Zdeno Chara not ready to make a decision about next season

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Chara not ready to make a decision about 2021-22 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Zdeno Chara has not made any decisions regarding his future as of yet and will take a few days to speak with his family, he said Tuesday.

Chara, 44, chose to walk away from his long-time team, the Boston Bruins, to play with the Capitals in 2021 when the Bruins offered him a reduced role. His deal was only for one year so the question for Chara is not only if he would like to continue playing, but where?

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan clearly puts a high value on leadership, but the team still has Dmitry Orlov, Brenden Dillon, Michal Kempny under contract next season as well as prospects Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev. Even if Chara does decide to return, there is no guarantee Washington would still be a fit.

The incredible thing is that, even at 44, if Chara wanted to play another season, he probably could, at least physically.

“I felt great," Chara said. "It was an obviously a condensed season with a lot of games, travel, itineraries and practices, but I thought that the coaching staff, all the trainers manage it really well. They spread the workloads and rest days between our games and practices the way that we could rest and be fresh. I had a lot of fun. I obviously love to stay in shape and work out and that’s what I did, what we did and it was a lot of fun.”

Even with the struggles and injuries we saw in a condensed season across the roster, Chara remained relatively unscathed. He missed only one game in the regular season and averaged 18:19 of ice time a night.

But just being able to play sometimes is not good enough for a player to continue playing. Chara himself acknowledged there were other factors that would undoubtedly influence his ability to play another season.

"Obviously I think that it’s not always decision that I can make myself," Chara said. "Sometimes there are things in life that you have to realize, and I have to obviously have those conversations with my wife and my children and see where we're gonna be in the next few day or weeks. After those conversations, I’m going to probably let those emotions settle in and see where I’m at.”