The 2013-14 NHL regular season just kicked off and already we have a coach fired, youngsters scoring highlight goals and media outlets posting power rankings. The Dallas Stars stand at one win, one loss and (victory) green Alex Chiasson leads the team with two goals.
Is he for real?
Evaluating his game points to yes. The game used to wash touted rookies right out of the NHL ranks (see Stefan, Patrik or Daigle, Alexandre), but recent years show these young studs step right in and produce at a high level. Watered down talent pool? A new breed of hockey player? NHL conspiracy to boost ratings? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
In Chiasson’s case, it appears to be pure talent and poise of a veteran who’s played for years. Check out this sweet move to score the Stars’ first goal of the season:
Add in the game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals a couple days later, and that’s eight goals in nine career games, folks. Called up to the dance last season, Chiasson surprised his coaches, teammates and Stars fans with a nose for the net before a shoulder injury derailed him. While captain Jamie Benn, newcomer Tyler Seguin and baby-faced rookie Valeri Nichushkin get the publicity and perhaps the focus of opponents’ defensive strategies, Chiasson has proven he’s a force with which to be reckoned. At a lanky 6’4”, 187 pounds, this deft winger possesses not only the skill and speed of today’s NHL sniper, but he demonstrates incredible hockey sense and positioning. Gone are the days of a Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey end to end rush to introduce the puck to the twine. Goals today are mostly scored by being in the right place at the right time, and Chiasson’s goals demonstrate his proclivity for such a role.
Another tidbit of good news for Stars fans…Chiasson’s consistency. This team has employed many feast or famine type of snipers: Donald Audette, Billy Guerin, Niklas Hagman and the recently traded Loui Eriksson. If he stays out of the trainer’s room, Chiasson should blossom into the type of scorer the Stars desperately need and a household name well positioned to lead the team back into playoff contention.