As a Senator for four years, Chára found his game and more than doubled his previous offensive totals in his first season with Ottawa. In his second season with the team, 2002-03, Chára made his first All-Star Game appearance and recorded the second hardest shot behind Al MacInnis in the skills competition.
The next season, in addition to posting 16 goals and 41 points, Chára recorded the league's third highest plus-minus, behind Martin St. Louis and Marek Malik, culminating into his first Norris Trophy nomination. Although he would lose to Scott Niedermayer as the league's best defenceman, he would join Niedermayer on the NHL First All-Star Team.
After the 2004-05, in which Chára played in the Swedish Elite League for Färjestad, he increased his offensive numbers to 16 goals and 43 points, being named to the NHL Second All-Star Team. As Chára's would not come to terms to a new contract with Ottawa, he became an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2005-06.
Subsequently, on July 1, 2006, he signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins and was named the team's captain, a role left vacant since Joe Thornton's departure, before the beginning of the 2006-07 season. On January 13, 2007, Zdeno was named to 2007 All-Star Game in Dallas and won the hardest shot competition, clocking a shot at 100.4 mph (161.6 km/h).
In 2008, he was voted in as a starter in the All-Star Game for the first time in his career and repeated as the winner of the hardest shot competition, recording an even-faster 103.1 mph (166 km/h) on the radar gun. On March 8, 2008, during a game against the Washington Capitals, Chara suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder. However, after missing five games, he played the remainder of the season including the playoffs. Upon a first round elimination at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, he underwent a shoulder operation on April 29.
At the end of the season, Chara received his second nomination for the Norris Trophy after tallying a career-high 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points, marking the fifth straight season he had either matched or increased his previous season's points total.
|1996–97||Prince George Cougars||WHL||49||3||19||22||120||15||1||7||8||45|
|1997–98||New York Islanders||NHL||25||0||1||1||50||--||--||--||--||--|
|1998–99||Lowell Lock Monsters||AHL||23||2||2||4||47||--||--||--||--||--|
|1998–99||New York Islanders||NHL||59||2||6||8||83||--||--||--||--||--|
|1999–00||New York Islanders||NHL||65||2||9||11||57||--||--||--||--||--|
|2000–01||New York Islanders||NHL||82||2||7||9||157||--||--||--||--||--|
|2001–02||HC Dukla Trenčín||SVK||8||2||2||4||32||--||--||--||--||--|