A National Hockey League veteran may be retiring this season and it may be due, at least in part, to his personal pride.
According to a report from NHL insider Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal 39 year old NHL veteran Jason Chimera finds himself without an NHL contract late in the month of August. For Chimera this is unknown territory as the veteran of over 1100 NHL games has always found a team willing to offer him a deal in order to bring in a reliable player with a ton of experience, that is at least until now.
The lack of interest in Chimera at this stage is understandable given both his advanced age and his recent performances. Chimera turned 39 years old in May of this year and would be over 40 by the time the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around in 2019, while he is still a relatively young man that is borderline elderly when it comes to the standards of the NHL. Additionally Chimera struggled during his time with the New York Islanders last season recording just 2 goals and 9 assists over 58 regular season games and finished with a plus minus rating of -11. A trade to the Anaheim Ducks did not seem to help very much as he recorded just a single goal and a single assists for 2 total points and a plus minus rating of -1 over 16 games with Anaheim.
Many would be quick to point out that the Islanders were a very streaky team last season and that may have impacted Chinera's overall numbers and perhaps even his personal morale in the process. That being said though at his age and after a performance like that a professional tryout offer would make a lot of sense from the perspective of an NHL organization that is considering the possibility of bringing him in.
That however may be where the biggest problem lies, a problem that could mean the end of Chimera's NHL career. Matheson reports that he is "not sure" that an established NHLer like Chimera would be open to taking a professional tryout offer and when you consider the fact that he still does not have an NHL contract at this stage of the offseason that may be the only offers that will be coming his way at this time. I can understand why it would be a matter of personal pride for a man who has spent so much of his life as an NHL player but if he truly wants to play one more season putting his pride aside may be best for him here.
If however Chimera is perfectly happy walking away from his NHL career at this stage then I don't see him taking a gamble on a PTO, which at the end of the day is no guarantee of an NHL contract at all. If this is the end for Chimera his career will end with 1107 games played in the NHL which include 186 goals and 229 assists for a total of 415 career points and 892 career pentalty minutes.
I wish him all the best moving forward whatever decision he makes.
Photo Credit: Aaron Doster/CSM/Zuma