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Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 Who Got Away: Jason Chimera (8)

The Edmonton Oilers never did figure out what to do with speedy winger Jason Chimera, so rather than take the time to see where he might find a fit, they traded him to the Phoenix Coyotes in December of 2004 for two draft picks that turned into a bunch of nothing – second-rounder Jeff Paukovich and fourth-rounder Liam Reddox. Chimera, who was 24 and had only 130 NHL games on his resume when GM Kevin Lowe sent him away, now has more than 1,100 games under his belt.

When the Oilers drafted Chimera from the Medicine Hat Tigers in 1997, they did so because he could skate. The Edmonton kid weighed 150 pounds soaking wet, but mercy could he motor. By the time Chimera played his first full season with the Oilers, 2002-03, he was six-foot-three and 225 pounds, bringing a physical dimension he’d never had in junior. Chimera could still wheel, and he scored 14 goals his first season playing less than 11 minutes a night, but after he dipped to four goals the next season, it was adios.

Jason Chimera

Left Wing — shoots L
Born May 2nd, 1979 — Edmonton, ALTA
Height 6.03 — Weight 215 [191 cm/98 kg]
Drafted by Edmonton Oilers
Round 5 #121 overall 1997 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

ATOI

2000-01

21

EDM

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

6:58

2001-02

22

EDM

3

1

0

1

-3

0

3

33.3

12:44

2002-03

23

EDM

66

14

9

23

-2

36

90

15.6

10:46

2003-04

24

EDM

60

4

8

12

-1

57

79

5.1

10:07

2005-06

26

CBJ

80

17

13

30

-10

95

127

13.4

12:41

2006-07

27

CBJ

82

15

21

36

2

91

151

9.9

15:22

2007-08

28

CBJ

81

14

17

31

-5

98

198

7.1

17:30

2008-09

29

CBJ

49

8

14

22

8

41

115

7.0

16:15

2009-10

30

TOT

78

15

19

34

-1

98

160

9.4

13:42

2009-10

30

CBJ

39

8

9

17

-7

47

92

8.7

14:47

2009-10

30

WSH

39

7

10

17

6

51

68

10.3

12:36

2010-11

31

WSH

81

10

16

26

-10

64

162

6.2

13:15

2011-12

32

WSH

82

20

19

39

4

78

205

9.8

14:26

2012-13

33

WSH

47

3

11

14

-5

48

92

3.3

12:40

2013-14

34

WSH

82

15

27

42

4

36

167

9.0

15:25

2014-15

35

WSH

77

7

12

19

-1

51

96

7.3

12:56

2015-16

36

WSH

82

20

20

40

0

22

165

12.1

14:03

2016-17

37

NYI

82

20

13

33

1

40

121

16.5

13:04

2017-18

38

TOT

71

3

10

13

-12

37

76

3.9

10:30

2017-18

38

NYI

58

2

9

11

-11

35

70

2.9

11:13

2017-18

38

ANA

13

1

1

2

-1

2

6

16.7

7:18

7 yrs WSH

490

82

115

197

-2

350

955

8.6

13:47

5 yrs CBJ

331

62

74

136

-12

372

683

9.1

15:18

4 yrs EDM

130

19

17

36

-6

93

172

11.0

10:29

2 yrs NYI

140

22

22

44

-10

75

191

11.5

12:18

1 yr ANA

13

1

1

2

-1

2

6

16.7

7:18

Career

1104

186

229

415

-31

892

2007

9.3

13:35

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

2002-03

23

EDM

2

0

2

2

2

0

3

0.0

22

10:55

2008-09

29

CBJ

4

0

1

1

0

2

11

0.0

53

13:21

2009-10

30

WSH

7

1

2

3

2

2

15

6.7

82

11:46

2010-11

31

WSH

9

2

2

4

-3

2

15

13.3

116

12:53

2011-12

32

WSH

14

4

3

7

5

6

28

14.3

192

13:42

2012-13

33

WSH

7

1

2

3

1

4

15

6.7

96

13:40

2014-15

35

WSH

14

3

4

7

4

4

35

8.6

218

15:36

2015-16

36

WSH

12

1

1

2

-1

12

17

5.9

156

13:00

Career

69

12

17

29

10

32

139

8.6

935

13:33

WITH THE OILERS

“I think they traded me because they didn’t know what kind of player I’d become,” said Chimera, who paid his dues with the Oilers by spending three seasons in the AHL with Hamilton. “The first year with the Oilers, I had 14 goals. The next, I didn’t play so much. You don’t think you’re going to get traded, then all of a sudden on the draft floor, they’re calling me and I’m thinking, ‘What the heck?’ ” As I recall, “What the heck” wasn’t the exact phrase, but close enough. The trade stung Chimera at the time.

