Name: Zdeno Chara
Status: $7.5M through 2010-11
Regular season, EV: 40.44% w/Derek Morris, 28.96% w/Dennis Wideman
Regular season, PP: 37.53% w/Morris, 29.98% w/Wideman
Regular season, PK: 44.2% w/Morris, 27.18% w/Wideman
Playoffs, EV: 83.24% w/Johnny Boychuk
Playoffs, PP: 77.78% w/Matt Hunwick
Playoffs, PK: 80.7% w/Boychuk
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The Good: The reigning Norris Trophy winner continues to log insane amounts of ice time — on the power play, even strength, penalty kill and total ice time per game. His total ice time during the regular season was ninth-most in the NHL — with the other eight players having appeared in all 82 games to Chara’s 80 — and was one of 12 players to average 25 minutes or more. What’s even more impressive is that Chara’s minutes are against the oppositions top-lines; shutting down the league’s best night-in, night-out.
The 6’9″ blueliner’s conditioning is freakish and his off-ice workouts are unparalleled, as he appeared in 80 games for the third time in the last four years this season. The Slovakia native was the anchor on the blue-line, again, throughout the man-advantage and shorthand, and continued to be amongst the NHL’s best defensemen.
A great leader and Captain, Chara lead by example with his hard work and extra effort on the ice. Even a non-penalized high sticking call on April 5 against the hulking defenseman didn’t slow down his play. Chara suffered a broken nose from the stick of Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin, and still logged over 26 minutes of ice time. The following regular season games, and into the playoffs, Zee wore a cage but never lost a step or his edge.
The Bad: A slight dip in scoring totals from his Norris Trophy season of last (19-31-50 with 28 power play points), Chara — like virtually every player in Boston — underachieved in the offensive production department. But his plus-19 topped the Bruins’ charts in the plus/minus category, and his 16 PPP was second-best to Marc Savard’s 17. Suffering a dislocated pinkie on Nov. 20 in Buffalo against the Sabres, Chara’s willingness to drop the gloves was unfortunately hindered. But that didn’t necessarily stop him from being physical or stepping in to come to the aid of a teammate.
Chara continued to be one of Boston’s best. With the departure of his defensive partner, Derek Morris, and the copious injuries on the blue-line — Stuart, Ference, Seidenberg — the Bruins once again relied on No. 33′s All Star play. Had Chara joined his ailing teammates on the IR this season, the Bruins would have had a few extra early weeks on the golf course.
Chara is in the final year of his four-year contract. And by the time the 2011-12 NHL season rolls around, Big Zee will be 34-years-old. If the Slovakia native continues his stellar play that we have all been accustomed to seeing, it’ll be tough for Peter Chiarelli to let the 6’9″ Captain hit the free-agency market.
Next report card: No. 37 Patrice Bergeron