The Washington Capitals have signed defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year $795,000 contract. THN’s Ken Campbell was first to report the news:
I've been told that Zdeno Chara, shockingly, just signed with the Washington Capitals.— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) December 30, 2020
The official announcement from the Caps came 27 minutes later:
OFFICIAL! BIG Z TO DC!— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 30, 2020
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
Here is Washington’s full statement on the signing:
The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year, $795,000 contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
“We are extremely pleased to have Zdeno join the Capitals organization,” said MacLellan. “We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blueline and our team.”
Chara, 43, recorded 14 points (5g, 9a) in 68 games with the Boston Bruins last season. The Trencin, Slovakia, native registered 3:11 of penalty kill time per game to rank 11th in the NHL and help the Bruins to the third best penalty kill percentage last season (84.3). Chara also finished second among Bruins defensemen in blocked shots (101).
Prior to joining Washington, Chara was the longest-tenured captain in the league, having worn the “C” for the Bruins since his first season in Boston in 2006-07. Standing 6-foot-9 and weighing 250 pounds, he is also the tallest player to ever play in the NHL. Chara is entering his 23rd career season in the NHL. Among active NHL players, Chara ranks first in plus/minus (+288), time on ice (37,128:55), penalty minutes (1,956), third in games played (1,553) and ninth in shots (3,271). He is one of six Bruins to appear in at least 1,000 games (1,023), and his 481 points (148g, 333a) rank third among Bruins defensemen in franchise history, behind Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506) and Bobby Orr (888).
A Stanley Cup champion with Boston in 2011, Chara became the second European-born captain to win the Stanley Cup (Nicklas Lidstrom) and the first from a country behind the Iron Curtain (Czechoslovakia). Chara has recorded 70 points (18g, 52a) in 195 playoff games, the ninth-most playoff games by a defenseman in NHL history and the most among active defensemen.
Over his 22-year NHL career, Chara has received several individual accolades. He was awarded the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 2008-09 after recording a career-high 19 goals and 31 assists in 80 games with Boston. He was the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2010-11 for his exemplary leadership both on and off the ice. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team three times (2003-04, 2008-09, 2013-14), the Second All-Star Team four times (2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12) and is a six-time NHL All-Star (2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12). He was also the recipient of the Golden Puck as Slovakia’s Player of the Year three times (2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12).
Chara has represented his home country of Slovakia in international play on several occasions, including three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), in which he has scored one goal and five assists in 17 games. Most recently, Chara served as alternate captain for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, notching two goals in six games to help lead the team to a second-place finish to Team Canada.
Chara was originally selected by the New York Islanders in the third round (56th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
The Capitals now have nine defensemen on one-way contracts for this season: John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Justin Schultz, Brenden Dillon, Nick Jensen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Jonas Siegenthaler, Paul LaDue, and now Zdeno Chara.
Chara confirmed he was leaving Boston in a goodbye post on Instagram:
On Instagram, Zdeno Chara confirms he is leaving BOS pic.twitter.com/sY5Yz8WIeB— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 30, 2020
And on a fun note from the Post’s Samantha Pell:
Reminder: Capitals play the Bruins eight times this season— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) December 30, 2020
Welcome to Washington, Big Z!
This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.