Zdeno Chara has been a staple on blue lines for 24 seasons — and he isn’t done yet.
On Thursday, Chara skated in his 1,652nd career NHL game, passing Chris Chelios for the league’s all-time mark for a defenseman. He’s currently tied with Mark Recchi for the seventh-most played at any position.
Chara reached the milestone with the team that drafted him back in 1996, but with the Islanders 18 points out of a playoff spot, he could be on the move.
Even without a no-trade clause, Chara is expected to be dealt to a destination of his choice by Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello. The 44-year-old’s physicality and experience could provide essential depth for any contender’s Cup run.
- At 6’9”, Chara is the tallest player in NHL history.
- He is still playing a crucial role on New York’s 11th-ranked penalty kill, averaging 1:30 per game with the unit.
- As captain of the Bruins, the Slovak defenseman won the 2009 Norris Trophy and the 2011 Stanley Cup.
His veteran-minimum cap hit of $750,000 should be attractive to virtually any trade partner. His contract also has an additional $750,000 in performance-based incentives, but that won’t count toward the cap.
His legendary toughness would be another bonus: Thursday’s scrap with rookie Jeffrey Viel made Chara the oldest player in NHL history to receive a major penalty for fighting.