One of the most recognizable figures in the sport is coming back for at least one more year.
There was plenty of speculation this summer regarding what the future would hold for defenseman Zdeno Chara after a short stint with the Washington Capitals, and we now finally have a definitive answer for you.
According to a breaking news report from former National Hockey League player Kevin Weekes, Zdeno Chara is going back to where it all started for him, Long Island. Weekes reported on Saturday morning that the big man had signed a one year deal with the Islanders, the franchise that drafted him into the NHL all the way back in 1996.
Although most modern day fans of the National Hockey League will best remember Chara as the long time captain of the Boston Bruins, a period in which he achieved the greatest success of his NHL career, his formative years came long before the Bruins ever got their hands on him. After being drafted by the Islanders, Chara would spend 4 seasons with that team prior to being shipped off to Ottawa in a trade that saw infamous forward Alexei Yashin going back the other way. Chara would then spend 4 seasons with the Ottawa Senators before eventually making his way to Boston where he played the majority of his NHL career thus far.
Of course in his most recent season Chara opted to sign with the Washington Capitals, and although his time there was relatively short lived you would be hard pressed to argue that he didn't provide value for the contract he was given. In 55 games last season Chara had 2 goals and 8 assists for 10 points, and he finished the season with a plus minus rating of +5. When you consider that Chara came in at a cap hit of just $1.525 million for the Capitals last season, that's a pretty solid investment.
I suspect that Chara's contract with the Islanders will look similar to the one he signed with the Capitals, a low base salary with a number of bonus incentives attached to it, but we don't have the full details on the contract just yet. We will bring those to you as soon as they become available.
It is worth noting here that Chara currently sits at 5th all time for NHL games played among defensemen with 1608 games under his belt. The men currently in front of him are Ray Bourque(1612), Larry Murphy(1615), Scott Stevens(1635) and Chris Chelios(1651). A full season could see Chara surge past all of the aforementioned players here and would make him the all time leader for games played by an NHL defenseman.