Will 2015-16 Be Jason Chimera’s Last Season In the NHL?- by Michael Fleetwood

(Photo: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America)

The Capitals acquired left wing Jason Chimera on December 28, 2009 from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for then-captain Chris Clark, and defenseman Milan Jurcina. At the time, Chimera was just 31-years old and the Caps wanted him to play on the third-line. Clark, a right-handed shot, had been playing on the left side and his inability to stay healthy caused him to miss substantial time. In Jurcina’s case, the Caps had a crowded blueline with the additions of youngsters Karl Alzner and John Carlson. To say the Capitals won the deal would probably be an understatement: Clark played just 89 games in a Blue Jackets sweater due to injuries, and Jurcina played 17 games before having surgery for a hernia. In 406 games with Washington, Chimera has compiled a total of 157 points (62 goals, 95 assists). Clark had 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists), while Jurcina put three points on the board (1 goal, 2 assists) before playing two seasons with the New York Islanders.

But while Chimmer had become one of the Caps’ most valuable players both on the ice and off, he may be slowing down. After putting up 42 points in 82 games in 2013-14, Chimera tallied just 19 points this past season. At 36-years old, Chimera is entering the final year of a two-year contract signed after his 20-goal season. The question now becomes: if Chimera struggles to produce points in ’15-16, will the Caps let him go?

There have been many memorable moments: his goal in the 2012 playoffs versus the Bruins, his knockout of Zac Rinaldo in a game in Philadelphia, and his many moments spent with recently-departed Joel Ward.  But looking at the young forward prospects in the organization such as Jakub Vrana, Riley Barber, Liam O’Brien, and Chandler Stephenson; it’s plausible to believe Chimera could be playing his last year in a Caps sweater. But would Chimera continue to play in the NHL if he feels his body can withstand an 82-game season? His skating speed is still his biggest asset, and hasn’t declined much since he joined the Capitals. But will he be able to stay physically healthy at the age of 37? That’s a question only Chimera himself can answer.

Hockey is a business and it is a cruel business at times; as the departure of Mike Green illustrates. So if Chimera decides to continue his career,  it’s likely with all the young prospects in-waiting that one of the most-liked players on the team could be spending his final year with Washington.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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4 Responses to Will 2015-16 Be Jason Chimera’s Last Season In the NHL?- by Michael Fleetwood

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    I remember the day the Chimera trade took place — soon after Christmas. I was taking off time from work, giving myself a Christmas vacation and had actually attended the Caps’ practice that morning (and the morning before.) My reaction — shock! While it seemed like a logical trade at the time, as the Caps had too many right wingers and not enough left wingers, I still felt sad, as Clark was my favorite player, after Ovi and Semin. I felt so bad that injuries had basically robbed Clark of the skill that had made him good, even though it was a late blooming skill. At the time, I did NOT like Chimera, recalling him as one of the guys on Columbus who had helped to injure Ovi in a game in early November. (I had latched onto him as my target of dislike, especially when his surname was that of a monster in Greek mythology.) I did grow to accept Chimmer as a Cap and even met him at an autograph signing and he seems like an okay fellow. I learned he’s of Ukrainian descent. (I’d bet his original family name was “Khymera” — as transliterated from the Cyrillic. And that they translated the name when coming to Canada from the Ukraine. Khymera is actually a legitimate Ukrainian last name.) He’s given the Caps some good seasons and many memories, especially in the 2010 playoffs vs the Rangers.

    • Yes, at first I was shocked as well. I too liked Clark and to be honest, had never heard of Chimera. It’s always hard to see a favorite player leave, whether through free agency or trade (i.e Green, Ward, Fehr, Brouwer). The harsh reality to me, is that hockey is a business). Thanks for sharing!

  2. jonmsorensen says:

    Great look-back Diane.

  3. Pingback: Will the Caps Bring Back Jason Chimera? | NoVa Caps

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