As per his agent Matt Keator, Zdeno Chara is not ready to make a decision about what comes next in his NHL playing career. Kaetor told Matt Porter of the Boston Globe that the veteran intends to take his time before deciding if he intends to return for another season.
According to his agent, “He’s going to take the summer with his family and assess where he’s at physically, where his family’s at, and make a decision in September. No rush.” Chara signed with the New York Islanders last season in the hopes he could get back to the postseason and close his career out on a high note. The Islanders were one of the NHL’s better teams in 2020-21, but they failed to play anything resembling solid hockey for most of the 2021-22 season. If Chara chooses to return, it’s not clear if the Islanders would be the team he looks at, or tries to sign elsewhere.
Zdeno Chara signs with New York Islanders
Chara, 45, just completed his 24th NHL season.,He played in 72 games this past season, recording 14 points while adding 125 hits and 90 blocked shots. His ice time was still fairly high (18:44 per game) considering his age, so there is reason to believe he could be seriously contemplating one more run. For a team looking to compete, he’d make a solid depth signing at the league minimum plus bonuses.
There’s no rush for him to sign either. He’s the type of player who will be welcomed by many teams in the later days of free agency and most organizations will have the room to add him should he choose to return. It’s simply a matter of seeing what other teams do, where his best chances are and finding the right situation. Sure, there will be teams who pass on him, but there will also be teams that welcome his veteran leadership and experience to the roster.