Alex Chiasson (Right Wing) - Midseason Grade: C
Our Individual Grades
Alex Chiasson actually had a pretty good season and provided a lot more than I expected him to. He had a couple of terrible seasons in Ottawa and looked awful in the preseason so I truly believed he would be on waivers before the midway point of the season. Sure, he was not a great fit on the top line but nobody should have reasonably expected him to be, that was Gulutzan’s decision. When he played on the third or fourth line, he was able to contribute some solid depth scoring in limited minutes. He actually had the 4th best possession numbers among Flames forwards, so really he is exactly what you would like to have in a 4th line forward that can be bumped up the third line when necessary. He paired really nicely with Sam Bennett on the penalty-kill as well. He should not cost a lot to re-sign and I would be happy to see him back next season.
Alex Chiasson was a classic low risk/high reward signing this offseason and the Flames won out in the end. Chiasson played in 81 of the Flames 82 games and while he started slow and was a bit streaky, he really settled in when he was paired with Kris Versteeg and Sam Bennett. That trio gave the Flames some real punch and Chiasson’s 12G and 12A were a 10 point improvement from his 2015-16 totals. My defining moment for Chiasson this season was when he was the only Flames player to stand up for Johnny Gaudreau after he got leveled, at a time when the Flames looked like they were giving up on each other. I’m all in on another 24+ point season from Chiasson next year, if the Flames choose to bring him back.
Once Chiasson was put in a role that was more suited to his skillset, he really thrived with the Flames as a player that could put the puck in the net, but also check. If the Flames had been able to use him in a more appropriate role all season, I probably would’ve been even happier, but their hands were kind of tied when Brouwer didn’t work on the top line. 24 points aren’t bad at all for a bottom six forward. Considering all the Flames had to give up for him was an AHL defenseman, I think it was a really solid acquisition. Will Chiasson be back? My gut says no because the Flames have some younger players looking to make a push for the big club, but if he comes back, I’ll have no problem with it.
Of all Flames forwards, Chiasson ranked fifth in relative xG% trailing only the 3M line and Matt Stajan. He was quite good for a very cheap cost, though his luck was rather bad as the team’s save percentage dropped by over 1.5 percent with him on the ice (Unless you believe that a right wing can have that effect on save percentage [spoiler alert - it can’t]). Whether or not he should be back depends on what the Flames do in the offseason - in an ideal world he would get sports over Troy Brouwer and Lance Bouma, both of whom are bad at hockey, but the Flames are not in an ideal world.
Assuming the Flames make absolutely no maneuvers and re-sign their restricted free agents, they’ll at least have Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Micheal Ferland, Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Sam Bennett, Troy Brouwer, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, and Curtis Lazar under contract. While many have that last spot slated in for Kris Versteeg, Chiasson is a better fit. With that being said, the Flames have Mark Jankowski who should have done enough to earn a spot this last year in Stockton and have guys like Hunter Shinkaruk and Andrew Mangiapane who should get the opportunity to earn a spot, thus meaning that Chiasson could be on the outside looking in.
Our Final Grade: B
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