Chiasson Determined To Break Into NHL
Right wing Alex Chiasson has been in the Dallas Stars’ system since being drafted in the second round (38th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, but he’s never been to the team’s training camp. This year will be his first, and he’s working hard this summer to make the most of it.
“I’m thrilled, I am so excited,” Chiasson said. “I’ve worked so hard to get this close, but this is going to be that much harder. And I’ve been working hard this summer. I want to make an impression. It’s going to be my first one and I want to get a spot on this team.”
Time will tell if Chiasson, who is turning pro after a three-year career at Boston University, can land a spot with the Stars, who usually prefer to let their prospects spend some time developing in the American Hockey League.
“He’s really a mature kid. He has a great work ethic,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Player Personnel. “He has a good set of hands, is a physical guy, a big guy. I think all he has to do is gain some experience at the American League level and adjust to the pro style of game. He has NHL written all over him. It’s just a matter of time and experience, and he has a chance at the big team.”
The 21-year-old Chiasson already has some experience at the AHL level. He joined the Texas Stars last season in late March after wrapping up his college career, playing nine games and registering one goal and four assists.
“It really helped the start of my career. I learned how to be a pro,” he said. “It’s different than college because you are on your own a lot. You’ve got to take care of your body, your meals and your schedule. Hockey-wise it was great. It’s different than college. In the AHL and pro hockey there is a lot more structure.”
And there is a lot less time to make decisions.
“In college at times, you have four or five seconds to make a play and in the AHL, you’ve got two or three,” Chiasson said. “You have less time, so you have to know what you want to do with the puck before you get it.”
Chiasson spent a little more than two weeks playing for Texas and made a good impression. The right-handed forward, who has an excellent shot, was given high marks for his defensive game, play along the wall and his hockey smarts.
“The games he had in Texas were beneficial for him,” Jackson said. “He got a chance to live and see the American League and what it’s going to take to be a good player there. And he was a good player.”
|Chiasson was drafted by the Stars in 2009|
Chiasson, a native of Quebec, registered 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) in 108 games during his three seasons at Boston University. Last season, as a junior, he led BU in scoring with 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists) in 38 games. He ranked fourth in his conference (Hockey East) in points, and ranked 15th nationally.
“I had a pretty solid season,” said Chiasson, who served as an assistant captain. “I had an OK first semester, stepped up after Christmas and had a solid second semester. We made it to the (NCAA) tournament, so it was a great year. We had a good team and I was just trying to be a leader.”
The 6-3, 205-pound Chiasson is putting an emphasis on bulking up this offseason. He’s spending part of his summer working out with Stars conditioning consultant Gary Roberts, and hopes to be up to 210 pounds by the time training camp starts.
“I’ve put a lot into my eating habits and my training. You see these guys in the NHL, they are so fit and in such great shape. I’ve bought into this,” Chiasson said. “You see those guys like (Steven) Stamkos and (Jeff) Skinner, they train with Gary and they eat like he says. It definitely pays off. They don’t get as good as that for no reason. I’m a young guy and I am trying to learn. That’s my goal.”
And Chiasson is hoping the hard work pays dividends this fall, and helps him reach his ultimate goal. He knows the Stars have roster spots open for younger players this season, and he wants to show he’s NHL-ready now.
“Regardless if spots are there or not, you want to go and gain one,” Chiasson said. “Knowing that this year, there are going to be a few open, I want to go right in and take one. I’m going to prove to (Joe) Nieuwendyk and the guys that are up there that I deserve it. That’s my main goal. I am not going in there to go down to Austin; I want to make the team right away.”