For all the terrible signings and trades Peter Chiarelli made, he did manage to find one diamond in the rough this year. Alex Chiasson came into camp on a PTO, signed a league minimum deal, and has gone on to shatter his career-high in goals half-way through the season. According to Rob Tychkowski, Chiasson has expressed an interest to stay in Edmonton beyond this season.
Despite the Oilers struggles, impending UFA Alex Chiasson has told management he likes it here and wants to re-sign with Edmonton, making it much easier to keep him past the trade deadline.
— Rob Tychkowski (@Rob_Tychkowski) February 5, 2019
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Should the Oilers keep Chiasson around? Or should they thank him for the great season, deal him for a pick, and let somebody else give him big dollars in free agency?
Chiasson a been a perfect fit on this team. He’s big, skilled, and goes to the net. He was once a highly-touted prospect who was the centrepiece of the deal that sent Jason Spezza from Ottawa to Dallas. But, Chiasson is going to be 29 years old at the beginning of next season, he’s riding a whopping 24.6 shooting percentage, and he’s also Edmonton’s best rental asset to dangle at the trade deadline.
This is pretty much the Patrick Maroon situation all over again. Peter Chiarelli found himself a diamond in the rough who thrived in Edmonton’s top-six, shattering career-highs after joining the Oilers. Like Maroon, Chiasson is in his late-20s and is at that stage of his career in which his game could quickly start to decline.
In 44 games with the Oilers, Chiasson has 17 goals and 25 points. Most of that production came during an incredible run in the first three months of the season. In the last month, Chiasson has just one goal over the course of 12 games. That said, while he isn’t scoring at that insane pace anymore, Chiasson is still certainly an effective middle-six winger who forechecks and backchecks effectively. Even if he isn’t scoring, he’s one of Edmonton’s only competent NHL wingers.
Chiasson is also probably Edmonton’s best rental asset come trade deadline time. Other impending free agents on the Oilers roster like Tobias Reider (RFA), Alex Petrovic, Kevin Gravel, and Cam Talbot (UFA) likely don’t have much value. Brian Boyle, a battle-tested 34-year-old bottom-six pivot having a very solid year in New Jersey, fetched the Devils a second-round pick today when he was sent to the Predators. I imagine Chiasson could get the same return.
There’s also always the possibility of trading a player and signing them later in free agency. If that were to happen, I would be comfortable handing Chiasson a deal in the two years, $1.5-2.5 million range. I’d love to have him back, but you can’t do too long of a term for a guy entering his age 29 season having a career year. We said this with Patrick Maroon, but you have to be the team that finds the diamonds in the rough rather than the team that pays for them after they’ve been discovered.
What say you, Nation? Do you think Chiasson is a guy worth keeping around long-term? Or is he a flash-in-the-pan who should be cashed in at the deadline? If he signs, what type of deal would you look for?
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