As the offseason begins, we’ll take a player-by-player look at the year that was for the Washington Capitals.
Ht: 6-2 / Wt: 216
NHL seasons: 8
2010-11 Regular season stats: 81 GP, 10g, 16a, minus-10, 64 pims.
Playoff stats: 9 GP, 2g, 2a, minus-3, 2 pims.
Contract status: $1.875 million in 2010-11, $1.875 million in 2011-12.
The year that was: Jason Chimera recorded more points (26) than he had since 2007-08 (31) in a season that saw him play on nearly every line – including the top line, where he skated alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
What Chimera’s most recently completed campaign will likely be most remembered for, though, is the game-winning goal in double overtime of Game 4 against the Rangers that arguably served as the catalyst for Washington to win that first-round series.
Chimera’s speed is his biggest asset, as well as the reason he could be shifted around on various lines to provide a spark. When he was paired with Marcus Johansson and either Eric Fehr or Brooks Laich in the playoffs, that third line was often the Capitals’ best and most consistent. That said, for the scoring chances Chimera gets, he can’t always find a way to make them connect. Although he can have a presence in and around the net (as the playoffs showed), that physical element isn’t necessarily consistent.
Looking ahead: For all of Chimera’s contributions, consistency seems to be the element most desired from the veteran winger. The lack of it made Boudreau sit him as a healthy scratch for one game late in the season. The move ultimately sparked Chimera, who has never scored 20 goals in a season during his career, but with his ability to impact a game showcased regularly in the playoffs, it’s hard not to want more of the same in the regular season.
Etc.: The Stanley Cup playoffs are filled with stories of grinders and role players who step up in key moments to score a memorable goal or play a crucial role. Chimera became the latest Capital to join those ranks when he followed up his own shot by driving to the net in Game 4 of Washington’s first-round series against the Rangers and the puck bounced his way.
When New York’s Marian Gaborik poked the puck away from Henrik Lundqvist, it hit Chimera in the chest, then fell to the ice before being knocked into the net. The tally marked the conclusion of a single-game comeback for the Capitals, and was a goal that Chimera afterward compared to rather significant life events.
“It is up there in your life. I don’t know -- it is next to maybe getting married and having kids as the best thing that has happened to me,” Chimera said at the time. “I should say besides getting married. It is nice. Kids are No. 1, but this is pretty up there. It’s awesome. There is no better feeling in the world. When you’re a hockey player, you want the game on your stick.”