Chara leaves Caps for Islanders


Zdeno Chara's brief stint with the Capitals is now officially over. The New York Islanders announced Saturday that they had agreed to terms with the veteran defenseman on a one-year contract.

Chara was a surprise free agent last year when he decided not to accept a lesser role with the Boston Bruins. The Caps signed him to a one-year contract and, despite turning 44 in March, he proved to be one of the team's more consistent blueliners. He played in 55 games with two goals and eight assists, averaging 18:19 of ice time per game.

Chara will stay in the division and head to New York where he began his career. He was drafted by the Islanders in the third round of the 1996 draft. He made his NHL debut with 25 games in 1997-98.

The cap hit of the contract was not immediately disclosed, but there was essentially no way for the Caps to afford to bring him back with Michal Kempny returning from injury.The Caps will have to rely on Kempny and likely prospect Martin Fehervary to make up for the loss of Chara and Brenden Dillon on the left side of the defense They will now also have to deal with playing against the 6-foot-9 Chara once again.