At 44-years-old, Zdeno Chara embarked on his 24th season in the NHL, and fifth with the New York Islanders. Although there was a 19-year break between his fourth and fifth season with the Isles.
Obviously, the Isles didn't get peak Chara, but he still put up 14 points and played 18:44 (on average) for the islanders. His mentoring of Noah Dobson was perhaps his greatest contribution to the Isles this year and in the years to come.
We still don't know if this is it for Chara in the NHL, but if it is (if probably is), the big man could go out with a bit of hardware.
New York Islanders Zdeno Chara fitting Masterton Finalist
On Monday, the PHWA announced the finalists for the NHL's Masterton Trophy. The three finalists from the pool of players submitted by each team are:
The award is given to "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey". On that criteria, you can see why Chara was nominated by the Islanders and why the PHWA has him in the top three.
I don't have to go into detail but I summarized it all here when the Islanders announced they had nominated the 45-year-old defenseman.
Will he win it? No.
Carey Price came back from injury and addiction. That's a big deal that should rightfully be celebrated around the league. Kevin Hayes not only tragically lost his brother Jimmy Hayes this year but also had three surgeries for an injury and a blood infection.
I feel of the three it's going to go Price (1), Hayes (2) ,and Chara (3). Not that it's going to matter. Finishing third is a still a big nod for what Chara did this year for some on of his age and size.