When it comes to tracking prospects, I like to count arrows. Greg Chase (in photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved) has posted a stunning number of good arrows since he was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers, and his World Junior experience at the summer camp for Team Canada was a tremendous positive. Tonight, Greg Chase’s junior career is in limbo and his status as a Calgary Hitmen player is fluid.
Greg Chase is a player I followed in his draft year both at Oilers Nation and at Lowetide. He’s a local kid (Sherwood Park) and was wildly undervalued at the 2013 entry draft (I had him in the second round, Corey Pronman had him early in the fourth round and Red Line Report had him at No. 70, giving Chase a glowing report card:
- “A real Red Line favourite who flies under the radar. He’s a
fine puck distributor who shows great patience and possesses the touch
to constantly find linemates off the cycle. Keeps feet going after
making a pass to sustain pressure in offensive zone. Versatile forward
has spent time on every line and been effective in every role. Shows up
every shift and his play away from the puck is impressive, makes things
happen by constantly filling open ice. Refuses to back down in contested
areas; first player into the corners. Wide skating stance helps him
maintain balance and uses edges well to maximize glide. Hungry player
has a great compete level and looks to make a difference every shift.
Not as dynamic offensively as other prospects on this list, but plays a
well-rounded, consistent game.”
Chase ripped it up in his draft +1 season and the Oilers recognized his progress by signing him to an entry-level contract this past summer.
In following Chase’s career I can tell you that from draft day through the end of Oilers’ training camp this fall, the arrows were all pointed in a good direction. This young man showed up in tremendous shape for camp, impressed, got a contract and extra playing time (on the big line for one preseason game, no less) and had the World Juniors and an impact WHL season to look forward to in 2014-15.
Last night, Guy Flaming and Dean Millard held court on the Pipeline Show (TSN 1260) with some interesting thoughts. The show has its finger on the pulse of junior and college hockey, and is a must listen for things just like this story.
Quoting the segment, here’s what Dean Millard said about Chase and the Hitmen:
- Dean Millard: “I’m going to throw a name at you, just because a situation that has arisen tonight, between Calgary and Saskatoon. Chase Lang, the Hitmen’s leading scorer, is out of the lineup, he’s suspended. And the Calgary Hitmen decided tonight would be a good night to healthy scratch Greg Chase, their second leading scorer. Now either a deal is in the works, and they don’t want Chase to get injured, or they are unhappy with this player and I can see Greg Chase getting dealt. Now, listen, whatever is happening with Greg Chase and the Calgary Hitmen goes back farther than this year. This is a guy who was an 85-point player on the third line last year, and starts on the third line again this year. They are mishandling this guy in Calgary, and mishandling a prize asset.”
Earlier this afternoon, the Calgary Hitmen tweeted out
“Greg Chase was a healthy scratch in Saskatoon on Tue. related to on-ice
discipline. He has since requested a trade and has returned home.”
Kelly Friesen covers junior hockey for Yahoo Sports and posted a series of tweets earlier this evening:
I imagine this will be taken care of quickly, the Hitmen aren’t having a splendid season and can’t afford to waste an asset with Chase’s value. These kinds of things often happen without public statements, but in this case it appears at least one side didn’t think that was the best route. It’s a curious story, and one hopes it doesn’t damage Chase’s chances of making the world junior team. I look forward to hearing the player’s side of the story when it comes available.
Finally, some interesting speculation by Guy Flaming, when asked about the possibility of Greg Chase ending up with the Edmonton Oil Kings: