- Longtime Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has a signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins
- The news comes as a shock as Chara stated the Bruins told him they are moving forward without him
- Move adds depth to the Capitals defense, but not a major factor in the value of their 2021 futures
As we approach the Jan. 13 start to the NHL season, the hockey world witnessed a bombshell on Wednesday afternoon as one of the league’s most tenured and polarizing players will be wearing a new uniform this season.
Longtime Bruin Chara Signs with Capitals
As first reported by The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell, longtime Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has signed with the Washington Capitals.
The deal is for one year and worth $795K.
2020, right? #ALLCAPS | https://t.co/1Pqb61mP5q pic.twitter.com/aVcpZfQ7Xg
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 30, 2020
Needless to say, Chara’s tenure in Boston will go down in hockey lore in the New England area after he signed with the club prior to the 2006-07 season.
For the last 14 seasons, Chara has been the captain of the Big Bad Bruins, leading the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011. The hulking 6-foot-9 blueliner also hook home the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2009 when he tallied a career-best 19 goals while logging in excess of 26 minutes of ice time per game.
Across the 14 season with the Bruins, Chara appeared in 1,023 regular-season contests, tallying 481 points in the process. Not only was he the leader on the ice, but a ferocious leader off of it. His dedication to fitness has not only allowed him to play into his 40s, but the 2018-19 and 2014-15 seasons were the only ones during his 14-year tenure in which he missed more than nine games in a single season.
Prior to joining the Bruins, Chara spent the first four seasons of his NHL career with the New York Islanders before moving on to the Ottawa Senators where he played another four campaigns before hitting unrestricted free agency.
Across 1,553 career regular-season games, ‘Big Z’ has produced 656 points while adding an additional 70 points across 195 career post-season contests.
Told Not to Return
The shock of hearing Chara will lace em’ up with the Caps next season comes as a major surprise in itself. However, the fact that the Bruins made the decision for him adds another major wrinkle to the situation.
On his personal Instagram account, Chara stated that the Bruins informed him that they are going to be moving forward with a younger set of players, taking the decision out of the Future Hall of Famer’s hands in the process.
You just don’t see that very often. There’s little doubt that one day Chara will have his No. 33 lifted to the rafters at the TD Garden while he’ll enter the Hall of Fame as a Boston Bruin. Having the team tell him that they are not interested in bringing him back is a rarity given what he has meant to the Bruins and the Boston community over his decade and a half with the organization.
It also comes as a surprise considering Bruins general manager Don Sweeney had stated this offseason that he was waiting to reconnect with Chara’s representation as the league worked through their logistics for the 2020-21 season.
When asked for an update on Chara’s status, Sweeney has this to say:
“Nope. Status quo there,” he told NHL.com. “Waiting to reconnect with (agent) Matt [Keator] and Zdeno. [Chara] continues to evaluate what the landscape of the league looks like, and we’ll see where it goes. We’ve had constant communication, but hopefully we’ve got a target date (for this season) here at some point in time in the near future and we’ll see what the league determines.”
As it turns out, Sweeney’s Bruins eliminated the possibility of their longtime captain returning and will move forward with younger defensemen while power play quarterback Torey Krug will also play elsewhere next season after signing with the St. Louis Blues in free agency.
Caps’ Futures Value Unaffected
There’s little doubt that adding Chara is a solid addition to the Capitals’ blueline. Their offense is certainly the strong point of their roster, but adding a 6-foot-9 defender to their bottom pair can’t hurt.
Chara will play situationally this season and will certainly be utilized on the penalty kill. His massive, specialized stick will get in the way of plenty of pucks, even if his feet and offensive abilities are a shell of their former selves.
While it’s a fine and sensible addition, this move doesn’t affect the value of the Capitals’ 2021 futures. It’s absolutely awesome that Chara will now face his former club eight (8!!!) times this season within the war zone that will be the NHL’s East Division, but let’s not start hopping all over Capitals’ futures due to the unforeseen Chara signing.
Keep in mind that there is major pressure on 23-year-old sophomore goaltender Ilya Samsonov to take this team to the Promised Land. With the unfortunate news that veteran Henrik Lundqvist will miss the season and require open-heart surgery, the Caps signed Craig Anderson to a professional trout after the longtime Senator worked to a 3.25 GAA and .902 Sv% last season.
Should Anderson crack the squad, he’ll certainly be playing behind a superior defensive club, one that’s now added a quality bottom-pair defender in Chara, but there’s little doubt that the x-factor of the Capitals’ 2020-21 season is their goaltending and whether or not Samsonov will be up to the task. It’s difficult to see an NHL goaltender under more pressure to perform than the young Russian at this point.
At the end of the day, this news comes as a shock to the hockey world, so let’s start circling those Capitals vs. Bruins matchups on our 2021 calendars.