There is no need to panic. Every player goes through a slump, and Dallas Stars rookie winger Alex Chiasson is no different.
Chiasson may have slowed down this season, but he is doing everything right to turn things around. It is almost impossible to do what Chiasson did to begin his NHL career, and it is even harder to sustain it. Chiasson burst onto the scene with six goals and an assist in his first seven games, and then he added three goals and five points in the first four games of this season. It was only a matter of time before he came back down to Earth.
His tapered production quickly turned into an elongated slump; Chiasson has registered only three points in the past 21 games for the Stars. His 25 points in 56 games this season does not look so bad, but it does not tell the whole story of his play so far.
After a hot start to the season, it was inevitable that Chiasson would slow down. He began missing open chances, turning over the puck on simple mistakes, and looking frustrated on the ice. Then, in late December, a flu bug hit the Stars and it was rough on Chiasson. He lost a lot of weight during his sickness and seemed out of sorts when he made it back into the lineup in January. He was softer on the puck and slower on his skates. His shot did not have much velocity and he was easily pushed off the puck and out of position. He took several bad penalties and was not very effective in his own zone. His ice time fluctuated between 10 and 15 minutes for the most part as he skated on the fourth line.
The Olympic break provided Chiasson an opportunity to recharge, rest and regain some weight. He came back heavier, stronger and more determined, and he has played better since the break. He still gets powerplay minutes with a primary objective to screen the goalie or set up for a high tip in the slot. He has been better at throwing his body around, and he has been more tenacious on the puck. Also, his shot is much more powerful since his sickness.
Chiasson is not having the dream season Stars fans hoped for after his incredible start, but he is working hard at getting his game turned around. He is a 23-year-old rookie after all. With realistic expectations, a learning curve and a renewed determination, Chiasson may not return to record-setting scoring, but he will be a valuable member of the team moving forward.