Early Tuesday morning, an announcement was made by Norris trophy winners P.K. Subban and Zdeno Chara along with ex-New York Ranger Keith Yandle, revealing their collective retirement from the National Hockey League. In this article, we will examine these player’s careers and contribution to the sport of hockey, as well as the terms of their retirement and what that could mean for their respective franchises.
Chara, 45, started and ended his career with the New York Islanders, playing his first four seasons with them before one final season in 2021-22. The seven-time Slovakian All-Star, who won the Norris Trophy in 2008-09, is best known for his 14-year run with the Boston Bruins, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2011. Chara made the playoffs 11 times with Boston, four times with the Senators and once with the Capitals, playing in 200 career playoff games. He finishes his career with 680 regular-season points (209 goals, 471 assists) and 70 postseason points (18 goals, 52 assists). Chara signed a one-day contract with the Bruins Tuesday afternoon, retiring with his longest tenured team.
“I am honored to return to TD Garden today to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and officially finish my career with the team that has meant so much to me and my family,” Chara wrote on Instagram. “There are so many people that have helped contribute to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to properly thanking everyone this afternoon.”
In the 2010-11 season, Chara played a crucial role in the Bruins winning a thrilling, seven-game Stanley Cup Final series against the Vancouver Canucks to help the franchise earn its first Stanley Cup in 39 seasons. That same season, Chara also won the Mark Messier Leadership Award. Chara spent 14 seasons with the Bruins and scored 481 points in 1,023 games with the club. The 6-foot-9 forward, the tallest player in NHL history, who was affectionately nicknamed ‘Big Zee,’ remained with the Bruins through the 2019-20 season before signing with the Capitals at 43 years old. Chara spent 55 games with the Caps, then signed a contract with the Islanders to have a second stint with the club that drafted him in the third round in 1996. Chara’s career also had an impact on what he did beyond the NHL. He led his native Slovakia to two silver-medal finishes at the IIHF Men’s World Championships while guiding his homeland to second place at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
Chara’s impact on the NHL, the game of hockey, and the Boston Bruins will forever be remembered. It will be no surprise to see the number 33 hanging from the TD Garden rafters in the near future.
P.K. Subban revealed on social media he was leaving the league after 13 seasons. The 33-year-old, a three-time All-Star who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 2012-13, spent the past three seasons with the Devils after seven years with the Canadiens and three with the Predators. Subban, whose complicated career includes a series of slew-foots and admirable philanthropy, had 115 goals and 352 assists in the regular season, adding 18 goals and 44 assists in 96 playoff contests.
“I look forward to the road ahead, and the many exciting opportunities to come. I’m excited to share what those are with you all when the time comes!” wrote Subban, who has made appearances on ESPN as an analyst.
While Subban made little impact with the Devils, his longer tenured team, the Canadiens will be sure to retire his number. While Subban never won a Stanley Cup, his impact on the NHL and the game of hockey as a whole cannot be diminished.
Throughout his professional career, Subban has been passionate about using his platform to make a difference, relentlessly pursuing charitable initiatives that support his community’s well-being and enrichment. His desire to inspire positive change led him to establish the P.K. Subban Foundation, and since its inception in 2014, the foundation has helped thousands of families across Canada and the United States. In 2015, Subban made a $10 million commitment to the Montreal Children’s Hospital through P.K.’s Helping Hand, which was the largest philanthropic commitment made by a professional athlete in Canada.
Subban, one of the few Black stars in the NHL, criticized the organization’s racist culture and provided an inspiration for young non-White hockey players. “You’ve got to believe in yourself and let nobody tell you what you can and can’t do, especially if it’s because of the color of your skin,” he advised in the video. “All we need to do is understand ourselves, believe in ourselves, keep trying, and keep pushing forward.” On racism in the NHL, Subban stated, “Sheer disappointment. It’s distasteful. There’s no room for it in our game. I’m embarrassed, you know, I’m embarrassed because our game is better than this.” There are always significant strides to be made in this regard, but Subban’s outstanding talent, personality, and kindness will be appreciated and remembered by the hockey world for years to come and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see in nominated for a Hall of Fame entry.
NHL veteran Keith Yandle retired after 16 seasons in the league, he announced on the podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets.” Yandle owns the record for the most consecutive games played in the NHL at 989. The defenseman’s streak began on March 26, 2009, and ended on March 29th of this year. Phil Kessel, who signed a one-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights this offseason, is second to Yandle with an active 982-game streak.
“I’m really at ease with it and looking forward to the next chapter, for sure,” Yandle said on the podcast.
Yandle, 36, played 1,109 games total from 2006 through last season, posting 619 points (103 goals, 516 assists). He was selected by the Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2005 NHL Draft. Yandle spent the first nine years of his career with the Arizona Coyotes before playing five with the Panthers, two with the Rangers and closing it out with the Flyers last year.
An explosive skater with outstanding passing and puck-handling skills, Yandle was one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. He was a consistent leader in assists, power-play assists and power-play points. And had one of the game’s most lethal shots. Yandle had 619 points (103 goals, 516 assists) in 1,109 games with the Flyers, Coyotes, Rangers and Panthers. He also scored 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) in 58 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He scored at least 10 goals in a season four times and skated in the NHL All-Star Game three times (2011, 2012, 2019). Yandle’s contribution to hockey is far less compared to Subban and Chara’s yet still important to look back on and praise.
These three talents will be forever missed and praised for their impact on the NHL and their respective franchises and their legacy will not be forgotten.