Mid-way through August is a tough time for die-hard hockey fans, as it means there is still some time to go before their favorite team is back in action. That said, we are now roughly a month away from the start of training camps, which helps feed optimism into each and every fanbase throughout the league.
At this point, most rosters are close to being set throughout the league, though several general managers (GMs) still have a spot or two open for taking. While some may wish to leave those open spots for some younger players to compete for, a few may instead choose to add free agent Alex Chiasson to the mix, a player who is easily capable of scoring goals in the double-digit range and can be used on the man advantage. By no means is he a game breaker, but he is an inexpensive option that can provide depth scoring in a team’s bottom six, something that holds value to many. With that said, here are three teams that may very well look to bring him in for the 2022-23 season.
Last offseason, Chiasson went to the Vancouver Canucks camp on a professional tryout offer (PTO) and landed a $750,000 deal. He recorded a reasonable 13 goals and 22 points in 67 games, numbers that by no means are outstanding but are solid given what he was paid.
It is worth noting that post-All-Star break, Chiasson’s average ice time per game increased from 10:42 to 12:42, and it resulted in an uptick production-wise. In 30 games after the All-Star break, he managed eight goals and 13 points in 30 games, which translates to a 22-goal pace over a full 82-game schedule. If put in the right position, there is reason to believe he could indeed produce at a similar pace in 2022-23, as he was able to register a career-high 22 tallies in 73 outings during the 2018-19 campaign.
While the Canucks are roughly $2.75 million over the cap limit, that may not be the case for much longer. There have been plenty of rumors throughout the offseason that they are shopping J.T. Miller in case an extension isn’t worked out, while Tanner Pearson’s name has also been discussed. If either player were to be moved, it would not only create the cap room needed to bring Chiasson back into the fold but could very well also result in a forward position needing to be filled.
This offseason was an extremely frustrating one for the Winnipeg Jets, as they failed to make any improvements to their roster. While Paul Stastny hasn’t officially ruled out a return, it sounds like he is hoping to latch on with a contender, something the Jets are not at the moment.
The Jets have plenty of holes in their forward group right now, meaning they will either need to sign a few remaining free agents to cheap deals or rely on some of their prospects to step up. While one or two youngers may prove they have what it takes to stick it out on the NHL roster for the entire 2022-23 season, bringing in at least one veteran like Chiasson up front would help improve their very limited depth.
As far as making things work money-wise, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff wouldn’t have any problems, as he has more than $6 million to work with. Adding Chiasson would give his club a much-needed secondary scorer on a team who, despite being hindered in certain areas, still have some serious top-end talent.
Before worrying about adding some scoring depth to their lineup, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill needs to sign two of his key players in Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger, both of whom remain restricted free agents. Once that works itself out, however, Chiasson is a legitimate option worth considering.
Despite some big named players on their roster, the Stars struggled to put the puck in the back of the net this past season. Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz and Robertson should continue doing their thing, and the hope is that Tyler Seguin will be fully healthy and able to have a bounce-back year. Even with that, however, they could still use some extra help, as Jamie Benn is no longer the producer he once was, and they also lost their biggest offensive threat on the back end in John Klingberg.
As of now, the Stars have just under $10.4 million in available cap, though there may not be much of that left, if any, once Robertson and Oettinger are re-signed. As mentioned prior, however, Chiasson wouldn’t require anything more than a league minimum $750,000 deal, meaning it wouldn’t take a ton of shuffling to create room for him.
Chiasson Brings Plenty of Versatility to a Lineup
One reason why Chiasson has managed to carve out a 631-game career to this point is his ability to play in many different situations. As mentioned earlier, he is more than capable of playing on either a first or second-unit power play, often providing a net-front presence. While primarily being used in a bottom-six role throughout his career, he has shown at times, particularly during his stint with the Oilers, that he can be used in a top-six role whenever needed. He may, once again, need to settle on a PTO this year as he has become accustomed to, but with a solid camp wherever he ends up should be able to secure himself another one-year contract.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.