Chara Returns To Long Island

Photo: NHL

By Allison Dawe

Chara is going back to where his pro hockey career started. He just inked a 1-year contract and seems excited to start his 24th season in the league with a new team. This signing is the fourth 1-year contract he has inked making the rumors fly about a possible retirement in the works. The Islanders drafted him in 1996 as a rookie so it seems fitting to go back to the team where it all began.

In a recent ESPN article by Greg Wyshinski, Zdeno talked about what he thinks of the deal you start to wonder if maybe he’s hinting the end of his career is near, “It’s kind of a full circle. Who would know this would work out the way it did?” Chara said Saturday. “I’m very honored and humbled to be an Islander again. The organization has been through some transitions over the last 20 years, but we can all see the progress and the positivity the team has.” If retirement is looming for Big Z what a career it’s been, but he doesn’t seem to be hanging them up anytime soon.

At age 44 last season Chara played in 55 games for the Capitals and tallied eight assists, and two goals. When asked about his future in the NHL it seems clear that as long ad teams are interested, he will continue to play, “I love the game. I have passion for the game, and I believe I can still play. That’s all you need,” what other answer would you expect from a league veteran.

His presence on defense will certainly be a boost for the Islanders, with a total of 207 career goals and 459 assists those are the numbers this team will certainly benefit from. Those stats combined with his dominating physical presence will absolutely make the Islanders a team to watch in the Eastern Conference.

This signing will pay off in big ways, there’s no question about that. One key thing to watch this season, speical teams. Not only will Chara be an added physical presence to the power play but the Islanders need him for the penalty kill. Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, Kyle Palmieri, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Zach Parise all bring their own skills to the power play unit, but with Chara it could absolutely be improved and this season we could see a very different power play. It’s time to see what Chara can do in a place where his NHL career began.

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September 29th, 2021


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