, serving as their Captain for his entire tenure with the team. He also played with the New York Islanders, the Ottawa Senators, and the Washington Capitals, playing with the Caps during 2020-21.

During his career, he won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2010-11 and making to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Bruins on two other occasions. He won the Norris Trophy for Best Defenseman for the 2008-09 season.

P.K Subban

The last of the defensemen to retire on Tuesday was P.K Subban, approximately an hour after Chara made his announcement.

He announced his retirement on Instagram, saying:

“I remember my dreams of playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup, similar to the guys on the Don Cherry Rock’em Sock’em tapes at the end of every volume, with the black eyes, broken bones, and tears of joy. To this day, I still dream about it.

“However, the end of this chapter is closing and after 13 years in the NHL, I have made the decision to retire.

“I never looked at myself or ever felt I was ‘just a hockey player.’ I always looked at myself as a person who happened to play hockey.  Having that perspective allowed me to enjoy every shift like it was my last, celebrate every goal with emotion, and play every game as if someone paid to watch me play who had never seen me play before.

“…To an amazing league that gave me the opportunity to compete at the highest level with some of the best athletes in the world. The NHL also provided me with a platform that allowed me to give back thru my charities. A sincere thank you to the many players that I either played with or competed against who brought out the best in me. A heartfelt appreciation to the Montreal Canadians, Nashville Predators, and New Jersey Devils for each representing organizations with class and integrity….”

The Montreal Canadiens drafted Subban in 2007.  He played in the NHL from 2009-10 through 2021-22. He played for the Canadiens, the Nashville Predators, and the New Jersey Devils.

Subban played in 834 games, scored 115 goals, and had 352 assists. He won the Norris Trophy for the 2012-13 season. He won the King Clancy Trophy in 2021-22. During his career, he participated in numerous charitable endeavors.


The NHL bids a fond farewell to three very accomplished defensemen and wishes good luck to all three of them in their post-NHL endeavors.

Further Reading
NHL: Yandle, Chara, P.K Subban Announce Retirements on Same Day
Zdeno Chara Announces Retirement

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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1 Response to The Defense Rests: Long-Haulers Keith Yandle, Zdeno Chara, and PK Subban Retire From NHL

  1. Anonymous says:

    A lot of experience hanging up the skates. Please enjoy retirement, gents.

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