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Photo Credit: NHL.com / Jets TV

Pilots Logbook 2018-19: Ben Chiarot

Ben Chiarot posted career numbers in pretty much anything as the Jets gave him a much bigger role on defense almost out of necessity due to injuries. Despite the career numbers though, there was some dark clouds hanging over them and while it should benefit Ben this summer as a free agent, it may be some warning signals for the Jets and other NHL clubs to consider when signing him.

BEN CHIAROT
#7- LEFT DEFENSE
6’3″ / 219 lbs / Age: 27

THE NUMBERS

Ben Chiarot 2018-19 Regular Season Stats
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice
Season GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA ATOI BLK HIT TK GV
2018-19 78 5 15 20 6 62 111 4.5 231 18:37 139 171 20 65
Career 305 12 52 64 16 192 328 3.7 720 16:10 465 558 68 205
Ben Chiarot 2018-19 Regular Season Advanced Stats
Season GP TOI CF CA CF% CF% rel FF FA FF% FF% rel oiGF oiSH% oiGA oiSV% PDO oZS% dZS%
2018-19 78 1315.9 1129 1259 47.3 -2.3 835 961 46.5 -3.2 46 7.5 43 93.7 101.2 53.8 46.2
Career 305 4482.4 3991 4198 48.7 -2.9 2969 3121 48.8 -2.8 174 8.2 165 92.8 101.0 50.9 49.1

CONTRACT STATUS

This past season was the second of a two year, $2.8 million deal signed on June 24, 2017. Chiarot is a pending unrestricted free agent this summer. (Source: NHLNumbers.com)

PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW

2018-19 saw another year of growth from Ben Chiarot as he put up career highs in games played, goals, assists, points and average ice time. The last of those saw an increase of a little over two minutes per game as injuries to Dustin Byfuglien, Josh Morrissey and Dmitry Kulikov forced the Jets to lean on Chiarot more than perhaps was expected.

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When he was paired with Byfuglien he was a solid performer and had positive metrics that would suggest that he took care of things in his own end of the ice, but if we’re bring brutally honest here (and we are) that had a lot more to do with Dustin Byfuglien being as good as he is than it was Chiarot’s doing. The two were a good working pair together and Ben deserves some kudos for that, but we’ve also see Buff paired up with other defensemen and those pairs have looked just as good if not better.

When Chiarot wasn’t playing beside Byfuglien, it got a bit ugly.

Source: HockeyViz.com

When Buff went down, the Jets paired Chiarot with either Tyler Myers or Sami Niku and as you can see, both of those pairings didn’t work out very well. Byfuglien is a defenseman who most times gets pucks out of his end of the ice with little trouble and Chiarot being a strong defender around his net and in the corners of his own end is a nice complement for that ability. All Ben has to do is get the puck to Buff and let him do the rest.

Myers and Niku struggled this season with such tasks (Niku mainly struggled because of inexperience, Myers mainly struggled because he’s Tyler Myers) and and with zone exits being an issue for Chiarot as well, it led to some bad results.

Another damning chart that doesn’t exactly shed positive light on Chiarot is his five on five “with or without you” chart.

Source: HockeyViz.com

I’ve highlighted two players that are worth noting here. Byfuglien in the purple and Myers in the pale blue. In both instances, the players were better when not paired with Chiarot, but in fairness, the sample sizes for Myers with Chiarot and Byfuglien without him are relatively small, but in both instances Ben is deep into the “bad” side of things with too many shots allowed and too few shots generated.

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Ben Chiarot has a wicked shot and it’s one that he used a lot more – 231 shots attempted which was almost double his total from the previous season – which helped with the career offensive numbers. The problem is even with a favorable ratio of zone starts he found himself pinned in his own far too many times when Big Buff wasn’t able to help him out.

THE PLAYOFFS

Ben Chiarot 2019 Playoff Stats
Season GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA ATOI BLK HIT TK GV
2018-19 6 0 0 0 2 0 8 0.0 18 19:47 9 16 2 5
Career 24 0 3 3 3 17 28 0.0 66 16:08 38 74 4 16
Ben Chiarot 2019 Playoff Advanced Stats
Cors Cors Cors Cors Fenw Fenw Fenw Fenw PDO PDO PDO PDO PDO Zone Zone
Season GP TOI CF CA CF% CF% rel FF FA FF% FF% rel oiGF oiSH% oiGA oiSV% PDO oZS% dZS%
2018-19 6 118.7 106 125 45.9 -5.6 78 96 44.8 -6.5 7 14.0 9 87.5 101.5 54.8 45.2
Career 24 387.2 362 400 47.5 -5.4 274 296 48.1 -4.7 20 10.8 23 88.8 99.6 52.0 48.0
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/29/2019.

Chiarot didn’t exactly get any better in the playoffs even with a boosted playoff Buff as his partner. Honestly, the less said about Chiarot’s playoffs, the better.

WHAT WE SAID A YEAR AGO

And that really was Chiarot’s season in a nutshell. Ideally he’s a team’s seventh defenseman that takes the odd turn with injury issues, but the Jets had so many that at times Chiarot saw top four pairing minutes in some games which is not ideal. Thankfully compared to his previous season he did show some signs of improvement. He was a player fans at times got behind with his grit and hard nose style play, but also at times drew all kinds of frustration from those same fans.

Pilot’s Logbook 17-18: Ben Chiarot

FUTURE OUTLOOK

The offensive numbers are going to suggest that Chiarot gets a bit of a raise from his $1.4 million per season deal – for what it’s worth Evolving Wild’s 2019 contract projections has him at just under three million and I’m not so sure that the Jets should be the ones to give that to him. With the right partner – a strong puck moving defenseman – he can stand out and be a pretty productive player in his own right, but that’s not exactly a wise way to spend almost three million a season. Depending on how things play out with the likes of Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba, the Jets may not have many options other than to bring Chiarot back into the fold for next season and then just pray for a full, healthy season from Dustin Byfuglien.

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FINAL GRADE: C