Chara agrees to contract with Islanders, will play 24th NHL season

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Zdeno Chara agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Islanders on Saturday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 44-year-old defenseman is the oldest player in the NHL and will enter his 24th season in the League. He scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and averaged 18:19 in ice time in 55 regular-season games with the Washington Capitals last season, and did not score a point in five games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Chara said May 25 that he planned to take time before deciding if he would play this season.

“Obviously, I think that it’s not always decision that I can make myself,” he said. “Sometimes there are things in life that you have to realize, and I have to, obviously, have those conversations with my wife and my children and see where we’re going to be in the next few days or weeks. After those conversations, I’m going to probably let those emotions settle in and see where I’m at.”

Selected by the Islanders in the third round (No. 56) of the 1996 NHL Draft, Chara has scored 666 points (207 goals, 459 assists) in 1,608 regular-season games with the Capitals, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and Islanders and ranks 13th all-time in games played.

Chara has scored 70 points (18 goals, 52 assists) in 200 playoff games and is one of 23 players to appear in at least that many games. He captained the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The winner of the Norris Trophy voted as best defenseman in the NHL in 2008-09, Chara ranks fifth among defensemen in NHL history in regular-season games, trailing Chris Chelios (1,651), Scott Stevens (1,635), Larry Murphy (1,615) and Ray Bourque (1,612).

Chara has made the NHL First All-Star Team three times (2003-04, 2008-09, 2013-14) and the Second All-Star Team four times (2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12).

The Islanders (32-17-7) finished fourth in the MassMutual East Division last season and lost in the Stanley Cup Semifinals in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

New York opens the regular season at the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 14.

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