OILERS NO. 19 PROSPECT (winter 2015): GREG CHASE

by Lowetide

Greg Chase has an enormous opportunity over the next three seasons. This year is the first of his entry-level deal, and the Oilers are going to be on the hunt for wingers with skill—and he is one, at least at the junior level. There will be issues—something happened somewhere for the team to decide Chase should start in Norfolk—but if he works hard and continues to develop, there is a career available to Greg Chase.

PREVIOUSLY NO. 19 ON THE WINTER LIST

  • December 2004: L Liam Reddox (100) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2005: D Danny Syvret (59) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2006: G Glenn Fisher (0) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2007: D Sebastian Bisaillon (2) (Signing. GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2008: L Phil Cornet (2) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2009: G Olivier Roy (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2010: D Jeremie Blain (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2011: D Kyle Bigos (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2012: L Curtis Hamilton (1) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2013: D Erik Gustafsson (6) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2014: L Curtis Hamilton (1) (GM: Steve Tambellini)

We are late in the rankings now and the chances of getting an actual NHL player are not that high. Liam Reddox had a bit of a career before becoming a successful player in the Swedish Hockey League and Erik Gustafsson may forge a career now with the Blackhawks. At No. 19, most of the business is complete.

chase

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 AS A JUNIOR, GREG CHASE

CHASE NUMBERS IN JUNIOR

Chase had a stunning post-draft season, but the following year saw conflict with his junior team (the Calgary Hitmen, who also had some issues with Alexandre Plante in the time after he was chosen by Edmonton in the NHL draft) and a dip in performance.

  • 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

In my experience observing professional sports teams, this kind of thing probably impacts attitudes towards the player in the organization. As Mr. MacTavish states above, tough to assign responsibility. That said, I believe Greg Chase could both have done nothing wrong while also suffering some career damage because of it. Hockey, like all pro sports, overreacts to some things and remains indifferent to other, more important things. It has always been thus. That said, without knowing more of the story, we take it into account in appropriate measure, and move on.

  • Todd Nelson on Chase in the AHL, 2013-14 plus the summer camp 2014: “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
  • 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

 

PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING

 

  • Summer 2013: No. 19
  • Winter 2013: No. 10
  • Summer 2014: No. 5
  • Winter 2014: No. 6
  • Summer 2015: No. 8
  • Winter 2015: No. 19

Despite the fall in rankings, Chase is the No. 4 winger on the list (Slepyshev at No. 4; Pakarinen at No. 10; Khaira at No. 12) and a strong performance during his entry-level deal will no doubt mean a major opportunity with an emerging young NHL team in Edmonton.

As you can see, my evaluation of Chase in the summer rankings—after the Hitmen incident—was not a factor in his fall on this list. Why did he drop 11 spots?

2015-16

  • 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
  • Lowetide Penticton training camp wrap: R Greg Chase 2GP, 0-2-2. He’s 20 and rocked this tournament a year ago. Posted a point-per-game but based on his previous showing perhaps more should have been delivered. Of immediate concern: Why didn’t he play today and is it a long term issue? Important season ahead for him. Source
  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey: Greg Chase was the Oilers’ second best forward on this night. He was noticeable for his skating, agitating, and skill, and casual observers in the crowd made several comments to the effect of “Who is this Chase guy? He is good.” Source
  • Corey Mitchell, Beer League Heroes, November 14: Currently, Chase is riding a five game point streak in Norfolk, and leads the Admirals with 3 goals, and is tied for the team lead with 5 points through 6 games. However, after Draisaitl was recalled by the Oilers, the Condors had a hole to fill, and elected to recall Alexis Loiseau. Not that Loiseau is a slouch, as last season he posted 96 points in 68 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL, although he went undrafted, and signed an AHL deal with the Condors. Source

THE FUTURE

I nicked Greg Chase for three things: He did not have the kind of training camp we might have expected from him (although he was also injured during that period, I believe in G2 in Penticton); he found himself in Norfolk and did not win an AHL job (this may have been a message from the organization, but I have no way to know it. He wasn’t so good in TC that a stint in the ECHL raised eyebrows); he did not dominate the ECHL (10gp, 4-2-6, 18 shots) and was not the immediate recall when Draisaitl was promoted to the NHL.

