Jason Chimera in one of three unrestricted free agents* that the Washington Capitals’ will consider signing over the summer—or not. The Caps’ community love this guy, but do we love him enough to want to sign a 37 year old third-liner for another couple of years. We don’t question his ability because of his age; however, it surely is part of what management is thinking about as they consider the upside and downside of keeping him on the Caps roster.
So a little background. Jason was signed by the Caps in 2009. He previously played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers. He makes $2 million a year – a sizable hit to the salary cap but not outrageous—unless the Caps want to bring in someone and pay them more. That’s probably one for the con column.
His penalty minutes are actually down! In seven years with the Caps he has had 350 minutes compared to the 372 with the Oilers in five years. This season he has spent less time in the box than in his entire career. So while some will point to penalty minutes – we think he has it under control. Ok with the exception of a stick thing in the playoffs…
And since we are talking playoffs—he was a bit of a no-show in the scoring department when the team needed him most: against Pittsburgh. He had an assist the first game of the second round but after that his production tanked. In all fairness, the third and fourth lines weren’t the heavy lifters in the series so we can’t count him down too much for the Pens win.
Why We Say, “Sign Him Up.”
Like a fine wine, this left winger gets better with time. He had one of his best seasons in 2015/16. He ended the regular season with 40 points. His previous high was 42 in the 2014/15 season.
Chimera is a clutch player in the truest sense of the word. He pulls out all the stops when the Caps are in need of that extra push. As a Washington Capital, he has 11 game-winning goals in the regular season and another six in the playoffs.
Being a clutch player also makes him one of the fastest and toughest players on the team. Never thought of as an ‘enforcer,’ Chimera is a brute on the ice. His Corsi average for control of the puck suggests that when the Ice Cheetah is skating, the team is controlling the puck.
He is one of those ‘seasoned leaders’ we hear the upper management talk about. He brings a tenacious desire to win tempered with the ability to make the guys laugh and lighten up at just the right time. With 951 regular season games, this guy has seen it all.
Is that enough you ask? The Capitals need leadership in the locker room. They need someone to lighten things up when they are down. They need someone who wants to win with THIS team more than just about anything. We think Jason Chimera has proven himself to be an asset and if they can afford to keep him—they should.
*Unrestricted free agents in the NHL are players without contract renewals who can consider offers from other teams without the last team they played with placing any restrictions on them.