Zdeno Chara was drafted 56th overall by the New York Islanders in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2001 draft, he was traded to the Senators as part of a package-deal with Bill Muckalt and the second overall pick in exchange for Alexei Yashin. Chara had a few good years in Long Island, but it wasn't until he reached the Senators that he developed his game completely.
Chara ended with the third highest +/- in the 2003-2004 season, only behind the Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis and the Vancouver Canucks' Marek Malik, who were tied for first. At the conclusion of the season, Chara was the runner-up to Scott Niedermayer for the James Norris Memorial Trophy and he was voted on the first NHL All-Star team.
Chara had a career year in 2005-2006, posting personal bests in goals (16), points (43), and shots on goal (212). He was named to the NHL Second All-Star team. In July of 2006, Chara signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins. On October 3, 2006, he was named captain of the Boston Bruins.
Chara is the tallest player in the NHL and the tallest player to ever lace the skates in the NHL. He uses his size to shut opponents down and block them to the outside, easily taking the puck away without demanding much physical contact. Chara does hit and he hits hard, but most of his defensive play is centered around using his gigantic size to out-position opposing forwards. Offensively, he is gifted with a great shot and good hockey sense, putting him in position for several offensive chances.