Jason Chimera hopes he can get back up to speed now that he’s joined the Ducks
With the season Jason Chimera has endured, it wasn’t a shock to find out he’d been shipped elsewhere.
The winger was a healthy scratch for five straight games heading into the trade deadline Monday, with only two goals and nine assists in 58 games with the New York Islanders.
So the Ducks jumped on the opportunity to bring in Chimera, a veteran with a wealth of playoff experience and speed, even at 38.
An opportunity, too, for Chimera to rewrite his campaign with only 18 games remaining and the Ducks desperately fighting for the playoffs.
“I’ve got a lot to prove, I come off back-to-back 20-goal seasons, you want to build upon it,” said Chimera, who occupied the left wing on the fourth line in his first practice with the Ducks, the same role Chris Wagner held before he was sent to the Islanders. “You don’t want to have that kind of season. I think it’s a fresh start, I think it’s good. I think it’s re-energized me for sure.”
Now in his 18th NHL season, Chimera has seen it all. Well, everything but the Stanley Cup Final. The bald-headed native of Edmonton, Canada, came awfully close on a number of occasions during seven seasons with the Washington Capitals.
Those clubs led by Alexander Ovechkin were often favored to win it all, but they never reached the Eastern Conference finals.
In the twilight of his career, Chimera realizes he doesn’t have many chances left to play for the Cup.
“That’s the only goal I got left,” said Chimera, who has been traded four times in his career. “I’ve hit the 1,000-game plateau. That’s all I want in my life. That’s selfish of me, but I think it’s all I really think of. Not that I have any regrets if you don’t win a Cup, but you realize the kind of opportunity you have here.”
The Ducks have a chance with a roster built for playoff hockey, and Chimera said he “couldn’t help but smile,” when he learned he was traded to Anaheim.
But the Ducks have to actually qualify for the playoffs, and that’s why Chimera was acquired. Ducks general manager Bob Murray thinks Chimera will provide the club with “energy and emotion … something we can use in our group right now.”
“I have a lot of speed, I can contribute offensively, I know that for sure,” Chimera said. “I think our lineup is pretty solid. You come in here, you look at the names and you say, ‘Holy smokes, this is a really good team.’ ”
Kelly joins Ducks practice
Chimera wasn’t the only veteran the Ducks added this week. The team also signed Chris Kelly, who most recently was competing in the Olympics as Team Canada’s captain.
The 37-year-old also brings plenty of playoff experience, and he’s riding high after claiming a bronze medal.
“It’s kind of been a roller coaster of a year; to get this opportunity was incredible,” said Kelly, who attended camp with the Edmonton Oilers on a tryout, but hasn’t played in the NHL this season. “Obviously a great team, and to get that call and to be able to join this club, I’m extremely honored.”
When: Friday, 7 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830.
Update: Chimera and Kelly are wearing No. 20 and 22, respectively, and they could make up two-thirds of a newly formed fourth unit. … John Gibson figures to earn the start in goal, his first in four games, after being sidelined because of a lower-body injury.
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