Alex Chiasson was the feel-good story of last year. Dude came to camp on a PTO, earned a contract with the team, and proceeded to be a fixture in the top 6, producing career bests in goals with 22 and points with 38. He survived the ax in the GM change as he was rewarded with a 2-year contract at $2.15 million per.
Fast forward to this season and Chiasson has been the biggest disappointment of the season.
Expected to be a regular in the top 6, he has produced a paltry 4-8-12 in 36 games this season. Unless he does better in the 2nd half of the season, he’ll finish with only 9 goals and 27 points – less than half the goals he produced last year and not even 2/3rds of the points he put up last year.
He is a -2 on the season, so at least he’s not leaking goals against, but that’s not good enough considering last year. There’s hope for him as his shooting % is 7.4% as opposed to his 12.3% career mark, but still. Unless he picks it up IMO he’ll find himself traded to wherever for a later round pick.
Sheahan was brought in as a familiar face by Holland from their Detroit days together to be the 3rd line center the Oilers were looking for to put up some secondary offense, but that didn’t happen.
Sheahan has 3-2-5 this season in 37 games. That works out to 7 goals and 11 points in a full season. Ouch. This is a guy who has put up seasons of 20 and 30 something points in the same role. He’s been so bad at scoring the Oilers have opted to play him on the wing.
Sheahan has proven himself reliable at faceoffs, going above 50% for the initial portion of the season, and is still respectable at 49.56% now. But we expect more from a veteran of 486 NHL games – same goes for his -8 rating. Not good enough. He doesn’t do anything else well so when he’s not contributing to the secondary offense he’s useless.
Russell has been a mainstay on the Oilers D for the past 3 seasons. He’s never been much of a puck mover but was capable of putting up some secondary offense, with respectable totals of 13, 21, and 16 points.
This year that offense seems to have dried up, as has most of Russell’s other skills. He has produced a paltry 0-4-4, not good enough by even secondary offense standards. That works out to – you guessed it – 8 assists over a full season – half his point totals from last year with a goose egg for goals to boot.
One other unique skill Russell brought to the table is he was one of the league’s leaders in shot-blocking in his time with the Oilers, where he was consistently in the top 3 in the league in that regard. Not this season. This season he’s down to 7th in the league right now with 86 – that’s a pace of 48 of the leader, teammate Oscar Klefbom.
I suppose 7th in the league is still pretty good, but it’s a huge dropoff from #1-3. At least his primary skill – defending – is still present as he’s even over the first half of the season, so he’s got that going for him. But considering the state of the Oilers’ D and the lack of depth scoring, they still need Russell’s 13-21 points as it’ll make a difference between another win or 2 or not – which may play a part in the Oilers making the playoffs or not.
Unless Russell picks it up if I had to guess I’d say Holland will likely choose between trading away Russell or the next person on my list.