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A bunch of NHL veterans decided the day before NHL camps began that they weren’t going to be hitting the ice this year. NHL defensemen Zdeno Chara, Keith Yandle, and P.K. Subban all decided to call it a career on the same day.
One of the biggest — in every conceivable sense — was that of Zdeno Chara. He called it quits after 24 seasons in the league, spent with the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Washington Capitals.
The 6-Foot-9, 45-year-old — whose retirement meant an instant drop in the average height of NHLers — signed a one-day contract to retire as a Boston Bruin.
Chara had his most productive seasons with the Bruins. However, he was still logging an average of 18:44 minutes per game last year with the Islanders. That’s not the almost 28 minutes/night he was putting up in the mid-aughts, but that’s still a ton of ice-time. He was a key contributor to the Islander’s deep blue line.
NHL Ironman Yandle Retires As A Flyer
Keith Yandle is the NHL’s ironman, having played a record 989 consecutive games until his streak ended late last season — though Phil Kessel will likely break his record this season.
Yandle announced his decision to call it a career, after 16 seasons, on the popular hockey podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets.”
“The last year it’s one of those things I’ve been thinking about,” Yandle said on the podcast. “When that’s all you know in your life, to call it quits on it, to call it an end, it’s nerve-wracking.
“The last couple weeks I’ve been at ease with it. Really enjoyed spending time with the family… I think for me I’m really at ease with it and looking forward to the next chapter.”
Yandle spent his final season with the Philadelphia Flyers, and as a Flyers fan, I can assure you it was a brutal season across the board for the Orange and Black. Yandle wasn’t the No. 1 defenseman he once was earlier in his career with the Coyotes and Rangers, or a top-four guy like he was with the Panthers.
That said, he was still a defensively-responsible blueliner — and important locker room presence — whose numbers from last season are sullied by a brutal — did I mention just how bad it was? — 2021-22 season in Philly.
Subban’s Retirement The Most Surprising
While Yandle and Chara’s retirements were somewhat expected, P.K. Subban’s decision to retire was a bit more surprising.
Subban spent the last three seasons of his 13-year NHL career with the New Jersey Devils, but before that had stints with the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens.
Subban’s most productive years came with the Habs, and he won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2013.
Subban was solid since but never quite came close to that high-water mark again. During his three seasons with the Devils, Subban posted 59 points.
In his three seasons in Nashville? 130 points.
Subban will certainly make the jump into media whether that’s in the booth, behind the desk, or on his own somewhere.
He was one of the league’s most charismatic figures over most of his career. Subban has even been hopping in front of the camera in a part-time capacity as of late.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle