The Zdeno Chara era has officially ended as Chara was informed by the Bruins that they were moving forward with their young defensive core. Chara announced his departure on his Instagram after 14 years donning the spoked B and the big C on the left shoulder of his sweater.
Chara has decided to move on and signed a one-year $795,000 deal with the Washington Capitals. The Caps will be his fourth team in his career as he will be playing in his 23rd NHL Season.
Chara was a constant figure here in Boston ever since he signed as a free agent in 2006 and was named captain of the Boston Bruins when he signed as well. That began a run that we got accustomed to here in Boston sports. Players making a name for themselves and becoming stars and winning championships. Chara certainly made due on his promise as he helped the Bruins bring home the Stanley Cup in 2011. The true test of grit was when Chara continued to play in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final despite the fact he took a puck to the face in Game 4 of that series, yet he finished out the series with a broken jaw.
In Chara's 14 seasons with the Bruins; Chara played in 1,023 games, scoring 138 goals, 333 assists which added up to a total of 481 points in his tenure with the Bruins. Chara was always reliable while on the ice has he managed a +/- of 238 in his 14 years with the B's.
Chara's signing with the Capitals makes him the sixth Boston star to depart over the course of the last year. Mookie Betts got traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February. Tom Brady left the Patriots after 20 years via free agency and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement, requested a trade, and was sent to the Buccaneers as well. In October, Torey Krug signed a seven-year deal with the St. Louis Blues and that ended his tenure with the Bruins. Let's not forget about Gordon Hayward who agreed to a sign and trade to the Charlotte Hornets, after initially signed with the Hornets days prior as an unrestricted free agent.
Fair to say that it has been a rough 2020. Not only are we dealing with a global health crisis, but Boston Sports had to say farewell to some fan favorites along the way.
Many Bruins fans were hoping that the B's would bring back the giant defenseman for his veteran leadership and just his overall presence that he brought to the locker room. Most likely Patricie Bergeron will become the next captain of the Boston Bruins when the B's open up the 2020-21 season on January 14th against the New Jersey Devils.
Bergeron is completely capable of leading this team as he will have the assistance of the home grown players of David Krecji and Brad Marchand as his alternates. But those three guys have huge shoes to fill with Chara's departure leadership wise. If those three are able to rally the troops and continue to march on and be the highly completive Bruins team that we have come to know and love, chances are, the B's will be just fine.
The Bruins are in a realigned division with the Washington Capitals this season where they will face their former captain eight times over the course of three months and potentially a best of seven playoff series.
The Bruins must rely on their young defensive core and Charlie McAvoy must become the leader that the Bruins are going to need him to be. After being linemates with Chara the last three seasons, it should be an easy transition for Charlie, but huge shoes to fill himself also to be the number one defenseman that the Bruins will have to rely on.
From all of us here at SFBNRI, we thank Zdeno Chara for 14 years of memories and wish him luck with the Washington Capitals this season.
It's another end of an era for yet another Boston athlete.