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Three prominent defensemen — two award winners and a record-setting one — have announced their retirements from the NHL.
The Boston Bruins announced that seven-time All-Star Zdeno Chara, 45, would sign a one-day contract with the team on Tuesday and retire after 24 NHL seasons. Former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban announced his retirement on social media, hanging up his skates at age 33 after playing 13 seasons. Keith Yandle, 36, who set the NHL’s ironman record last season for consecutive games played, told the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast that he was leaving the game after 16 seasons.
A look at the three defensemen:
The 6-9 Chara, who held the distinction of being the tallest player in NHL history, is a likely Hall of Famer who won a Norris Trophy, given to the league’s top defenseman, and a Stanley Cup, in addition to being a longtime captain with the Bruins.
Chara was drafted in the third round by the New York Islanders in 1996 and played four seasons there before being traded to the Ottawa Senators, where he emerged as an All-Star. His size, strength and positioning made him hard to beat one-on-one in his prime.
He signed a free agent contract with the Bruins in 2006 and served as captain until he left after the 2019-20 season. While with the Bruins, he won the Norris in 2009 and a Stanley Cup in 2011, plus went to the Final in 2013 and 2019. He received the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2011.
Chara finished his career with the Washington Capitals and a return trip to the Islanders. He played 1,680 career regular-season games, a record for defensemen and seventh all-time, recording 209 goals, 471 assists and 2,085 penalty minutes. He was a First or Second All-Star Team defenseman seven times.
Subban was selected in the second round of the 2007 NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens, where he spent the first seven seasons of his career. He also played for the Nashville Predators and spent his last three seasons with New Jersey Devils, with whom he scored five goals and had 17 assists in 77 games during the 2021-22 season.
“I remember my dreams of playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup, similar to the guys on the Don Cherry Rock’em Sock’em tapes at the end of every volume, with the black eyes, broken bones, and tears of joy. To this day, I still dream about it,” Subban wrote on social media. “However, the end of this chapter is closing and after 13 years in the NHL, I have made the decision to retire.”
“I never looked at myself or ever felt I was ‘just a hockey player.’ I always looked at myself as a person who happened to play hockey. Having that perspective allowed me to enjoy every shift like it was my last, celebrate every goal with emotion, and play every game as if someone paid to watch me play who had never seen me play before.”
In 2013, Subban won the Norris Trophy, while also making the NHL First All-Star Team in 2013 and 2015 and winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi.
This past season, Subban was named winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given to a player for his leadership and community contributions.
He finishes his career with 115 goals and 467 points in 834 career games.
Yandle, who played in three All-Star games, had an offensive touch and was known for his durability.
He holds the NHL ironman record of 989 games, starting on March 26, 2009, and ending when he was a healthy scratch for the Philadelphia Flyers on April 2. He passed Doug Jarvis’ previous record of 964 on Jan. 25 and likely will be passed by the Vegas Golden Knights’ Phil Kessel (982) this season.
Yandle played through a broken jaw and other injuries to set the mark.
Drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the fourth round in 2005, Yandle had 103 goals and 516 assists in 1,109 games with the Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Flyers.
For someone who suited up so often, he said the decision to retire was “nerve-wracking” at first, but he grew used to the idea.
“For me, like the last couple weeks, I’ve really been at ease with it, really enjoyed spending time with the family. … Looking forward to the next chapter, for s,” he told the podcast.