Longtime Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signed with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, a stunning move less than a week before most NHL teams open training camp.
Chara agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $795,000.
The 43-year-old defenseman posted on Instagram that the Bruins have decided to move forward with younger players. He had been Boston’s captain since 2006 and was the second European captain to win the Stanley Cup.
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“We are extremely pleased to have Zdeno join the Capitals organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blue line and our team.”
The 6-foot-9 Chara is a seven-time All-Star who won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2009. He led the Bruins to the Cup in 2011 and trips to the final in 2013 and 2019.
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Chara and his camp had been in talks with the Bruins since before free agency opened in October. It seemed likely the native of Slovakia would return to Boston unless he decided to retire.
Instead, he starts a new chapter uniting with Alex Ovechkin as each star looks to win the Cup for a second time.