The Edmonton Oilers have made a surprising late addition to their training camp roster, as the club agreed to a PTO with veteran forward Alex Chiasson late on Monday afternoon. The Montreal native won a Stanley Cup last season with Washington, and played for new assistant Glen Gulutzan during the 2016-17 season in Calgary.
Chiasson will fight for a bottom-six spot on the roster, competing with the likes of fellow PTO’er Scottie Upshall, Dark Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira, Pontus Aberg and Zack Kassian. If he has a solid camp, he could make things very interesting in Edmonton.
Chiasson played in 61 regular season games a year ago for Washington, scoring nine goals and adding nine assists for 18 points. He dressed in 16 playoff games, adding a single goal and an assist for a pair of points.
Chiasson’s value isn’t in the offensive area of the game, that’s for sure. He’s a fourth line player when it comes to offense, but provides his value in different areas of the game. He’s a veteran penalty killer and was used heavily on that unit in Washington a year ago.
Not only that, but Chiasson is a physical player that can get under the opponent’s skin, and isn’t afraid of throwing his weight around or dropping the gloves should need be. He’s the prototypical fourth liner in the NHL, and it’s a role he is good at.
Here’s a look at Chiasson’s scouting report via The Hockey News:
Assets: Has a massive frame and displays plenty of physicality in his game. Owns untapped scoring and power-forward traits. Can be used on special teams at the highest level.
Flaws: Needs to find a higher level of offensive consistency in order to maximize output at the National Hockey League level. Must also reduce his number of bad penalties.
Career Potential: Big, depth winger.
What It Could Mean:
Edmonton has a group at the bottom of the forward depth chart that, to me, isn’t safe. Zack Kassian vastly underperformed a season ago, and is overpaid for what he brings and the role he plays. Pontus Aberg was on the ultimate roller-coaster after coming over via trade late last season, and some believe he might be on the outside looking in right now.
If Upshall and/or Chiasson have a positive impact in camp, is it possible the Oilers sign them to cheap deals and move out some larger contracts? I think there is a realistic chance that someone like Kassian could be moved and replaced by one of these two players.
The Oilers are adding competition, and that is a good thing. Both Upshall and Chiasson are NHL players who are fighting to keep their careers alive. After how poor the bottom-six was a season ago, adding hungry competition can’t hurt this club whatsoever.
I think Chiasson has a chance to earn a contract and make this roster. He’s a Chiarelli-type player and has the trust of one of the new assistant coaches. He’s not going to be an impact player, but Chiasson very well could help the Oilers and fill a depth role this coming season.
It’ll be interesting to see how he looks in camp, and what kind of domino effect it has.