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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Good Coin For Little Return

It was expected that the Ottawa Senators were taking a bit of a loss when they traded Jason Spezza to Dallas for Alex Chiasson, but I'm not sure that a 26-point season was the return they were expecting. Chiasson was supposed to provide some immediate scoring on the wing for the Senators, but he didn't really pan out in terms of being the scorer they needed. While he was effective at using his body along the boards, finding the back of the net was more of a challenge. It was expected that Chiasson would ask for a raise upon becoming a restricted free agent, but asking for one and deserving one are two completely different things.

I'm not one for calling out bloggers who do work for specific teams, but the garbage I read today over at a certain site regarding Chiasson's play last season is beyond laughable. Chiasson earned $900,000 for his play last season, and was awarded a $1.2 million, one-year contract by an arbitrator this season. While a modest $300,000 raise is fine by most salary cap standards, I'm not sure that Chiasson deserved a raise based on his lackluster stats and rather indifferent play.

One of the more unfathomable statements by the writer above was,
"Last season, Chiasson was instrumental on the power play, scoring three goals and adding three helpers, while using his 6′ 4, 205-pound frame to his advantage, dishing out a career-high 93 hits."
How three goals and three assists on the power-play makes one "instrumental" is beyond me. He was ninth-best on his own team in power-play points - one better than "defensive MVP" Patrick Wiercioch - and four points back of Clarke MacArthur who played 14 fewer games than Chiasson.

To make matters worse, the writer above dropped this gem of a line in writing, "... he brings just as much to the table as the aforementioned Ryan and Hoffman" in his article. Yes, the 26-point Chiasson brings as much to the table as the 54-point Bobby Ryan and 48-point Mike Hoffman. This comparison is beyond insane. How is that Chiasson can average one minute less per game than Mike Hoffman yet finish 21 points fewer than Hoffman if they bring the same amount to the table? Could it be effort? Heart? Determination? The will to head into high-traffic areas? The sacrifice of giving up a puck to get it back? Any or all of the above?

Let's be honest here in saying that the 25 year-old Chiasson has all the potential in the world to be a gamer. He could show up next season with a little more muscle and take some major steps forward in being the solid power forward the Senators need. The difference between potential and talent, though, is a wide gap, and it's up to Chiasson to close it. Asking for a raise when you've done little to justify said raise is pretty ballsy in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league.

"In our opinion, both sides made fair, detailed arguments and we are satisfied with the ruling of the arbitrator," Senators general manager Bryan Murray said after the arbitrator's ruling. "We are happy to have Alex under contract and anticipate that he will be a productive player for us this season. Alex will be given the chance to have an important role in the team's success."

Sounds like the ball is squarely in Chiasson's court to prove to the Senators that he's worth the money. There's no question that the Senators want him to become more of a regular scoring threat, and they were prepared to meet Chiasson's demands with an arbitrator's ruling. After all, when a writer who is signing your praises writes just below that Chiasson "... will also have room to improve his defensive game which admittedly needs work," chances are you aren't a very strong player at the NHL level, especially when Ottawa needs a very good defensive game in the division they play.

But when writing statements such as Chiasson's "tireless contributions and tremendous potential will definitely be something that the Ottawa Senators can take to the bank", you have to wonder if people are watching the game at all. If 26 points are "tireless contributions", there should be a number of overpaid players in the NHL. And all the "tremendous potential" and a loonie will still only get you a cup of coffee. It's the realization of that potential that makes players rich.

You can take that to the bank instead if you're looking to yield a payoff.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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