Chara agrees to join Capitals, leaves Bruins after 14 seasons

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Zdeno Chara agreed to a one-year, $795,000 contract with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old defenseman, the oldest player in the NHL, was an unrestricted free agent after playing 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins and serving as their captain since Oct. 3, 2006. Chara scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 68 games last season and had two assists in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

“My family and I have been so fortunate to call the great city of Boston our home for over 14 years,” Chara wrote on Instagram. “Recently, the Boston Bruins have informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players and I respect their decision. Unfortunately, my time as the proud captain of the Bruins has come to an end.”

Chara has played 22 NHL seasons and helped Boston win the Stanley Cup in 2011. He was the longest-tenured captain in the NHL.

He won the Norris Trophy voted as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2008-09 and has been selected to play in five NHL All-Star Games. Chara has been named an NHL First Team All-Star three times and Second Team All-Star four times. In 2010-11, he won the Mark Messier Leadership Award for qualities on and off the ice.

“We are extremely pleased to have Zdeno join the Capitals organization,” Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blueline and our team.”

Chara is sixth in Bruins history in games (1,023) and third in points by a defenseman (481) behind Ray Bourque (1,506) and Bobby Orr (888).

Selected by the New York Islanders in the third round (No. 56) of the 1996 NHL Draft, Chara has scored 656 points (205 goals, 451 assists) in 1,553 NHL games with the Bruins, Islanders and Ottawa Senators, and 70 points (18 goals, 52 assists) in 195 playoff games.

“As I begin this next chapter, I want the people of Boston to know how proud I was to be a Bruin and how grateful I am for all of the support over the years,” Chara wrote. “‘Thank you’ does not seem adequate to express my sincere gratitude. I will always be a Bruin. I will always love Boston.”

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