New York Islanders Jason Chimera is Net Positive
The New York Islanders will start the 2016-17 season without heart and soul player Matt Martin. In the free agency window, the Islanders signed Jason Chimera, previously of the Washington Capitals. Can he effectively replace Martin?
On the opening day of the NHL’s free agency window, the New York Islanders signed veteran forward Jason Chimera to a two-year $2.25 million deal.
At 37-years-old Chimera should be on the decline. His best years should have certainly passed him by. Just look over this analysis done by nerdhockey.com back in 2015. From their analysis, forwards tend to peak at 25 years old no matter where they fit in the organizational depth charts.
So at 37 Jason Chimera should be well passed that window. So why-oh-why did our Islanders sign him to a two-year-deal and commit $4.5 million to him?
As you’ll see, age really just seems to be a number for Jason Chimera. Much like Jaromir Jagr, age has yet to catch up to the Edmonton, Alberta native. But that doesn’t mean we’re totally out of the woods on this deal.
Jason Chimera in 2016-17
Last season Chimera posted 40 points for his Washington Capitals, 20 goals, and 20 assists. A great tally for a 37-year-old. Heck, that would have been a great tally for Matt Martin, who is ten years his junior. Last season Martin had a career year, with 19 points!
Some of you might rightly point out that Chimera played for a team that had a +59 goal differential and coming in second to the high-flying Dallas Stars in terms of goals scored with 252 goals.
I thought the same initially. “Chimera must be a benefactor of his surroundings”. He’s surrounded by players like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evegeny Kuznetsov. He’s likely benefiting for some playing time with them.
In terms of 5v5 play, where Chimera scored 78% of his points, he played ~93 minutes combined with those three players. Total points Chimera has with those players: two. That’s right two.
Chimera spent most of the year playing alongside Jay Beagle (~442 minutes) and Tom Wilson (~561 minutes). Players that are slotted for third and fourth line duties, at least unofficially. The total number of points he had with those players? A combined 25 points.
Chimera is an Improvement
Chimera gets it done with third and fourth line duties. Which is likely to be his assignment here in Brooklyn. Likely, playing alongside Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas.
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Chimera has an offensive upside compared to Martin, that much is obvious. And for an offensively deficient team like the Islanders were in 2015-16, this is a great addition. Chimera is also more disciplined that Martin.
Matt Martin ranked a tied eighth in the league in terms of penalty minutes with Dustin Byfuglien at 119 minutes. Chimera had 22 penalty minutes in 2015-16, good for 211th on the list (for some reason ESPN doesn’t list him in their rankings).
Take away Martin’s 11 fighting majors and he’s still at 64 penalty minutes for the year, just under three times more than Chimera. There’s no debate, Chimera is a more disciplined player.
On the flip side, however, Chimera doesn’t hit nearly as often as Martin does. A net difference of 262 hits between the two players for 2015-16. But with Cal “bettering-ram” Clutterbuck, who ranked fourth in hits for 2015-16 on the team, adding Martin’s 365 hits seem excessive for one team.
Chimera is, as I’ve stated a few times, 37-years-old. His production can fall off a cliff at any moment. In 2014-15 Chimera had a 19 point season between 40+ point seasons. There’s no guarantee he’ll score at the same pace.
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The potential for a success is there. I’d say more so than a complete and utter failure. Not that a failure isn’t out of the question, but the chance of such are less than the potential for success. Paying $2.25 million for a potential upgrade on Martin is a great decision if it pans out. It’s better than paying $10 million over four years for Martin.