The period after a prospect is drafted through his arrival as an NHL player can be filled with trials and tribulations. When the challenges come from inside the organization you play for, that can be doubly difficult. As much as fans/media/observers like to be “on the inside” there’s really no way to know what happened in the Greg Chase case. I can tell you that his usage has been a curio on this blog for some time now, but beyond that I can’t comment. It is too bad, because no matter what happens from here, Greg Chase is going to be a guy who has some unusual things in his past that we cargo into the future, as needed. Greg Chase a scratch? What happened? And on we go. The on-ice arrows on this kid are all good, the off-ice arrows are probably fine but we now have this voice in our collective ear. Forever.
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER SIX ON THE WINTER LIST
- December 2004: R Colin McDonald
- December 2005: D Matt Greene
- December 2006: D Tom Gilbert
- December 2007: C Kyle Brodziak
- December 2008: L Liam Reddox
- December 2009: L Linus Omark
- December 2010: L Curtis Hamilton
- December 2011: G Tyler Bunz
- December 2012: D Martin Gernat
- December 2013: C Bogdan Yakimov
This has been a very good spot on the Oilers list over the last decade, probably because I underestimate the college defensemen (then again, so do the Oilers). Matt Greene and Tom Gilbert have been productive NHL defensemen, and Kyle Brodziak joined the band from the center position around the same time. Colin McDonald took forever to develop, but made it and is now in the NHL. Since then, the picks who gathered enough steam to get all the way to No. 6 have either flagged, encountered injury problems or headed to Europe. There is faint hope for Curtis Hamilton and Tyler Bunz, but Martin Gernat and Bogdan Yakimov are the current best hopes among the prospects ranked here over the last five seasons.
WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY
- Corey Pronman: Chase entered the season with a decent amount of hype and he figured to make a push to be drafted in the top two rounds. While he was somewhat underwhelming, his skills make him worth knowing, the best of which is his hockey sense. Scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent. His skating earns divided opinions, with one scout calling it a positive, and another saying his first steps can be a tad sluggish. His physical game and consistency are areas of concern as well. He has average size, but he does not tend to be imposing with his board work. Finally, his game-to-game on-ice work ethic could use improvement, especially in the defensive end.
- Red Line Report: “A real Red Line favourite who flies under the radar. He’s a fine puck distributor who shows great patience and possesses the touch to constantly find linemates off the cycle. Keeps feet going after making a pass to sustain pressure in offensive zone. Versatile forward has spent time on every line and been effective in every role. Shows up every shift and his play away from the puck is impressive, makes things happen by constantly filling open ice. Refuses to back down in contested areas; first player into the corners. Wide skating stance helps him maintain balance and uses edges well to maximize glide. Hungry player has a great compete level and looks to make a difference every shift. Not as dynamic offensively as other prospects on this list, but plays a well-rounded, consistent game.”
- Chase: “I didn’t even watch (the draft) because I was so nervous. I was at my lake and we were all sitting around. When I got the phone call, it was pretty incredible celebrating that proud moment with my whole family.”
POINTS BY DISCIPLINE, GREG CHASE
|GREG CHASE 2012-13||69, 13-23-36 .522||69, 3-9-12 .174||69, 1-0-1||69, 17-32-49|
|GREG CHASE 2013-14||70, 25-31-56 .800||70, 10-19-29 .414||70, 0-0-0||70, 35-50-85|
|GREG CHASE 2014-15||15, 2-10-12 .800||15, 0-3-3 .200||15, 0-0-0||15, 2-13-15|
If I’m going to make a case for Greg Chase on the power play, I don’t really have to get out of my easy chair. You can see not using him in 2012-13, the club had better options. Last season? I suspect he was getting squeezed quite a bit (that’s a crazy good EV number) and this year he’s looking top drawer again at even strength. Doesn’t matter now, but if he does get dealt (early word is the Hitmen are in no hurry) we can have a look at his scoring numbers in the new town.
