The Capitals signed forward Alex Chiasson to a Professional Tryout (PTO) contract, the team announced this morning. Training camp opens on Friday. This is the second PTO the Capitals have handed out in the past week. On Tuesday, the club announced that they signed defenseman Jyrki Jokkipakka to a professional tryout.
Chiasson, who turns 27 on October 1, scored 12 goals and 24 points in 81 games played with the Calgary Flames last season and finished with a minus-6 rating. Chiasson finished the 2012-13 lockout season by playing seven games with the Dallas Stars, scoring six goals and seven points. He had 13 goals and 35 points in 79 games, but had a minus-21 rating. He was traded to the Ottawa Senators that summer as part of the Jason Spezza trade and scored a respectable 11 goals and 26 points in 76 games played. He had a bad year, two years ago scoring just eight goals and 14 points in 77 games played, but bounced back nicely with 12 goals and 24 points last year with the Flames.
This is a good, inexpensive way to replace the offense the Capitals lost over the summer. Even if he makes the team, he may not produce the 106 combined points the Capitals lost in Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams over the summer. This signing will definitely make this a more competitive training camp. Chiasson could be a good fit on the third-line with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly.
Chiasson was a really smart shooter last year, scoring on 11.5% of the shots he took. He has strong defensive numbers, with a career-high 32 takeaways last year, averaging 1.5 a game. He has averaged 56 seconds a night on the penalty kill, which the Capitals could need help with, following the departure of defenseman Karl Alzner, even though Chiasson is a forward. If Chiasson hopes to make the team, he must trim down his giveaway numbers. He had 22 giveaways for the Flames last season. Chiasson must also improve his defensive numbers because his career plus/minus rating of minus -27 isn’t going to cut it for the Capitals.
Overall, this is a smart signing by General Manager Brian MacLellan, which could provide the Capitals with more scoring depth and a more competitive training camp.