This is Chara's 24th season in the NHL. An incredible achievement for any player not to mention someone as big as Chara. At 6'9" and 250lbs the wear and tear of an NHL season are greater on such a large (and now older) body than that of the average player.
It takes a incredible level of perseverance and dedication to the sport to continue playing like Chara.
New York Islanders name Zdeno Chara as Masterton Nominee
I understand that Chara hasn't been at his best this year. He's no longer the same player he was between 2008 and 2012. But he's had his moments of quality with the Islanders this year. Specifically when it comes to helping Noah Dobson take a big step forward in his career.
Which was likely always part of the plan when he was signed in the offseason. What wasn't part of the plan (I hope) was to have him play an average of 18:41 a night. That's nearly 30 seconds more a night than last season. Usually, older players don't see their ice time go up.
Having to rely on a 45-year-old Chara to play top-four minutes this year couldn't have possibly been in the plan. So while Chara hasn't been great, let's be honest, he isn't being cast in the best role for his age now, is he?
Will Chara win it? I don't think so. There are perhaps better stories out there than Chara's. Carey Price comes to mind. The Habs goalie joined the NHL's substance abuse program before returning to the ice to finish off the year.
But is Chara a deserving nominee? Yes. No doubt.