Throughout the coming weeks, CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2014-15 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Jason Chimera
Position: Left Wing
Age: 36 [turns 37 May 2]
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 217
Penalty minutes: 51
Average Ice Time: 12:56
Playoff games: 14
Penalty minutes: 4
Average Ice Time: 15:36
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 2-year, $4 million contract [2015-16 salary: $2 million; cap hit: $2 million]
Strengths: First and foremost, Chimera is still an effective player in the NHL because of his speed. Still one of the fastest players on the Capitals, Chimera used that speed and physicality to be one of the Caps’ best forwards in the post-season with seven points in 14 games. Not bad when measured what he described as a “terrible” regular season. “It was a bad season personally, for sure,” Chimera said. “When the playoffs come around, everything goes out the window. You want to win the Cup and that’s all you think about. [Barry Trotz] showed a lot of trust in me in the playoffs. It was fun to play with [Evgeny Kuznetsov]. He does some pretty special things out there.” Chimera’s ability to kill penalties and his Tiggerlike presence in the locker room also made him a valuable piece to the Caps’ puzzle.
Room for improvement: Does stubbornness count? In his post-season news conference, Trotz acknowledged he had his share of run-ins with the outspoken Chimera throughout the season. “The great thing about Chimmer is that he’s an older guy who’s been around and he can be very stubborn, and at times he probably was,” Trotz said. “But at the same time he’s very realistic, too. He had a great playoff. At the end of the year I wasn’t giving in and we were both sort of not giving in. When he finally came over to what I expected of Jason Chimera he was a hell of a player for us. He brings a lot of life to the dressing room, brings a lot of speed to our team.” At times, Chimera can be guilty of allowing his emotions to get the best of him on the ice, resulting in retaliatory penalties.
Memorable Moment: Locked in a 20-game goal-less drought, Chimera broke free in dramatic fashion in a March 29 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Chimera scored two third-period goals less than 3 minutes apart to give the Caps their first win over the Rangers and earning the headline “Chimeracle on 34th Street.”
Quotable: “It still feels pretty bad, like you lost someone in your family. We were really starting to believe. We were a bounce away from going on.” – Chimera on breakup day
2015-16 Expectations: Facing what could be his final NHL season, Chimera is as much a part of the Capitals’ fabric as any player in the locker room. Loud and rambunctious on and off the ice, if he can co-exist with Trotz for another season Chimera can still be an effective forward at 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill, capable of scoring 12 to 15 goals. But his real value comes in the playoffs, where he has 27 points in 57 games.