Over the next month I will be taking a look at current prospects in the system. The hope is to inform you about the players and give some insight into what fans should expect from them this season and where they should play during the 2012-2013 season. Most of the articles will cover the big name kids, but also a couple will be done on members of the organization that I believe people should keep an eye on. Our first prospect was Jamie Oleksiak (click here to see the article), then we jumped to Scott Glennie (article right here), and today we will continue with fellow forward Alex Chiasson, and up next will be another winger in Reilly Smith on Thursday!
Alex Chiasson – RW
Looking back, the Dallas Stars draft class of 2009 was (and is) a very interesting group. Much like this summer when the Stars targeted centers to fill a big void (resulting in three centers taken in the top two rounds alone), Dallas went after right wingers and right-handed forwards. Scott Glennie, Alex Chiasson, and Reilly Smith were their picks in the first three rounds of the draft, and now three years later it appears that the three are all rounding into prospects pushing for a chance to jump to the big club. But lost in the mix has been Chiasson, despite being a high 2nd round pick, an area of the draft where you are likely grab a nice prospect who can turn out to be a solid NHL player. Glennie is the well-noted high pick that has yet to pay-off and needs to make an impression soon, and Reilly is one of the youngsters that many Stars fans are excited about right now. In the past Dallas had success with their 2nd rounders, even more so than their first rounders sometimes. Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Dan Ellis, Trevor Daley, and Nicklas Grossmann have all been 2nd round selections by the Stars since 2000 that have turned into NHL players, with a few others playing a little or serving in smaller capacities around the hockey world.
It might be because of the path that Chiasson decided to take that many don’t know who he is. Like Reilly he went the college route, spending his time playing with one of college hockey’s top programs at Boston University. But while Reilly and Austin Smith possess more of the flash and playmaking skills that catch fans attention when they take control of the puck, something else immediately makes people notice Chiasson. The 21-year old winger stands at 6’4″ and has the size advantage over just about every forward prospect that he is compared to. But with the size he still possesses the hands and high offensive-IQ that many “power-forward” frames lack or must learn as they grow. For the past two seasons, Alex has led Boston in scoring, beating out a popular NHL prospect that many people know in Chris Kreider. Before jumping to the AHL to play the final few games with the Texas Stars this last spring, Chiasson tallied 15 goals and 46 points over 38 games as he finished his college career again being one of the best power forwards in the country. Kreider tallied 45 points before the former 1st-round pick jumped to the NHL to help the New York Rangers with 7 points in 18 playoff games. Chiasson again remained the forgotten forward as he played nine games with Texas, accumulating 5 points and 9 penalty minutes while Dallas fans were excited about Reilly and Alex Smith.
He shows a good blend of size and skill, something that has been said about new Dallas Stars prospect Radek Faksa. Chiasson has good hands and offensive instincts, and the size to work his way around the ice to fight for positioning. The one knock against him that was voiced early in his college days was that he sometimes his effort seemed lacking and he needed to work on his all-around game. But now three years after being drafted and standing at 6’4″ and around 205 lbs, he might be one of the Stars’ most NHL-ready prospects. While Kreider’s better footwork and speed helped him become an immediate impact player in New York, Chiasson might be able to step in and be a similar player very soon for the Stars. While the top-end ability screams top-six power forward who has a little of a playmaking touch if he develops, he could definitely start out on the 3rd line because of his size and strength.
So where does he fit into the scheme of things for this coming season? Wherever he wants to is what it appears like. He will likely be competing with Glennie for a regular spot on the NHL roster during camps and preseason (if the league ends up having them). While it does appear to be Glennie’s time to make an impression and join the pro club, Alex could make it hard for the staff to just give him the spot from day one. Scott has filled out more and did look far more NHL-ready this summer at development camp than he has in the past, Alex still has the size and strength advantage and that could come in handy playing on the third line with veterans like Fiddler and Morrow or Nystrom. If he can grab the spot and show he is ready, he very well could take off and be an everyday player this season. If not, one full season with Texas couldn’t hurt Chiasson at all and he would be an early favorite for a call-up if he plays well there. Either way he is on track to be another promising young winger for the Stars and should be another successful 2nd rounder for Dallas in the near future if he keeps this up.