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.