From Alzner to Wideman, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2010-11 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2011-12. Next up, Jason Chimera.
#25 / Left Wing / Washington Capitals
Key Stat: Chimera's points per 60 minutes at even-strength (1.34) was at its lowest season rate since the lockout.
Interesting Stat: Chimera skated more even-strength shifts alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom than with any other forward combination (and eight of his 26 points involved a goal or assist by one or both of those two).
The Good: Well, you see where we're going here. But any discussion of the successes of Chimera's 2010-11 season has to begin with the playoffs, where he notched half of the team's game winning goals in the post-season, including this shocker at Madison Square Garden to throw a wet blanket over the Rangers faithful. Keeping with the playoffs, he doled out 25 hits in the Caps' nine contests, second only to the captain's 40.
Though not getting much 4-on-5 time during the regular season (or playoffs), he performed fairly well in limited action helping to kill penalties, and reduced his GA/60 on the kill from 7.45 in 2009-10 to 4.47 this past season.
The Bad: Excepting the 2008-09 campaign when he played in just 49 games for the Blue Jackets, Chimera's goal total was the lowest of any post-lockout season. As was his shooting percentage -- his shots per game were virtually identical to last season. His TOI/G saw but a minor reduction (from 13:42 in 2009-10), so lack of opportunity was not to blame. One measurable explanation for decreased production might be his average shot distance, which increased to 32.7 ft from 31.5 ft in 2009-10.
As for his checking line duties, he again finished the season with near the worst blocks per game on the team (0.197, better than only Alexander Semin). His ratio of giveaways to takeaways was about dead even, but dead even left him dead last in that department amongst all forwards who saw regular third or fourth line duty. To top it off, in front of the home crowd, he finished a team-worst minus 11. The next-worst +/- rating at home belonged to D.J. King, at minus 2.
Chimera's speed and size, in theory, should lead defenders to take penalties in an effort to stem what ideally would be consistent offensive pressure from a well-executed cycling effort. To that end, Chimera's ratio of team penalties drawn to those taken per 60 minutes at even-strength led all Caps' forwards (minimum 20 GP). Sounds good, right? Except that, this past season, as in his Capitals portion of the 2009-10 schedule, he committed more penalties than he drew (14 to 10). (To reconcile that discrepancy in team vs. individual stats, see Johansson, Marcus.)
Finally, though perhaps all is forgiven with a multiple OT playoff goal, Chimera finished the Caps' all-too-brief post-season slate with the worst +/- ON/60 at even-strength amongst Caps' forwards.
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: How much offense should be expected from Chimera? What role do you see for Chimera next season? What might we see out of him in a contract year, his first as a UFA?