The Boston Bruins took care of some business Saturday when the signed captain Zdeno Chara to a one-year contract extension worth $2 million. The contract also includes an additional $1.75 million in performance-based incentives.
This deal makes a lot of sense for both sides. For the Bruins, this ensures that they can keep their core together for at least one more season with Chara still playing a crucial role for the team on and off the ice. The Bruins have leaders on their roster but few teams around the league can boast a player like Chara who simply understands what it takes to lead regardless of age, experience or ability.
For Chara, this deal comes in with a respectable $2 million base salary. While this is a team-friendly deal for the Bruins, it also leaves room for Chara to nearly double his actual earnings if he can hit every single performance incentive.
While it may seem like Chara earning those incentives would be a bad thing for the Bruins, it would actually be the opposite. If Chara does reach these performance incentives, it will have meant that he still played at the level that he’s currently playing at despite being 42 years old.
Chara is a Bruins Mainstay
It’s really not common in professional sports, and especially not hockey, that players sign new deals at 42 years old. It’s even less common when considering the fact that Chara isn’t just a depth piece on a middle-of-the-pack team, but a top-pairing player on a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
The Bruins sit in second place in the NHL standings at the time of this signing and are primed to make a deep playoff run despite dealing with a number of injuries during the 2018-19 season. Chara was no exception to that injury bug and his absence was felt in a major way. The team has managed to pull through, however, and Chara has been a big part of their success.
Chara may not be producing points at the same rate he once did but he still has four goals and 11 points in 55 games this season while playing primarily a shutdown role for the team. One of the most irreplaceable players on the roster, the 6-foot-9 rearguard has earned his keep in Boston and is sticking in the fold for the near future.
In his 1,478-game NHL career, Chara has scored 199 goals and 639 points. He’s second only to Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens in terms of goals-scored by an active blue-liner (202) and ranks second in points to only Brent Burns (643).
It isn’t every day that a big free agency signing works out for a team. For the Bruins and Chara though, their union in 2006 was a match made in heaven. Chara has dawned the captain’s “C” on his jersey ever since joining the franchise 13 years ago and remains a pillar for the team heading into his 22nd season.