The Boston Bruins have signed Zdeno Chara to a one-year contract extension. With the way he has been playing this season Chara made this an easy decision for the Bruins. Among active National Hockey League players, Chara ranks fifth in games played (1,418), third in plus/minus (plus-244), first in penalty minutes (1,837), tied for second in shorthanded points (35), 11 in shots (3,073), first in time on ice (34,367:29) and 10 in hits (2,150).
The 41-year-old captain of the Bruins will return for his 13th season with the club since joining them via free agency in 2006. That's going to be even more important as he helps shepherd a young core that already has legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations in a window that looks like it's beginning to open - even if Chara's is starting to close.
More than his offensive contributions, though, Chara has stood out for his play on the Bruins' penalty kill. He also ranks eighth among active players in postseason games played (147), second in postseason plus/minus (plus-34), second in postseason penalty minutes (188), eighth in postseason hits (361) and first in postseason time on ice (3,966:08). That it came along with a raise isn't exactly surprising, either. That's a whole career for some players. If Chara plays well enough to reach those incentives, the Bruins gladly will take that.
Chara, who was able to become a UFA on July 1, is a critical piece to next years version of the Bruins. If he continues to perform at a high level, and continues to have the desire and willingness to continue his career, Boston will likely keep him in town on a series of one-year extensions until one, either or both decide the time has come for him to skate into the sunset. Despite a recent injury, Chara has proved himself to still be a top-four defenseman on a very good team.
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