That said, Chase has played well in the AHL since a slow start and his talent—listed above, and well known to Oilers fans who follow the prospects—is unique among the prospects and in demand at the NHL level. If Greg Chase can post offense in the AHL, please the coach with work ethic, and pay attention to the finer points of the game (he seemed to be out of position in TC) there remains a bright future.

  • Lowetide RE for Greg Chase: 65GP, 12-17-29 .446 (Source)
  • Greg Chase in Bakersfield: 14GP, 1-4-5 .357

Early days, and a slow start, but a strong finish to his rookie pro season could be Greg Chase on track as an NHL prospect. Jujhar Khaira scored 10 points in his first AHL season and is in the NHL now—it could happen and Peter Chiarelli will badly need value contracts again next season.

THE 2013 DRAFT

  • Darnell Nurse, No. 7 overall. A quality prospect who has delivered in the early days of his pro career. Has a range of skills and is attempting to make the NHL grade at 20. No. 3 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Marco Roy, No. 59 overall. Didn’t earn an NHL deal, signed to a minor league contract and played early days in the ECHL. Recalled to the AHL, has played 12 games and has two goals.
  • Bogdan Yakimov, No. 83 overall. Mammoth Russian is reportedly on his way back to the KHL. Bizarre turn of events and will probably impact his NHL future. No. 11 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Anton Slepyshev, No. 88 overall. Slick Russian winger impressed in camp and won an NHL job. Currently in the minors, but he’s bona fide. No. 4 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Jackson Houck, No. 94 overall. Unsigned, playing in junior. No longer in the organization.
  • Kyle Platzer, No. 96 overall. New pro playing well in Bakersfield, good results, offense is now coming and he is 26, 4-6-10 in Bakersfield. May benefit from the Yakimov scenario, as Platzer appeared to be moving up the depth chart even with the Russian in town. No. 14 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Aidan Muir, No. 113 overall. College winger, not scoring. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Evan Campbell, No. 128 overall. College winger with decent results early, he hasn’t done much in the last month. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Ben Betker, No. 158 overall. First year pro in the ECHL currently. Big, strong and good speed. A project. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Greg Chase, No. 188 overall. Turned pro but was sent to the ECHL, before being elevated to the AHL after a time. Appears to be finding the range and has the natural talent to flourish if he continues to develop. No. 19 prospect, Winter 2015.
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Bruce McCurdy

Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey: Greg Chase was the Oilers’ second best forward on this night. He was noticeable for his skating, agitating, and skill, and casual observers in the crowd made several comments to the effect of “Who is this Chase guy? He is good.” Source

For the record, that report came from NYC Oil, a.k.a. The Gentleman Backpacker who lived up to the first part of that moniker by providing a couple of splendid reports from Penticton for us at CoH this past September. It was published under my name but attributed to George, which is further affirmed here.

GCW_69

Chase is the kind of player I worry about worth the current Bakersfield coaching staff. Too many prime minutes going to AHL vets. Here in Toronto, Babcock apparently is talking to the Marlies coaching staff almost daily about how he wants players developed. That undoubtedly includes where the kids play in the line up. I hope TMac starts doing the same, because I haven’t heard anything about it out of Edmonton.

You can gift a young prospect a spot up the line up and still keep him hungry. If he’s not busting his ass or following the system, you can bench him for a period, bag skate him, or give him a game in the press box. But guys like Chase and Slepeshev need to be playing in the top six from day one so they build on their strengths, which is the offensive part of the game. Playing them with AHL scrubs in the bottom six isn’t playing to their strengths at all.

Pajamah

Did I miss the feats of strength?

I have a Riders pencil at my desk from its previous occupant that needs a good snapping.

commonfan29

You don’t need glasses, you’re just weak!

"Steve Smith"

Lowetide:
I got a lot of problems with you people!

I get that a lot.

dessert1111

I saw Chase play aa handful of times in Victoria. Stylistically, the current oiler he remind me most of, a bit oddly, is Eberle.

Chase was great when he found open space and has really good hands. He obviously has more agitating abilities than Eberle, but I wouldn’t characterize him as particularly tough on the forecheck or having good defensive awareness.

It always appeared to me that the driver on his line was Tyler Soy and Chase was more of a complementary player, which of course is all he would need to be. Could be a good fit on the team in a couple years if he pans out but would think he needs to either be stronger on the puck, better defensively or score more, if not all of the above.

