The Pittsburgh Penguins could always use a big body who can skate. It helps when that big player also plays an honest, straight forward game and just set a career high in goals and points. Alex Chiasson could help the Penguins and a source close to the Penguins front office indicated Sunday afternoon the Penguins had some interest in the winger.
Last season, Chiasson scored a career-high 22 goals and 38 points with the Edmonton Oilers. He as aided by eight power-play goals, and eight power play assists. His power-play tallies were more than he’s scored in the last four years combined.
Chiasson, 28, shuffled around the Oilers lineup. like most everyone except Connor McDavid. Chiasson saw equal time with McDavid and second line center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The extra sunlight and nearly 17 minutes per game helped Chiasson bloom. Though he is unlikely a legitimate top-six winger, he showed an ability to play with talented players and contribute on multiple levels. His big season came not a moment too soon. His salary levels have shrunk from $1.2 million just a few years ago to near the bare minimum $650,000 last season.
The Edmonton Oilers had below par advanced analytics, so it’s tough to extrapolate too much. However, Chiasson and McDavid had bad numbers by team comparison (46% Corsi). So did he Chiasson and Nugent-Hopkins (43.5%). Chiasson posted across the board 46-48% Corsi, scoring chance and high-danger scoring chances without the top two.
Stats according to the line tool on Natural Stat Trick.
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound right wing does not register large hit statistics, though he is physical and tough to play against. He is a power forward who doesn’t always play as a power forward. Most of his career in Dallas, Calgary, and Washington has been as a down line grinder who knows how to use his large frame.
Perhaps the Penguins could convince him he is a power forward. The Penguins current lineup is short on right side scoring, as we laid it out Sunday. A player like Chiasson would have the opportunity to earn playing time beside two big centers like Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad.
Chiasson does know how to win. He was part of the historical, fountain-swimming, don’t-stop-partying-until-Brooks-Orpik-says-when Washington Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup championship.
Contractually, Chiasson’s contract is a guessing game. His 38 point outburst puts him in the $2-$3 million range but a single big year from a 28-year-old may suppress that a little. Then again, it is July 1 and free agency fever grips GMs across the league. Chiasson’s additional skills could solidify him on the top end of the scale.
Chiasson can also contribute on special teams. In addition to 16 power-play points last season, he also had a shorthanded point. Numerous teams are reportedly interested because of Chiasson’s size and affordability. Of course with teams bigging, he may not be as affordable at noon.