CHASER

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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.

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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.

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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.

Flaming’s segment, with Dean Millard and Taylor Medak, is here.

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.”

ANYTHING ELSE?

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:

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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:

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    • ubermiguel

      You wouldn’t want to be “that” team, there would be retribution. In the end it’s a development league and the young men there are in the teams’ trust regardless of by whom they were drafted. Besides the vast majority of player there will never see the NHL.

      What does “on-ice discipline” mean? Anyone seen him play lately?

    • llong33

      Point per game as an over ager isn’t anything special. He should be nearing 2 points a game if he is a future top 6 forward. I see him as a 3rd liner. A 3rd liner in the NHL is still a valuable asset but the way the Oilogosphere drones on about this player they make him out to be a definite top 6; he isn’t. He just may be a problematic and entitled bottom 6 forward…maybnot be the case, but can’t write it off after this news.

      • Coppperhead

        Yeah as I understand it an over ager is a player who is 20 years old at the start of the season, which doesn’t apply to Greg Chase who turns 20 on Jan 1, 2015

        As his second season post draft however you would hope for a better than a PPG. That said if he’s playing on the 3rd line you’d probably guess that he isn’t getting much of a push on the PP either which is going to severely impact his stat sheet.

        We can only speculate what the “on-ice discipline” issue was and I don’t see the point in that. That said I’m a little perturbed that the Calgary Hitmen decided to frame the issue that way. Maybe there wasn’t another way to deal with it but we’re talking about kids really. They’ll make mistakes and I think it’s pretty unfair to cast this shadow over them by being public with the issue.

        Here’s hoping Greg Chase finds himself in a better situation for himself and his club soon.

        • PutzStew

          You comment really got me speculating as to what “on-ice issues” as you would think that that would be pretty obvious as to what the reasoning is. Calgary (the NHL team) is very strict about playing systems and have got their players to buy into their systems. If you are not going to play to that system, you are not going to play.

          I know they have that mentality at the AHL level so I wonder if they follow that at the WHL level too? It wouldn’t be the first time a player has taken advice from family or other outside sources (Oilers) that does not work with the current team he is playing for.

      • Coppperhead

        I tried to trash your comment twice and thought you should know. 😛

        We refuse to allow that negative talk about our 7th founder. If he MAKES the big leagues for one NHL game that would be massive success. 🙂

    • PutzStew

      Hard to Say. Edmonton doesn’t have a great record when evaluating quality, stand up players. I would trust Calgary’s evaluation of him vs Edmonton’s.

  • VIKING-OILER

    Greg Chase has talent but needs consistent guidance —he has hockey knowledgeable people in his direct family. So if there is a disconnect-it is better to get him out of the situation so that is not about ego issues and more about the best fit. The Oilers have a vested interest in making this work out. Perhaps he gets a better chance to play for the National JR team if he has a higher profile on another team. At least that’s how I “chase” this down.

  • Neal

    I like you Lowetide! You’re optimistic to a fault, knowledgable in the game of hockey, well spoken, sophisticated and have a great work ethic to constantly pump out articles for a thirsty fan base. The only fault you have is wasting your time covering such a pathetically run organization and spreading impractical hope to an audience that knows better.

    It really doesn’t matter how good any of the oiler prospects are. The entire vision and direction of how this team operates is flawed right from the top. Holding out hope that this team will get better is akin to hoping that tmz will stop running stories about justin bieber. It’s just not gonna happen

  • VIKING-OILER

    When I first heard of the healthy scratch, I assumed it was a “late for practise” thing or something along those lines. I didn’t realize there was a history and bad blood. What does a teenager that’s seemingly been doing everything right, do to piss off hockey management in a business.

    Lowetide, I would never accuse those involved of such pettiness, but I have to ask… Those in the local media know his family well, some being former local media and reps of hockey Alberta, others being players themselves. Is their anyway this is personal based on someone else’s grudge? I don’t expect all the details, just perhaps opinion based on someone closer than I.

