As part of our summer countdown series, CSNwashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley breaks down his Top 25 impact players for the Washington Capitals’ upcoming 2014-15 season.
No. 17: Jason Chimera, Left Wing
2014-15 NHL Salary: $2 million [$2 million cap hit]
2013-14 stats: 82 games, 15 goals, 27 assists, 42 points, plus-4, 36 penalty minutes, 15:25 average ice time
Projected 2014-15 stats: 75 games, 12 goals, 23 assists, 35 points, plus-6, 28 penalty minutes, 14:20 average ice time
Analysis: There aren’t many players in the NHL whose salary goes up after they turn 35. But Chimera rebounded so well from his dreadful three-goal lockout season that the Caps decided to give him two more years at $2 million per. And he earned it. Still one of the fastest skaters in the league, Chimera has the size and speed to be a dominant forechecker and should flourish in Barry Trotz’ puck possession game. His 42 points last season marked a career-high and he teamed with Joel Ward to become two of the Caps’ top penalty killers on the ice and closest friends off it. Near the end of last season, when it became clear the Caps would miss the playoffs, Chimera said he signed an extension with the club because he thought the Caps could win a Stanley Cup during his time there. One of the team’s locker room leaders, Chimera will be called upon to sell Trotz’ “we not me” message, especially to the team’s younger players. Is he capable of putting up another 15-goal, 42-point season? Yes. But that might be a lot to ask for a player entering his 14th NHL season. If Chimera can continue to push possession and cycle the way he did last season there’s no reason he can’t give the Caps solid support [12 goals] from the third line and finish with a respectable plus-minus ratio.