JD_Wry

Stelio Kontos:
We celebrating Festivus this year?

Booger!

Gayfish

We celebrating Festivus this year?

Genjutsu

Lowetide: No. It wasn’t even vicious or mean spirited, but the content was guaranteed to ignite dozens of posts about them, and my spider senses tell me it is Christmas and it is best to have those conversations at another time.

That’s fair. It is a time for peace on earth and good will towards men.

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas/happy holidays.

And health and happiness in the new year to the Oilers and everyone here and all of our families.

JamesL

Lowetide,

LT,

Very sorry, I didn’t mean to start a brushfire. Suffice to say, I think Tire Fire had it right above — I wish I hadn’t seen how the sausage is made with this particular player.

Happy holidays LT.

LOObird

It’s interesting to see Red Line give Chase such a rave review pre draft.

Aren’t they notoriously hard markers?

JD_Wry

Lowetide,

Did someone say ‘booger’?

MrEd

Reinhardt for Pysyk?

NecrOILmancer

Genjutsu: He’s just a kid still. Kids do stupid stuff.

Always have always still. Lord knows I sure did a bunch.

But that’s how we learn and become better people.

Let’s hope he makes better decisions and grows as a person and as a player.

I suppose chirping in a scrum is never going to be polite conversation.

Maybe this is a case of me not wanting to see how the sausage is made more than anything else.

Genjutsu

Tire Fire: Well that is disappointing. Hopefully the young man learns better soon.

He’s just a kid still. Kids do stupid stuff.

Always have always still. Lord knows I sure did a bunch.

But that’s how we learn and become better people.

Let’s hope he makes better decisions and grows as a person and as a player.

NecrOILmancer

JamesL:
Centre of attention,

Attitude and temperament wouldn’t surprise me with Chase.

Well that is disappointing. Hopefully the young man learns better soon.

OF17

JamesL:
Centre of attention,

Attitude and temperament wouldn’t surprise me with Chase.

That is disappointing. Chirping in itself I’d say is a positive, but chirping in a way that seriously hurts people is uncalled for.

lynn

JamesL:
Centre of attention,

Attitude and temperament wouldn’t surprise me with Chase.

Your observation seems to have placed a pall on further comments.

JamesL

Centre of attention,

Attitude and temperament wouldn’t surprise me with Chase.

N64

Not content with getting 8 on both wings the new NHL vote format has John Scott leading for Pacific Captain. The only thing good about that is it would keep the voter’s #2 Johnny Nickname out of the Captain spot and probably keep teammate Domi out of the game. The clueless have the division point leader at 6th in division.

https://allstarvote.nhl.com

Centre of attention

I think the problem with Chase was his temper. I think the kid has an attitude and it got him in trouble in rookie camp.

These kinds of players make it to the NHL all the time. They just need to learn their place and realize they need to direct their temper and attitude at the other team, rather than their own coaches who usually are only trying to help.

I’m sure Chase was told to cut down on the dumb penalties (he had a few in Penticton) and get an extra step skating wise, and Chase said something along the lines of “I’m actually just fine thank you” and what do you know hes toiling away in the ECHL.

Chase can play hockey, he needs to focus on that first and foremost. Sick chirps & general agitation come after the hockey play is finished and the whistle blows. Not when your being evaluated by your coaching staff.

Just my 2 cents on the Greg Chase saga.

Aron_S

This post reminded me of another kid who fell on draft day: Spencer Watson.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=160320

Has there been any word on his progress since his draft? It looks like his numbers are running in place, which isn’t great for a draft+2 prospect.

I know he’s not Oilers property, but I recall some folks around here were hoping the Oil would take a flyer on him as he kept tumbling down the draft boards.

Dicky94

I was starting to get nervous that he wasn’t going to be in the top twenty. Cheering hard for this guy. He is exactly the kind of player the Oilers need. In a few years him and Nurse will be driving players crazy. Keep your head up Johnny Hockey!!!

Halfwise

With the contemptible Flames owning the Hitmen, is it possible that when Edmonton drafts one of their players small disputes somehow get magnified? Plante and Chase both ran into some headwinds post-draft, although Plante also had injury issues.

Just wondering how much honour there is between rivals.