Zdeno Chara is coming back to the team that originally drafted him as the New York Islanders announced the agreement on a one-year deal on Saturday.
The 44-year-old was drafted by the Islanders in 1996 and spent four seasons with the team before being traded to the Ottawa Senators in a deal that brought Alexei Yashin to New York in 2001.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 18, 2021
Chara would go on to become one of the best and most successful defensemen of a generation with Ottawa and the Boston Bruins, accruing six All-Star selections and the 2009 Norris Trophy winner. He also captained the Bruins to a Stanley Cup title in 2011.
Among active NHL players, Chara ranks first in plus/minus (+293) and second in games played (1,608). His 481 points with the Bruins (148 goals, 333 assists) rank third among defensemen in franchise team history, behind the legendary Ray Bourque (1,506) and Bobby Orr (888).
As a free agent last year, he signed a one-year pact with the Washington Capitals where he played in 55 of 56 games during the shortened season.
Back with the Islanders, Chara is expected to slot in the second defensive pairing alongside Scott Mayfield after the team traded away Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in order to find some salary-cap relief amid an offseason crunch.
It allows the first and third pairings of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, along with Noah Dobson and Andy Greene, to go untouched as the Islanders looked to continue under the reputation of having one of the best defenses in the NHL.