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2013: 19
- Winter 2013: 10
- Summer 2014: 5
- Winter 2014: 6
This is a grand spike for a late-round selection and credit to the Oilers scouting staff for getting it right. Chase may not be pleasing to the Calgary Hitmen, but lordy the young man has played well in the last 18 months.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW
- Todd Nelson: “He played five games and scored a big goal for us in our quest to get into the playoffs. And just watching him in camp here, he’s in better shape. I think the experience he had with us really helped him out. He dropped 10 pounds and is a lot faster. That was always his Achilles heel, the speed of the game caught up to him, but he looks great.”Source
- Lowetide Blog on RE Series: Greg Chase 11-15-26. From the depths of the draft to the top of the heap in one fell swoop. Look, I can’t explain it—this kid was a worthy second round pick by my metrics. I’m no draft expert, but it seems to me that when an NHL team sees a guy scoring points in his draft year—without a PP push—that’s maybe a guy to earmark at the draft.
- Neal Livingston, Tend the Farm: “To use a basketball analogy, if there was a screen he’d drive right through the pick”
- Gerry Johannson, said, via text, on WHL trade interest in Chase: “A fair number of teams are interested. Hopefully something happens soon.” Source
- Craig MacTavish: “In our experience Greg has done a good job of working on the physical habits we’ve identified as important for his development. It looks like a situation in Calgary where a trade would be mutually beneficial. Tough to assign appropriate responsibility. We support Greg and hope this is resolved quickly for both interests.” Source
- Steve Ewen, Vancouver Province: You’d think Chase, a signed Edmonton Oilers prospect, would be worth something similar in trade. He’s being portrayed as a locker room distraction in this. Is that scaring off Vancouver, considering their young talent? Source
The future is bright for Greg Chase, based on his hockey ability. He has a chance to play for Canada at the World Juniors this Christmas and if anything the young man is having an even better year in 2014-15 (at evens) than a year ago. I’m not going to comment either way on the dispute, beyond it being a shame that it happened and one hopes things get solved in short order.
Chase needs to play and that will come eventually. Next season, he’ll be an Oklahoma City Baron (probably a winger) and it’ll be interesting to see if he gets more power play time in pro hockey. The numbers suggest he merits it in junior. The Oilers chances of winning the Stanley Cup are currently 100/1 according to sports betting site MyTopSportsbooks.com. They won’t make the playoffs this season and if they’re ever going to turn north and improve those odds the club will need value contracts. Chase is such a player in my opinion, and he may fill a role on the Oilers in the next two or three seasons. The junior evidence—skilled, tough, fast, aggressive—is substantial.
2013 NHL DRAFT
- Darnell Nurse, No. 7 overall. Good arrows, already played 2 NHL games. A bright future ahead. No. 2 overall prospect.
- Marco Roy, No. 59 overall. Injuries have impacted him since draft day. Inside the Top 20.
- Bogdan Yakimov, No. 83 overall. Mammoth Russian progressing smartly. No. 4 overall prospect.
- Anton Slepyshev, No. 88 overall. Slick Russian winger running in place in the KHL. Candidate for winter 20.
- Jackson Houck, No. 94 overall. Enjoying a good season. Candidate for winter 20.
- Kyle Platzer, No. 96 overall. Emerging as a quality NHL prospect this year. Inside the Top 20.
- Aidan Muir, No. 113 overall. Now in college, scoring a little. Candidate for winter 20.
- Evan Campbell, No. 128 overall. Scoring well in college this year. Candidate for winter 20.
- Ben Betker, No. 158 overall. Huge defender continues to progress. Candidate for winter 20.
- Greg Chase, No. 188 overall. Signed a contract, strong camp, weird WHL season so far. No. 6 overall prospect.
The 2013 draft is tracking very well after Year 1. Two players have made it to the NHL for a cup of coffee and men like Greg Chase and Kyle Platzer have jumped their draft number in the 17 months since draft day.