When he was signed to a one-year, $700,000 contract on the first day of free agency, it’s likely few fans paid much attention to defenseman Taylor Chorney. Seen primarily as the team’s depth defenseman, Chorney was expected to spend most of the season in the press box; likely only stepping in when needed by head coach Barry Trotz.
But more than halfway into a season that’s seen the Capitals’ defensive depth tested, Chorney has proven to be a very good signing by General Manager Brian MacLellan.
In 39 games played, Chorney has five assists, averaged 12:59 of ice time, and is a plus-20. Sound defensively, Chorney has been extremely valuable during the time that top-pairing blueliner Brooks Orpik has been sidelined with an injury; the injury has forced Trotz to jumble the defense pairings and Chorney has played well in a third-pairing role. When he’s on the ice, the Capitals start more faceoffs in the offensive zone rather than the defensive zone, further exemplifying the defensive effectiveness of Chorney.
With Orpik’s recovery progressing, it’s possible he’ll return to the lineup within the next few weeks. When he returns to the lineup, Chorney will likely be sent to the press box to watch games, as there will be no room for him in the lineup. However, depth in hockey is quite important, and it’s possible Chorney gets a chance to return to the lineup for a game or two before the regular season ends. Whether he returns next season is a question for the offseason, but there’s no doubt that the journeyman blueliner has fit in well in DC. Chorney may have finally found a home.
By Michael Fleetwood