Islanders' Most Undervalued Player of 2021-'22 Season: Zdeno Chara

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

You might have seen the title of this article and chuckled a bit, but if you clicked on it and are reading this, kudos to you. When the New York Islanders brought Zdeno Chara back to Long Island after a 20-year hiatus (yep, you read that right) there were certainly mixed feelings. During his time in between stints with the Islanders, Chara became a 7x All-Star and Norris Trophy winner, but his greatest accomplishment came in 2011 when he lifted the Stanley Cup as the captain of the Boston Bruins. The Islanders didn't exactly receive that player, but if you can believe it, Chara was the Islanders' most undervalued player in a very specific way.

Look, his second stint with the Islanders was anything but smooth. He signed with the Islanders in September after contemplating retirement in the summer of 2021 and the soon-to-be 45-year-old looked, well, 45. As time went on, however, Chara looked better and better and even made for a decent pair - but more importantly an excellent mentor - with the young Noah Dobson. At this point, you're probably asking yourself, "how exactly was Chara the most underrated Islander?"

Well, crunched the numbers to discover the most undervalued NHL player for each team, taking into account production on the ice and cap hit. The list of players is ordered from the most "money per point share" to the least, and believe it or not, Chara is in the top 10, exactly 10th overall among the 32 NHL players, one per team. In 72 games, the 6'9, 250lb defenseman tallied two goals and 12 assists for 14 points. Chara's $750,000 cap hit equates to an even point share of four, a total of $187,500 per point scored this season.

Look, no one is saying Chara was exactly great this season and that he should return next season, but to do what he did at 45-years-old is impressive. He joined a list of undervalued players that included names such as Charlie McAvoy and Igor Shesterkin. Clearly, he didn't contribute the way those players did to playoff contending teams, but it sure felt like the 2021-22 season was Big Z's farewell tour, and this is not a bad way to say goodbye.