12. Alex Chiasson (100pts)
The 28-year-old Stanley Cup winner (Washington Capitals), Alex Chiasson begins the second edition of the top 15 free agents the Wild should try to sign. Chiasson has been in the league for six full seasons, making stops in Dallas, Ottawa, Calgary, Washington, and most recently, the dumpster fire full of oil: Edmonton. Intriguingly, he had the best season of his career in the midst of the Oilers’ mess. In 73 games, he had 22 goals and 13 assists, averaging .52/ppg and providing a scoring threat for the Oilers whose last name wasn’t McDavid, Draisaitl, or Nugent-Hopkins. Much to the credit of “disgraced” (in the eyes of Oilers fans) former GM Peter Chiarelli, Chiasson was on a contract worth $650,000 for 1 year.
That’s incredibly cap friendly, especially with horrendous contracts like Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian on their books. Each goal he scored was worth $29.5K, one of (if not the best) per goal value in the NHL. Also, it should be noted, he wasn’t just given that contract; he earned it through a professional tryout. It wasn’t the first time this has happened either. Chiasson also earned his way onto the Caps team via PTO, where he’d eventually become a Stanley Cup Champion, despite not playing a single game during the Stanley Cup Final against Vegas.
Alex Chiasson doesn’t provide the cold-hearted scoring ability the Minnesota Wild desperately need, but he does know how to use his 6′ 4″ 208lb body to create chances for himself and for others. His scouting report states:
"“Has a massive frame and displays plenty of physicality in his game. Owns untapped scoring and power-forward traits. He can be used on special teams at the highest level. Needs to find a higher level of offensive consistency in order to maximize output at the National Hockey League level. Must also reduce his number of bad penalties.”"
He does bring some concerns to offering him a valuable contract after his best season of the career. First, why did he just now explode in production and scoring opportunities? Is it because he is on a team that lacked significant depth scoring? If so, how will he fit on the Wild when it seems lots of players like to have the puck on their stick? Second, not a lot of teams have actively pursued him during past seasons he was available, having to try out twice for teams, and outside of his obligatory three-year entry-level contract with Dallas, no one has signed him for more than three years since. It’s concerning that no one wants to commit to him long-term.
After a 22 goal season, it wouldn’t shock me if several teams pursued Chiasson, my best guess being Edmonton will overpay to retain his services on a team desperate for talent outside of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisitil. If I were Paul Fenton, and I decided to offer a deal to Chiasson, it would be in the realm of a three-year deal worth $2.5M to $3.75M AAV if you were really committed and sure he could produce on a similar level. Otherwise, I would let him pass.