Zdeno Chara’s career will continue ... with the Washington Capitals.
After failing to reach an agreement to remain with the Boston Bruins, Chara will instead embark on his 23rd NHL campaign with a temporary divisional rival of the the team he’s captained for the last 14 seasons, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News was first to report.
The Capitals have since confirmed Campbell’s report, announcing that Chara will switch sweaters on a one-year deal close to the veteran minimum.
OFFICIAL! BIG Z TO DC!
The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year, $795,000 contract.
Full Details: https://t.co/1Pqb61mP5q#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/Ad50bX7LvA
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 30, 2020
It seemed as though Chara, who turns 44 in March, was waiting on the details to be finalized surrounding the NHL’s return to play before brokering an agreement to remain with the Bruins. But when days went by without the captain signing back on the dotted line in Boston, it raised questions about the Bruins’ desire to bring him back.
Chara’s farewell to Boston on Instagram confirmed that decision was made for him.
On Instagram, Zdeno Chara confirms he is leaving BOS pic.twitter.com/sY5Yz8WIeB
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 30, 2020
In Washington, Chara will be onboarded onto a deep blue line that already includes John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Brenden Dillon, Justin Schultz, Michael Kempny, Nick Jensen and Trevor van Riemsdyk.
Washington hasn’t completely slipped from the top of the division since winning its first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2018, but has seemed to take slight steps backward over the last two seasons. It’s an aging roster led by 35-year-old captain Alexander Ovechkin, and Chara will only contribute to one of the higher mean ages in the NHL.
But Washington remains one of the most talented groups on paper, and could benefit from the long layoff and the tweaks made to bolster the roster.
Chara’s Capitals — which may never sound right — will meet the Bruins at least eight times this season, with the possibility of more clashes in the division-strict 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.
In this one-off season, which has so many storylines already, Chara’s move to Washington is certainly among the more interesting.
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