The Edmonton Oilers Prospect Report: Jake Chiasson’s 2022-23 Season Review

Bruce Curlock
11 months ago
To say Jake Chiasson’s start to his career with the Oilers organization has been adventurous would be an understatement. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2021 draft, Chiasson came to Oilers camp and suffered a serious shoulder season that cost him all of the 21/22 season, but for 20 games.
He rehabs in the offseason and was expected to serve a lead role with the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Wheat Kings have an awful season prompting Chiasson to be traded to the Saskatoon Blades for the playoff push ultimately losing to the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL semi-finals.
Chiasson’s season was really two seasons in one. The first part with Brandon where his performance was quite average and the post-trade part of the season with Saskatoon where Chiasson played much better. His totals were 20-38-58 in 70 games with 172 shots on goal. Although plus/minus is an antiquated tool the splits between Brandon and Saskatoon highlight Chiasson’s two seasons in one.
In Brandon, -20 in 37 games. In Saskatoon, Chiasson rebounded to +5 in 33 games. His points per game average in Brandon was .76 and with Saskatoon his average jumped to .91 points per game. Still, at the end of the year, this is a player that I expected much more out of. Given the right side of the Oilers depth chart, anyone who seizes the moment has the potential for an express pass to the Oilers. Can it be Chiasson? Let’s look at some of his year and see whether he has the makeup to push up the chart.

What Did I See This Year?

Jake Chiasson’s year was in many ways a great summary of Jake Chiasson as a draft prospect. A player with great size at 6’2″ and 185 pounds who has very nice skills, but doesn’t quite get as much done as you would hope given all that. If there were ever a clip that illustrates Jake Chiasson, here it is below. Watch this transition three on two where Chiasson receives the puck on the outlet. He takes the puck up the ice on an outside rush. Immediately, he has two options to pass the puck and move into a better position for a return pass or drive the net. He chooses not to do that.
So his teammates set up in a classic attack with a mid-lane net drive and a wide lane drag. The defensemen collapse low given the pressure leaving a big hole for Chiasson to step into and attack the net from the middle. Instead, Chiasson locks in on a cross-ice pass without regard to either the open space or the fact the defender is reading the cross-ice pass already. The result, no scoring chance despite the odd man rush.

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This is such a typical play for Chiasson. Whether it is a lack of vision or a lack of confidence, plays often die on his stick in good-quality spots. If you don’t believe that he can be an effective offensive player when he takes command, watch another clip. Very same set-up with a three-on-two. Watch what happens this time when Chiasson decides to control the three-on-two.

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That’s It? He’s Done?

I appreciate the above introduction may cast a sour note on Chiasson’s future. However, it doesn’t mean the end. The journey for a prospect is never a straight line and there is absolutely lots in Chiasson’s game to love. Let’s start with his hands. Chiasson has an exceptional pair of hands. Watch this clip down low on the powerplay. His ability to transition the puck to a different position on his stick and blade angle is very impressive.

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Interestingly, Chiasson was used a lot down low on the powerplay in Saskatoon. While his size was a part of it, he’s not an overwhelming presence. To me, he was used there because of his hands. The video below shows two great examples of his quick hands. Watch the great pass for the chance in the first part of the clip. Then in the second part, after winning a faceoff, watch his puck retrieval work and how quick his hands work to get the puck to a teammate.

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Jake Chiasson’s most noticeable assets are his hands, especially in tight-area battles. This is a highly valued skill at the professional level. It is the single most compelling reason for me why I think Jake Chiasson can be a successful pro hockey player.

The Motor Is Good

When looking at a player whose stat lines don’t match his skills one area I focus on is the effort level of the player. So as the season progressed, I kept watching Chiasson’s shifts to see what type of effort level was there. In his early days, Chiasson always had his motor going. Here is an example from late last season.

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The encouraging part of my views this year is Chiasson never stopped trying. He kept his feet moving from shift to shift and engaged the puck with aggression. Here is an excellent example of this type of work on the powerplay.

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The Shot Might Be Something Too?

Take a look at these two goals without comment from me. You be the judge. Is there a pro-level shot there?

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Much like his pucks skills, Chiasson’s shot has a little bit of handsy work to it. He can change the blade angle and the shot angle without very much body motion. Again, anything that can deceive a goalie will lead to more scoring chances for a player. If Chiasson continues to work on his shot, I tend to think it will be an asset to him at the pro level.

Where Does It All Stand?

Chiasson has played four seasons in the WHL. Now one was shortened by Covid and another by injury. He’s 20 and doesn’t turn 21 for almost a year. So Chiasson can play again this year in the WHL. The question is should he? I have seen the case for him staying in junior. I don’t agree with it, but I understand the view.
I am on record as saying he needs to turn pro and play at the next level. He has good size and the physical maturity to play against the big boys in the AHL. For me, it is time for Chiasson to get to another level and have his game and mental strength tested. If he can take that step, there is a path to the Oilers that is much quicker than other positions on the Oilers.

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