Coach Craig MacTavish had Ryan Smyth, Raffi Torres, Ethan Moreau – all 20-goal men in 2003-04 – and Brad Isbister on the left side. Every one of them had more pedigree than Chimera, who hadn’t established what his calling card was, outside of his ability to get wherever he was going in a hurry. So, off Chimera went to Phoenix – he never played with the Coyotes because of the NHL lockout and was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 2005-06 season. That’s where Chimera established himself.

DOWN THE ROAD

Mar 21, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks left wing Jason Chimera (20) warms up against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Chimera’s combination of size and speed served him well in Columbus, where he jumped up in ice time from averaging just over 10 minutes a game with the Oilers to 12:41 and 15:22 in his first two seasons with the Jackets under Gerard Gallant. Chimera could check and kill penalties because he could skate. He could bang and he possessed decent enough hands that he scored 17, 15 and 14 goals in this first three seasons in Ohio while playing behind David Vyborny and Rick Nash on the left side.

After parts of five seasons with the Jackets, Chimera would spent parts of seven seasons in Washington, where he twice scored 20 goals and had 40-or-more points for the Capitals, before stops with the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks. In the decade that made up the sweet spot of his career, 2005-06 through 2015-16, Chimera was a reliable third-line player who could get you 15-20 goals and 30-40 points playing in the bottom six. Guys like that don’t grow on trees. Chimera became exactly the kind of player the Oilers could have used during the Decade of Darkness.

This series of various Top 10 lists will focus on the post-1990 Oilers – the players who haven’t played on a Stanley Cup winner in Edmonton.

Previously in this Series:

  • ubermiguel

    Good face-off guy too. I was going to say Chimera was the kind of player the Oilers could have used during the Decade of Darkness but Robin beat me to it. Not going to lie, he’s a UFA this year and I checked out his stats wondering if he’d fit the Oilers; not for his on-ice abilities as much as a veteran that can teach the kids a thing or two about being a pro.

  • SRELIOFAN

    Ugh. The rest of this series is going to be frustrating and depressing. I know hindsight is 20/20, but damn, the Oilers management has a history of making mistakes.

  • tkfisher

    Too bad analytics weren’t a thing back then. Looked like a pretty solid bet to be a consistent 13-17 goal man based on his shooting percentage @ 10% and his points per 60. And then that’s what he did.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Thanks Robin, loving these articles.

    Bringing back not so fond memories of shrieking ‘Not good enough for the Oilers, but good enough to insert favourite (win a Stanley Cup, play 1000 games, etc) and throwing things at the TV

  • ubermiguel

    Just looked at that 1997 draft. The total combined NHL games for all Oilers draftees that year NOT named Chimera: 19 games. The painful part is the Oilers couldn’t recognize their only draft day success so they traded him away.

    • fasteddy

      If you eliminated Cgy’s pick from that year that played the most career games, (43 total), they were in a similar boat….the draft is a very, very fickle beast. People throw around comments like it’s some guaranteed thing that everyone else does well and Edm doesn’t. Absolutely not the case; all teams have significantly more misses than hits. A 19 or 20yo draft might be better for all involved, though I know it’s not likely to happen. My favourite one is the “look at Nash, they know how to develop players”….oh yeah? Take a look…statements like that are completely inaccurate.

      • ubermiguel

        Agreed, I looked at all the teams’ performance, the Oilers were far from the worst that year. Like I say the part that bugged me was Chimera was an amateur scouting win, but the pro organization couldn’t see he was simply having an off-year and dumped him for picks.