BOSTON (CBS) — Zdeno Chara just completed his age 44 season in the NHL. He’s yet to decide on whether he’ll give it a go for age 45.

The defenseman will become a free agent this week, after playing with the Washington Capitals last season on a one-year contract. And according to Pierre LeBrun, Chara is not in a rush to decide on his plans for the 2021-22 NHL season.

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“Z is in Slovakia spending time with family,” Chara’s agent told LeBrun. “He is working out hard and leaving all of his options open. There is no rush on anything with him.”

Chara played in 55 of the Capitals’ 56 regular-season games last season, only missing one game after blocking a shot off his foot. He also played in all five of Washington’s playoff games, as the Capitals were eliminated by Chara’s former team, the Boston Bruins, in the first round.

He averaged 18:19 of ice time per game in the regular season, scoring two goals and registering eight assists to go with a plus-5 rating.

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Chara, who captained the Bruins from 2006-20, made his NHL debut in the 1997-98 season. He ranks 13th on the all-time list for NHL games played with 1,608. He could pass Ray Bourque, Larry Murphy, Scott Stevens, Dave Andreychuk, Chris Chelios and former Bruins teammate Mark Recchi with another full season in the NHL to move into seventh all time.

CBSBoston.com Staff