  • llong33

    It has seemed odd this season for Chase. Now there is some light in that area.

    If they can deal him quickly, this might work out well for Chase.

    Unfortunately I think he probably is out of WJC talk and now is in the Scott Downie / Akim Aliu area of how people will talk about junior players

  • pkam

    How does any team put an 85 point player back on the third line? Especially if it’s not even a good team? It might be understandable in a Peguins-Jordan Staal type situation where the depth just overwhelms but it doesn’t in this case.

    Who’s running the show down there, Lowe/MacT/Eakins? Sounds awfully similar anyway.

  • OilClog

    Hopefully he harness this hatred of everything Calgary and does bare knuckle push ups in broken glass until he’s sculpted from iron and becomes a big league Flame killer. Frank Sinatra said, “the best revenge is massive success”. Go Mr Chase Go!!!

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    My thoughts on this:

    Young kid,PPG player playing on the third line.

    A kid that promising and he gets no ice time that never happens.

    Oh man I can’t say such things and look Yakupov in the eye anymore.

      • pkam

        Yeah well Ralph got the kid to produce. Hell Ralph got the whole team to produce but was stuck with crap defense and crap goaltending.

        Case in point.

        Ralphs season and the kids point totals if played 82 games:

        Hall 91 points
        Gagner 65 points
        Eberle 63 points
        Yakupov 53 points
        JSchultz 46 points
        Nuge 49 points

        thats what they were trending for in the 48 game season.

        Eakins was given a Ferrari and he can’t drive it. He is about to hit a damn tree with it.

        • pkam

          Yak was playing on the 2nd line that year. Do you think he can score 53 points on the 3rd line?

          That is what Greg did, top scorer of the team as a 3rd line. Not only did he have to stay in that 3rd line in that year, he is put back to that 3rd line again the following year and he continues to score at ppg and is 2nd in scoring, then he get scratched.

          Did that happen to Yakupov?

          • pkam

            Huh?

            Who post this at message #30?

            “My thoughts on this:

            Young kid,PPG player playing on the third line.

            A kid that promising and he gets no ice time that never happens.

            Oh man I can’t say such things and look Yakupov in the eye anymore.”

            Is this apples to oranges too?

    • pkam

      Greg was tied for top scorer in Hitmen roster last year playing on the 3rd line. The one who tied with him was an over ager with the same number of goals and assists but much worse +/- in the same number of games.

      He is on the 3rd line again this year and was the Hitmen 2nd best scorer when he was scratched.

      In which of Yakupov’s 3 NHL years has he been our top 3 scorer?

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    Trade him to P.A. where later he could hook up with Draisaitl perhaps . P.A. recently has a similar player under much same circumstances and age that went home . I’m sure P.A. player from central Alberta would enjoy Calgary , and maybe hook up with Virtanen down the road .

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    oh man,

    I really hope this isn’t a Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers prospect issue. You bet that if it’s the case, it will have happened if the tables were turned. I agree that Chase is a 3rd line NHL prospect.

    Can anyone with knowledge in development explain whether there is merit to development in a 3rd line role at the junior ranks? If that would help the final product?

    I wonder if the 67s ever had issues relating to a Maple Leaf’s prospects? Nope.

    I hope this doesn’t affect what I think is a future NHL bottom 6 player’s development.

    Still dreaming of of the line Yak 2.0, Chase and Jujhar….also still dreaming of playoff hockey but those dreams currently lead to beers and bitching

    • PutzStew

      Sorry. Calgary has a much better record in “Class” when it comes to situations like this. (Remember Lowe and the Comrie Trade? Penner? Six rings?), so I don’t think it was that.

      Many people have mentioned his families involvement in hockey so I wonder if they, or even Oilers Management, were being to proactive in giving advice to Calgary and Calgary just said this is not good for our team and sent him home? That seems a much more likely situation to me.