There are always players you wonder about on draft day, and my goodness Greg Chase was one. The young man was a bona fide NHL prospect but had to wait until late in day two before finally getting selected by Edmonton. In his draft+1 season he rocked the WHL, but in year two things started to go a little wonky. He got traded out of Calgary, his numbers flagged (a little, not a crazy amount) and he was not as impressive at Oilers camp (owing, I believe, to an injury in Penticton).
I think Peter Chiarelli would like Greg Chase as a player. If you followed the Bruins over the years, or Oilers procurement over two summers, it is fairly obvious what kind of player has appeal to Edmonton’s general manager. In Penticton last summer, I wrote this about a game Chase played in:
- Lowetide on the Penticton camp: No. 72, Greg Chase: Had an assist, +1, 3 SOG, 2PIMS. Threw a positively filthy elbow early, and got under the skin of the Canucks because of it. He sent a lovely pass to the slot early that McDavid damn near cashed and he passed more this game than one would have expected based on his own past. He worked hard all night but showed he has more developing to do, especially in terms of positioning. That’s why we’ll see him in the AHL for the next two seasons. There’s a player here, liked his game. Source
Chase is 6.0, 190 but plays a very physical style and is borderline filthy. If you watched him play a game, and the guy next to you mentioned Brad Marchand, my guess is that you would nod in agreement. He is that kind of player—with enough skill to suggest he can play.
GREG CHASE, NORFOLK BOXCARS
- Boxcars: 43, 18-19-37 .860
- Even Strength: 43, 15-16-31 .720
- Power Play: 43, 3-3-6 .140
- Penalty Kill: 43, 0-0-0 .000
I do not have a giant group of seasons by rookie ECHL forwards to compare this one to, but can say that in terms of points-per-game Chase was not a brilliant freshman. He finished No. 6 in points-per-game among freshman forwards who played 40 or more games and even though that is a pretty good season for a former seventh-round pick—we are examining him as an NHL prospect.
GREG CHASE, BAKERSFIELD CONDORS
- Boxcars: 19, 1-6-7 .368
- Even Strength: 19, 1-5-6 .316
- Power Play: 19, 0-1-1 .052
- Penalty Kill: 19, 0-0-0 .000
I always like to compare rookies to rookies, so let’s run these Chase numbers against another Condors rookie from last year.
KYLE PLATZER, BAKERSFIELD CONDORS
- Boxcars: 48, 6-11-17 .354
- Even Strength: 48, 3-8-11 .229
- Power Play: 48, 3-2-5 .104
- Penalty Kill: 48, 0-1-1 .021
These are similar seasons, but I think most of us view Platzer as a slightly more promising prospect. I have Platzer at No. 26 and Chase at No. 27 in the latest Lowetide Top 20, and I think that is fair.
Despite being separated by several rounds in the 2013 draft, these two prospects have always seemed similar to me in terms of talent and odds of making the grade: Both long shots, both with a reasonable range of skills. Edmonton chose Platzer for Bakersfield and Chase for Norfolk a year ago, and we would do well to remember that choice as we roll along into the fall.
Peter Chiarelli has added an actual mountain of prospect forwards—50-man and AHL—with Chase possibly playing a lesser role in the coming season due to the oncoming rush of college kids to push him down.
Based on his junior career and first season pro—despite his trip to Norfolk—I am not certain there is an obvious reason for his handling. He should be a Chiarelli favorite based on style of play. We wait.