NHL's oldest player Chara signs one-year Capitals deal

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Slovakian defenseman Zdeno Chara, the National Hockey League's oldest player at age 43, signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and will start his 23rd league season next month

Slovakian defenseman Zdeno Chara, the National Hockey League's oldest player at 43, signed a one-year free agent deal Wednesday with the Washington Capitals after 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins.

Chara, who was the longest tenured NHL captain by having the role for Boston since 2006, will begin his 23rd NHL campaign when the league's shortened season opens in January.

"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," Chara posted on Instagram.

"Unfortunately, my time as the proud captain of the Bruins has come to an end."

Five-time All-Star Chara, who turns 44 in March, signed for $795,000 after scoring five goals and setting up nine more in 68 games last season.

The massive 6-foot-9 (2.06m) and 250-pound (113kg) blueliner -- the tallest player in NHL history -- helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and won the Norris Trophy as the top NHL defenseman in 2008-09.

"We are extremely pleased," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. "We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blueline and our team."

Chara, who had four seasons each with the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators before joining the Bruins, has scored 205 goals with 451 assists in 1,553 career NHL games.

The Bruins will play the Capitals eight times this season, the first of them January 30 at Washington with Chara making his return to Boston on March 3, although spectators are not expected to be allowed at games due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"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."