Opposing forwards will have to deal with Zdeno Chara for at least one more season after the Boston Bruins defenseman inked an extension Wednesday through the 2018-19 NHL season.
Chara, 41, is getting a $1 million raise next season with a $5 million salary and could earn up to an additional $1.75 million in bonuses tied to games played.
In 68 games this season Chara has seven goals and 23 points while averaging 23 minutes a night. His time on-ice is actually the lowest he’s played since 2001-02 — his first season in Ottawa — but it still leads all Bruins defensemen. His play has been supported by his partner on the blue line, 20-year-old Charlie McAvoy, who is among the league’s top rookies.
[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]
McAvoy has been a sponge around Chara, soaking up the knowledge of a veteran defenseman with over 1,400 NHL games under his belt. From taking care of things off the ice to staying sharp on it, the young McAvoy has learned a lot in a short while playing with the elder Chara.
“The way he controls the game is just awesome. There’s not many people I think can do it like that,” McAvoy said earlier this season. “When he gets the puck, it’s kind of like a calm factor to him. He’s so strong defensively, I know when he’s going to win his battles.”
Chara has been out since March 13 with an upper-body injury and could return Thursday for a big matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. McAvoy may get back in as well, which bodes well as the Bruins remain in the hunt for not only the top spot in the Atlantic Division, but also the Presidents’ Trophy.