Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators were also named finalists for the trophy, which will be presented June 20 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Chara, a five-time finalist who captured the award in 2009, led all defensemen and tied for third in the NHL with a plus-33 rating and was fourth among fellow blueliners in scoring with a career-high 52 points.
Karlsson, 21, earned a nomination after a breakout season in which he led all NHL defensemen with 78 points, making him the youngest blueliner to reach that total since Hall of Famer Paul Coffey's 96-point season with the Edmonton Oilers in 1982-83.
Nashville captain Weber, a Norris Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season, led all defenseman with a career-high 10 powerplay goals and finished sixth in scoring among all blueliners while helping the Predators to their seventh Stanley Cup playoff berth in the past eight seasons.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden)