New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have signed Jason Chimera to a two-year deal.

The free-agent value for gritty skaters has increased exponentially this offseason, with Jason Chimera’s two-year, $4.5 million pact adding to this trend.

The Isles inked the veteran winger to a two-year deal worth $2.25 million per, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

Chimera, 37, has blinding speed and good size. He’s a fantastic forechecker, and similarly to both Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas, he’s an adequate penalty killer.

Unlike most other fourth liners, Chimera can light-the-lamp. He tallied 20 goals and 20 assists (40 points) with the Washington Capitals.

Despite this production, Chimera isn’t much of a playmaker. In addition, his all-or-nothing-style makes him an injury risk. He also doesn’t always utilize his size to the best of his ability.

“After a rocky first season under Barry Trotz, Chimera enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in 2015-16 matching a career high 20 goals,” J.J. Regan wrote for CSN Mid Atlantic. “Despite totaling 40 points for the season and expressing his desire to stay in Washington, Chimera looked like a possible cap casualty with the Caps juggling a talented roster. At the age of 37 and with Marcus Johansson still left to sign, Chimera was one player the Caps simply could not afford to re-sign.”

Eric Hornick of NYI Skinny made an interesting observation: Ladd/Chimera netted 45 goals, compared to 42 for Okposo/Nielsen last season. It’s important to note that Chimera was likely aided by Evgeni Kuznetzov, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom — especially on the power play.

Peter Hassett at Russian Machine Never Breaks had a comprehensive scouting report:

“Twenty goals at age 36! Wow! In the last decade, here are some players who managed that: Alfredsson, St. Louis, Modano, Guerin, Iginla, Hossa, Shanahan, Jagr (of course), Datsyuk, Knuble (hell yeah), Selanne, and Sakic. And now Jason Chimera. The accomplishment is huge, and it’s evidence that Jason Chimera is a special player: faster than skaters a dozen years his junior — and tougher than pretty much anyone; his full 82-game season being proof positive of that fact.

The trade-off of Chimera’s quickness and grit had always been stone hands. Chimera is a 9-percent shooter on his career, which is average on scale, but low for a player of his type (i.e. lots of rush attacks). This season Chimera shot 12.1 percent, his highest since the 05-06 season that plucked him out of fourth line obscurity one decade ago. Much of this season’s Sh% bump was thanks to the power play, where Chimera scored four goals on 20 shots. Playing Chimera on the man advantage over Andre Burakovsky was a controversial deployment, but it paid off.”

Chimera could replace Matt Martin on the fourth line, or join Cizikas on the third. He’s a fan-favorite with two-way acumen and special teams prowess. Not a terrible signing by Garth Snow.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.