The Washington Capitals kept another one of their own Friday afternoon, re-signing 34 year old speedy forward Jason Chimera to a two year contract worth four million dollars. Chimera will earn two million in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Washington’s gritty third liner and penalty kill extraordinaire has rebounded after a three goal, 14 point campaign last season, already recording 11 points through 16 games this season. After an abnormal 3.3% shooting clip last year, Chimera is finding the net at a 20% rate through the early part of this season.
“Every time you sign a contract it’s a pretty cool moment,” Chimera told Mike Vogel. “You play a game for your job and it’s a pretty cool moment, that’s for sure. It’s a fun game to play. It sounds corny but it’s a dream come true. Every day you come to work, you play hockey. It couldn’t be any better and I take that very seriously for sure.”
Below are some cap comparisons for Jason Chimera. The Capitals are Chimera’s third different NHL team he’s played for and his fifth season in Washington. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers and also played for the Columbus Blue Jackets five seasons.
With the Chimera signing, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee has only one unrestricted free agent left to sign, center Mikhail Grabovski. The former Toronto Maple Leafs forward’ was brought in on a one year pact worth three million dollars for the 2013-14 season. Youngsters Michael Latta, Dmitry Orlov and Alexander Urbom will all become restricted free agents this summer.
The salary cap is expected to rise substantially next season according to multiple media reports which could give McPhee a better chance to re-sign Grabovski, but it will come at a steep price. Fan favorite Brooks Laich is also locked in long term through the 2016-17 season and forward prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov could finally join Washington this spring after his season ends in the KHL and slide into the second line center spot. Washington has just over four million dollars in cap space heading into next season at the currently salary cap level.
Washington should be fine in the forward compartment moving forward, especially with cap-friendly players such as Tom Wilson, Michael Latta and Evgeny Kuznetsov, especially when the Russia native signs his entry level deal. Having defensemen such as Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt on their blue line next season will also help in limiting costs.
McPhee should look to add a veteran defenseman this summer, but that will be tough to find. Dan Girardi, Chris Phillips and Kyle Quincey should all interest Washington if they hit the free agent market. McPhee should go after a left handed shooting defenseman to compliment Mike Green and John Carlson as the locks on the right side of the Capitals’ blue line.
Stay tuned at The Hockey Writers as McPhee looks to make Washington a Stanley Cup contender.