Zdeno Chara announced Tuesday that he will sign a one-day contract with the Bruins and retire from the NHL after 24 seasons, 14 of them in Boston.
The 6-foot-9 defenseman from Slovakia entered the league as a third-round draft pick of the New York Islanders in 1996. Now 45, he exits as the record-holder for most games played by a defenseman (1,680), with 680 points (209 goals, 471 assists) and a plus-301 rating in his career with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Bruins and Washington Capitals.
"After 25 seasons of professional hockey 1,680 NHL regular season games, 200 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and hundreds of international games I am proud to announce my decision to retire from the National Hockey League," Chara posted to Instagram on Tuesday. "In doing so, I am honored to return to TD Garden today to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and officially finish my career with the team that has meant so much to me and my family. There are so many people that have helped contribute to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to properly thanking everyone this afternoon."
After four seasons with the Islanders and four with the Senators, Chara signed a five-year contract with the Bruins on July 1, 2006, and assumed the captaincy in his first season.
In the 2008-09 season, he won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman when he scored a career-high 19 goals. Two years later, he helped the Bruins win their only Stanley Cup in the past 50 years.
"Zdeno, your arrival in Boston kickstarted an era to remember," the Bruins tweeted. "Your unparalleled leadership, commitment, and character shaped a culture that will carry on. Thank you for everything you have done for our team, our organization, our city, and our game."
Chara is sixth in team history in games played (1,023) and third in points by a defenseman (481) behind Hall of Fame members Ray Bourque (1,506) and Bobby Orr (888).
He spent his final season with the Islanders, scoring 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 72 games.
--Field Level Media