The Boston Bruins have signed defenseman Zdeno Chara as an unrestricted free agent, it was announced today by Bruins Interim General Manager Jeff Gorton. Chara was signed to a five-year contract and, in keeping with club policy, terms of the contract were not released.
“Zdeno is one of the premier defensemen in the National Hockey League and we are thrilled that he will be in a Boston uniform for the next five years,” said Gorton. “He is a big reason why Ottawa allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference last season and that is one area that we were committed to improving on our team. We also feel that he will serve as a tremendous example to the number of young defensemen we have on our roster.”
Chara, 29, will enter his ninth NHL season and Boston becomes his third NHL team. He was drafted by the NY Islanders as their third pick, 56th overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft out of his native Slovakia. He turned professional in 1997 following one season of junior hockey with Prince George of the Western Hockey League. He split his first two pro seasons between the NY Islanders and their AHL affiliates in Kentucky and Lowell, earning AHL All-Rookie Team honors with Kentucky in 1997-98, despite playing just 48 AHL games that season.
Chara is the NHL’s tallest player at 6’9”, and the 260 lb. native of Trencin, Slovakia played four seasons with the Islanders organization before he was traded to Ottawa with Bill Muckalt and New York’s 2001 first round draft pick (Jason Spezza, second overall) for Alexei Yashin on June 23, 2001. He has played the last four NHL seasons with the Senators and has scored ten-or-more goals in three of those seasons, recording career season-highs in goals and points last season with 16 goals and 43 points.
Chara was named a First Team NHL All-Star and a Norris Trophy finalist in 2003-04 and was named a Second Team All-Star and finished fourth in the Norris Trophy balloting in 2005-06. His career NHL totals are 57 goals and 118 assists for 175 points and 901 penalty minutes in 530 career games.