The Edmonton Oilers have signed another player at the very last moment, inking Alex Chiasson to a one-year contract worth $650K at the NHL level. That deal matches the one given out to Jason Garrison, and will give the team another veteran option to start the year. The team also announced that Ethan Bear has been sent to the minor leagues (though his stint there was very short, given that Andrej Sekera has been placed on long-term injured reserve and Bear recalled), while Kris Russell will begin the year on injured reserve. Chiasson had been with Edmonton on a professional tryout, but has earned himself an NHL contract through an impressive preseason.
Chiasson, 28, won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals last season but ended up fighting for a contract after the team let him walk into unrestricted free agency. Catching on with the Oilers will allow him to avoid the minor leagues, a level he hasn’t played at since the 2012-13 season. Originally a second round pick of the Dallas Stars, Chiasson has bounced around the league as a bottom-six player who can provide a little offense and some size to any lineup. The Oilers struggled to get any offense from their forward group outside of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last season, and will hope that Chiasson can return to the 35-point man he was in Dallas a few years ago.
Even if he doesn’t, there’s little risk for the Oilers with a signing like this. Chiasson will make the league minimum this season and would be taken entirely off the salary cap if sent to the minors. These two signings helped the Oilers take full advantage of the long-term injury rules, meaning they’ll have plenty of excess cap room now that Sekera has been re-designated. They’ll also provide valuable depth for a team that desperately needs a bounce back season in 2018-19.