From Alzner to Wideman, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2011-12 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2012-13. Next up,.
#25 / Left Wing / Washington Capitals
Key Stat: Chimera's even strength points/60 rate of 2.24 was the highest on the team during the playoffs.
The Good: In a season filled with surprises, the performance of Jason Chimera was probably one of the bigger and more pleasant ones, as he not only demolished his previous career highs in a number of categories - including goals in both the regular season (20) and playoffs (4) - but also spent a good deal of the season among the team's scoring leaders.
Through the first three months of the season, only Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom scored more goals than Chimera, and he finished the year with the third-highest goal total on the team behind Ovechkin (38) and Alexander Semin (21). His five game-winning goals were tied for the team lead, and he was one of only two players to score a shorthanded goal - in fact, he had two of the three shorthanded goals the team scored all season, and was the only player to score one until Brooks Laich's tally against Toronto in March.
Chimera turned into a bit of a Southeast Beast this year, with ten goals and sixteen points in twenty-four games against division rivals. And his scoring touch continued into the playoffs, his speed proving to be a bit more than New York could handle as he racked up four goals to trail just Ovechkin for the team lead and double his previous career high set a season ago; his seven points in fourteen games tied for the third-highest point total on the team. His goal against the Rangers in Game 6 was his seventh point and fourth career playoff goal against Henrik Lundqvist - and his third game-winner.
The Bad: Despite his hot hand over the course of the regular season, Chimera seemed to cool slightly as the season went on and lost a little of the consistency he'd established early on. After lighting the lamp on numerous occasions over the first few months, he had lengthy droughts between goals from December to March including two goal-less streaks that hit eleven games. That seemed to carry over a bit into the Caps' first-round series against the Bruins, as well. He managed just two points against Boston, both in the final two games of the series - his only goal came in a losing effort on home ice in Game 6, his only assist a secondary helper on Matt Hendricks' opening tally in Game 7.
And while he did provide an unexpected amount of offense for the Caps this year, he also had a tendency toward bad retaliatory penalties - the chippy stuff is a part of every game, but it's the stuff that happens after the stuff that tends to get called and Chimera found himself in the box for a lot of... well, stuff. He averaged a penalty per 60 minutes during the regular season, one of the higher rates among forwards on the team, and his 24 minor penalties on the season were second only to the infamous Semin.
The Vote: Rate Chimera below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: Chimera's twenty goals were just shy of his total combined output from the two seasons prior - how much, if any, do you expect him to regress next year? Coming off a career year and boasting a reasonable cap hit of just under $2 million for the next two seasons, would you like to see Chimera finish out his contract as a Cap or perhaps used as trade bait? What do you see his role being going forward? Can he hit (or exceed) the 20-goal plateau again? Finally, what will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?