Silver Nuggets: Alex Chiasson's decreasing role

Alex Chiasson has found himself walking on thin ice recently, with his ice time per game on a pretty linear decline if you look at his ice-time per month (below). If you think that March average looks bad, here's his ice-time for the Senators last five games: v. CGY - 9:59, v. BOS - 8:23, v. MTL - 7:36, v. NYI - 5:58 (!), v. PHI - 7:25.

Why is that? Let's look at some statistics, from War On Ice, to try and see if there's something there.

Month

Points

On-Ice shooting %

Shots/game

CF% Rel.

SCF% Rel.

Oct

3

6.7

1.55

-5.6

-3.6

Nov

4

13.0

1.18

-7.8

-13.2

Dec

3

5.2

1.46

5.6

7.1

Jan

1

4.9

1.63

1.4

1.9

Feb

3

5.6

1.2

5.6

5.8

Mar

2

10.7

0.75

-4.2

2.1

Firstly, yeesh these are lousy numbers. Shot rates are generally the best indication of how much a player is individually doing to increase his possession numbers, so the fact that they've remained pretty steady around 1.2 - 1.6 shots a game, despite the Senators changing their head coach and (supposedly) their system, it's worrying that we haven't seen any improvement. Another thing that's cool to see is the similarity between Chiasson's Corsi Relative numbers - showing his rank on the team in terms of shot attempt differential - and his Scoring Chance For Relative numbers. When one is high, the other is generally high too, because shot attempts leads to scoring chances which hopefully leads to goals. If we take those numbers in conjunction with his ice-time data, we can start to paint a picture about his season. Paul MacLean tried playing Chiasson in the top-six (with the Turris line to start, and then with the Zibanejad line), leading to solid ice-time for the 24 year old, but unfortunately, he didn't produce, with only 7 points in those two months and porous possession numbers. When Dave Cameron took over at the start of December, Chiasson's ice-time dropped and he started to play against easier competition, which led to better possession and scoring chance numbers relative to the team, but he still didn't produce, perhaps because of his low on-ice shooting percentage. This continued in January and February, but with only 4 points in those two months combined and no change in shot rate, I think Dave Cameron has seen enough of the young forward and his ice-time reflects his position on the team - he's in healthy scratch territory.

What's next for Chiasson? He's still young... ish, and was highly thought of last year before an abdominal injury sidelined him for the season. He also has size and good hand-eye coordination, but doesn't seem to have the ability to handle the puck swiftly in traffic in order to drive the net. Perhaps then, his goal in the offseason should be to work on his skating to gain separation from players in order to beat them to the net and crash for some tip-in goals.

Chiasson is also in a precarious position as an RFA this season, so the Senators will have his rights no matter what. I don't think his case will be strong in arbitration, nor do I think the team would like to re-sign him to a long-term deal. Thus, it's up to Chiasson to prove himself on a short-term deal, or potentially be included as part of a package for a better player if Bryan Murray and co. can convince someone to take a chance on him.

Do you still have hope?

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Sens Links

Hockey Links

  • The GM meetings are happening this week, and there are plans for Sens GM Bryan Murray to be honoured by his peers. [NHL, Sportsnet]
  • A column on the sexual assault, and a potential NHL suspension for Mike Riberio. [Other Half Sports]
  • Alexander Ovechkin is having ANOTHER fantastic year, especially when most of the stars in the league are scoring at a lower pace than previous years. [Sportsnet, NY Post]
  • A column on the AHL's shift to Western America. [The Globe & Mail]/

What're your thoughts on Alex Chiasson?

Murray and co. misevaluated - try to trade him72
Murray and co. might have misevaluated, but he's still young. Give him time on a short-term deal98
Chiasson is great and will break out soon - the Sens should re-sign him to a long-term deal7
(other - comment what you think)3

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