Everyone loves a redemption story. Here is the odd part of this one, it is a part of a more significant organizational redemption. The New York Islanders were victims of several sins in the 90s and early 2000s but, trading Zdeno Chara away was one of the biggest.
For me, he is the player who got me into the game of hockey – my first favorite Islander. As a kid walking into the Coli and seeing a giant, it was like having a real-life superhero. To me, Big Z was Superman.
New York Islanders redemption story: Zdeno Chara
The fanbase may not be happy about the signing because he is older and slower, but do not get this confused; Big Z can play. He will not play an entire season. He will split time with Hickey and Aho (maybe).
Here’s what this signing does: it provides more character to the blueline, gives Mayfield a mentor that makes sense, and gives the Islanders a much-needed voice from someone who has won a cup.
Above all else, assuming this will be the last year Big Z plays, it will bring a career full circle. Now, this may not mean much to a fanbase who wants to get past Tampa Bay. However, his experience may be what is needed to get past Tampa Bay.
With 55 games played in Washington, Big Z did not have a bad year. He averaged 18 minutes a night. That is not bad for a 44-year-old, hard-hitting defenseman. Additionally, he had 10 points and a plus/minus of 10. All in all, it was not a bad year for Z in Washington.
I ask you this: in a Trotz system do you think these numbers rise or fall? I’d argue the number will improve. Only time will tell but, Lou had one more surprise for the Islander fanbase, and it was a big one.
Wellcome home Z, I am glad you made it back.