As the Vancouver Canucks head into the offseason, one question that will need to be answered is whether the club will re-sign Alex Chiasson. The former Stanley Cup champion earned a contract in training camp after signing a professional tryout. This article will look at his overall season to help determine if the Canucks should re-sign him or look for other depth options to fill his spot in 2022-23.
Why The Canucks Should Re-Sign Chiasson
Chiasson is valuable because of his work on the power play. He has nine points, including six goals with the man advantage, with the majority of his success coming while playing on the first power-play unit. In total, he has been on the ice for 13 of the team’s 50 power-play goals or 26 percent of the total this season. Most importantly, he knows how to be a strong net-front presence which is a skill other players on this roster have not mastered yet.
The other reason why the Canucks should consider bringing Chiasson back is the likely budget-friendly price of his next contract. This season, his cap hit is just above the league minimum at $750,000 and most likely will sign for something similar next season. Barring any major trades that free up cap space, the Canucks will be looking for cheap veterans that can fill the bottom six as they only have a projected $13 million available. That does not include the potential Brock Boeser extension as well as new contracts for Will Lockwood, Juho Lammikko and Matthew Highmore. Having an experienced veteran who has some chemistry with the team could make re-signing him the best course of action this offseason.
Lastly, Chiasson does bring a physical eliminate to the team as he has recorded 60 hits this season. At 6-foot-4, 207 pounds, he has no problem playing a physically-demanding type of game. His size is also one of the reasons he has had so much success as a net-front presence. The Canucks forward group does lack size, so that is one asset he can bring to the roster.
Why The Canucks Should Not Re-Sign Chiasson
Outside of the power play, Chiasson has struggled. He has nine points at even strength but only because of a recent surge in his last two games. On April 6, he had played 58 games with only six even-strength points. When it comes to analytics, it is clear the Canucks have struggled, as his Corsi is at 48.66 percent while his shots for percentage is at 48.70 percent. He just doesn’t have the foot speed anymore to keep up with the play or get back on defence, which is a major problem when he is called upon to play in the top-six.
One other issue with Chiasson is that he doesn’t drive the offence. What this means is that you won’t see him making plays; rather, he is mostly on the receiving end of his teammate’s hard work. Yes, once in a while, he will make a fantastic play, but mostly, he just stands in front of the net and lets the play come to him. Of his 79 total shots this season, 17 have either been classified as a tip or deflection. The Canucks need players who can create plays, not necessarily just stand in front of the net and hope the puck finds them.
The last argument as to why the Canucks should avoid re-signing him is the development of their young players. Danila Klimovich is one player that will be pushing for a roster spot next season, along with whoever the team drafts in the 2022 Draft. There are also possible free agents and trade options that could bring more speed to the lineup, which is something they desperately need to improve on next season. Some pending unrestricted free agents to watch that fit this build who are younger and make the same amount as him this season, include Sam Lafferty and Laurent Dauphin. At 31, he doesn’t fit the 22-26 age group of players they should be looking to add to this roster for next season. While he has provided them with more than they expected this season, it may be best to just move on from him this offseason.
Final Verdict: Do Not Re-Sign Chiasson
Chiasson arguably deserves to be offered an NHL contract next season, but it should not come from the Canucks. This team can not be signing players over 30 at this point. If they need a depth forward with some experience, there are plenty of options that will be available this offseason that can fit their needs better in the long term. He has been a good bargain for them this season but is not the solution to their bottom-six needs heading into 2022-23.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at https://www.area51sportsnetwork.com/ where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.