Alex Chiasson came into the NHL with a bang. He scored a mind-blowing ten goals in his first ten NHL games starting at the end of the 2013 campaign. While the goal scoring has been a welcome sight on the scoresheet, Chiasson's role on the Dallas Stars has been bigger than many probably anticipated for someone that had played less than one full season as a pro before making his NHL debut.
Chiasson has slotted in quite nicely for Dallas on the second line, continuing his chemistry with Ray Whitney from last season. He's been logging some big minutes for the team, factoring in all parts of the game. But how does his game compare to other top rookies so far this season?
Chiasson is ranked fourth among rookies in the NHL with 11 total points (5 goals, 6 assists). His goals came in a bunch to start the season -- five goals in his first nine games to start the year. He hasn't scored a goal since October 24th, when he scored two against the Calgary Flames. He hasn't been off the scoresheet entirely in that span, however, as he's still been factoring in on goals scored by his line as evidenced by the assists he's putting up.
Chiasson's shooting percentage has fallen back to reality, dropping to 9.8 percent from an absurd number to start the season. You'll notice that a lot of these rookies are enjoying high shooting percentages that most likely aren't sustainable, so you should see some of the point production slow on these rookies as the season progresses.
When you look at the advanced stats of these top ten rookies, you'll notice a couple of things.
Chiasson has one of the lowest PDOs in the group. (PDO is basically a team's even strength shooting percentage and even strength percentage summed together; generally, 1000 is the average.) His score being below 1000 means that he's hit a streak of bad luck, so you can expect his scoring to pick up slightly over time. However, a lot of these rookies are seeing PDOs over 1000, so you can expect their scoring to slow down over time.
He is also getting a good percentage of offensive zone starts at even strength, but he is by no means the most sheltered among the rookies. Unfortunately, Chiasson tends to end his shifts outside of the offensive zone more often than not -- those turnovers by that second line have been a big reason why.
|Player Name||Team||Position||Age||PDO||Offensive Zone %|
Chiasson is playing one of the most complete games among the rookies. His play on the ice shows that he is being entrusted with quite a large role on his team -- he's being trusted to play on the power play and on the penalty kill, one of only three rookies seeing more than a minute on average on the PK (and if we exclude Arcobello, who has more professional hockey experience under his belt than Chiasson, that would put him in the top two.)
More interestingly, Chiasson is getting the highest average power play time among all the other rookies at the top of the scoring list. Considering how terrible the Stars' power play has been of late and the amount of time Chiasson is playing on the man advantage, it begs the question: Is the Stars power play bad because of Chiasson's bad luck, or is Chiasson's bad luck due to the Stars' bad power play? I'm going to say it's probably a little bit of both -- if the power play starts clicking, we can expect Chiasson's point production to go up and he may have a chance of being the leading rookie scorer. Feels kind of like a big "IF" there, doesn't it?
|Player Name||Team||Position||Age||ES TOI/G||SH TOI/G||PP TOI/G||TOI/G|
If you look at everything as a whole, Chiasson is being asked to fill a larger role on his team than some of the other high-scoring rookies. He's become quite good on the Stars penalty kill, and doesn't look out of place being shorthanded. He's the net-front presence on the Stars second power play unit. In general, he's being relied on to play a more complete game than some of the other rookies.
There was talk before the season started that he could be a dark horse contender for the Calder, the award given to the top rookie. The past few seasons, the top points earner has been the odds-on favorite for the award. The real definition of the award states that the Calder will be awarded to the "player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition." The fact that Chiasson is playing large minutes in multiple situations and producing should give him consideration in the talk, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't end up in the finalist list. Seth Jones is playing huge minutes against tough competition in Nashville and could be considered more "proficient" at his position while Chiasson may not outscore enough rookie forwards to garner a nod that way.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Chiasson is doing everything he needs to do to develop and contribute to the Dallas Stars this season. That's exactly what the team needs if they hope to make the playoffs this year. Hardware would just be icing on the cake.