The Islanders have officially brought back veteran Zdeno Chara to a one-year, undisclosed contract. Chara was drafted by the Islanders over 25 years ago in 1996. Unfortunately due to poor management by former Isles GM Mike Milbury, Chara was traded in 2001 to the Ottawa Senators along with Bill Muckalt along with 2001 1st-round pick (ended up being Jason Spezza) for Alexei Yashin.
Since leaving the Islanders, Chara has won the 2009 Norris Trophy, the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2011, as well as the 2011 Stanley Cup. Big Z also has 7 all-star appearances under his belt. Chara is one of the most experienced active NHL players, he has played in 1,608 NHL games across 23 seasons. He was named as the captain of the Boston Bruins back in 2006 and remained captain of the B’s until he signed with the Washington Capitals in December 2020.
Chara is a huge presence on the ice (literally), he stands at 6’9” 250 lbs. and has an absolute missile of a shot. He holds the record for hardest shot at the All-Star Skills Competition (108.8 mph, in 2012). Chara is the tallest player in NHL history, the closest being another former Islander Joe Finley who stands at 6’8”.
Zdeno Chara is a determined and hardworking player, he is currently the oldest active NHLer, he will turn 45 before the end of the 2021-22 season. Big Z was drafted before Barzal, Beauvillier, Bellows, Wahlstrom, and Dobson were even born, so crazy! Chara led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. He broke his jaw during Game 4 after taking a puck to the face and played through that injury, although his jaw was wired shut.
Thrilled to have Chara back in the blue in orange after over 20 years. It does raise the question about how the Islander continue to get older and older, but I think those questions won't matter much if the Isles are able to play like they did last season.