Thursday, April 19, 2012
Alex Chiasson gets a head start on his pro career
By Mark Stepneski
CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Alex Chiasson’s first professional goal wasn’t one for the highlight reels, but it will always be a memorable one for the big right wing.
The 21-year-old Texas Stars forward busted down the right wing at Cedar Park Center, centered the puck and had it go off a Chicago Wolves defender and into the net.
“It was great. I had a lot of chances and it wasn’t the prettiest one, but the first one you just take it,” Chiasson said. “It kind of took a monkey off my back, took some pressure off.”
The goal came in Chiasson’s sixth AHL game for Texas. Chiasson, a second round pick (38th overall) in 2009, picked up five points (one goal, four assists) in nine games with Texas after wrapping up his career at Boston University.
“It’s been great. You never know what to expect and the guys have been tremendous to me, just making it easier for me,” Chiasson said as Texas prepared for its final games this past weekend. “It’s good that there are older guys you can look up to, guys like Brad Lukowich and guys that have been here for a little bit, Colton Sceviour, they make it easier for you. It’s good experience and I am just trying to be a sponge, learn as much as I can and try to carry that into training camp.”
Chiasson, a 6-4, 202 pound right wing, is considered one of Dallas’ top prospects. He was ranked third among Stars prospects and tops among the forwards in The Hockey News Future Watch 2012.
“He’s a big man, right shot. He’s more cerebral than I thought he was,” said Texas Stars GM Scott White. “He’s been well coached. The detail of his game defensively is good, he makes good decisions with the puck, he’s strong along the wall and I sense that will improve because he’ll get some added strength over the summer, which he needs. He’s got a big frame, he just needs to fill out a little bit.”
Getting the games with Texas was big for Chiasson, who got a head start on acclimating to the game at the pro level.
“In college sometimes you’ve got four or five seconds to make a play and here you’ve got two or three. You have less time, so you have to know what you want to do with the puck before you get it,” Chiasson said. “Here you have to stick to the system. In the neutral zone you’ve got to stick to your guy and in the defensive zone, too.”
“It’s been an eye-opening experience for him . This is all new to him,” said White. “We’re talking about the game, the paychecks, so everything is kind of new to him. But all in all, he’s moving along well.”
Chiasson, a Quebec native, played three seasons at Boston University. This past season, as a junior, he had 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists) in 38 games, leading the Terriers in both points and assists. He got off to a slow start but had points in 18 of his final 22 games, registering 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) during that stretch.
“I had an OK first semester and then with everything that happened in school I stepped up after Christmas and had a solid second semester,” he said. “It was a great year in that we made it to the tournament. We had a good team, good young guys and good chemistry. I was just trying to be a leader in my third year and tried to lead by example.”
There were some tough times in the Boston University hockey program this season due to off ice issues. Two of Chiasson’s teammates were arrested for sexual assault during the season.
“They are not the things you want to happen and it’s sad,” Chiasson said. “They are still part of my life, these guys I grew up with in college and played with for three years. Hopefully everything works out, but it was hard as a team. We had to look forward and that’s what we did as a team. We needed guys to step up and it worked out pretty good.”
Boston University made it to the NCAA West Region Semifinals, where it lost to Minnesota. A few days later, Chiasson had a contract with Dallas and joined Texas to embark on his pro career. He’s expected to play with Texas next season, but he’s hoping to make an impression when he attends his first pro training camp in September.
“Going in you’ve got to be confident. Everyone is battling for a spot. It doesn’t matter if you are down here or up there,” Chiasson said. “Right now it’s good for me that I am getting my feet wet and seeing what it’s like. I know I can play in this league, the AHL. I am confident in myself. I know I have some stuff to work on this summer, but I am going in there with full confidence, give 100 percent and see what happens.”