Winnipeg Jets Ink Ben Chiarot To A New Deal

Ben Chiarot signs a two-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets –

Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets have been busy the last couple of days re-signing two of their pending RFAs.  Today we will talk about Thursday’s signing of RFA defenceman Ben Chiarot to a two-year contract worth $850,000 with an average annual value (AAV or cap hit) of $850,000.

About Ben Chiarot :

Junior: OHL      Teams: Guelph, Sudbury, Saginaw

Position: LD     Shoots: Left

DOB: May 9, 1991     Birthplace: Hamilton, ON

Height: 6’3     Weight: 222

Ben Chiarot, 24, was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the fourth round, 120th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.   He just completed his first season as a Winnipeg Jet.  He was recalled from the Winnipeg Jets AHL affiliate in St. John’s on Dec. 3, 2014 and quickly established himself with his new team.

This past season, Ben Chiarot played in 40 games and registered 2 goals, 6 assists for 8 points while accumulating 22 penalty minutes and a +5 rating.  He had previously played in one other NHL game with the Jets in 2013-14.

WHT analysis

I don’t think anybody can complain about this signing.  Based on his play last season Chiarot was an absolute steal at $850,000.  I’m sure there are some fans out there and I may be one of them that wonder if his success was a “one-off”. Why didn’t he make the team coming out of training camp?  So far in Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history there hasn’t been a lot of training camp surprises.  The Jets had a lot of defencemen already under contract so Ben Chiarot would have had to have been exceptional in training camp.  It was just easier to send him down to the AHL but when the injuries started he was called up and made the most of his opportunity.  

Some will argue that playing with Dustin Byfuglien helped shelter the young defencemen while others will point out that “Big Buff” had his best games because of Chiarot’s steady play.  The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.  Ben Chiarot doesn’t play a fancy game but he is very efficient.  He is a big body that is a decent enough skater.  He’s a decent puck handler, he makes a good first pass on the breakout and he’s not afraid to lug the puck when needed.

Last season Chiarot played a lot of top four minutes.  He was forced to play those minutes mostly because of the injuries that decimated the Jets blue-line but top four minutes nonetheless.  Is he a top four defenceman?  Probably not. Is he now a legitimate NHL defenceman?  I think so.  At $850, 000, Ben Chiarot’s contract is no harm, no foul.  If he crashes and burns in training camp it didn’t cost the Jets a ton of money.

In my opinion, Ben Chiarot is in Winnipeg to stay (no Manitoba Moose pun intended).  He should come into camp with a job that’s his to lose.  It will be up to Grant Clitsome, Jay Harrison, Josh Morrissey or maybe Adam Pardy (still unsigned) to wrestle it from him.  

If Toby Enstrom is still in the Winnipeg Jets long-term plans I can see a Jets defence corp in the near future that has Enstrom, Morrissey and Chiarot on the left side.  Mark Stuart could be joining the “popcorn brigade” with the above named depth guys but I’m not sure if that time has quite come yet.  We saw last season how injuries can pile up quickly and a team needs at least eight-ten defencemen around.  The Jets do have an abundance of defencemen, it’s just too bad they are all “fourth pairing” guys!  It looks like it could be a “third defence pairing” by committee in 2015-16.

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Comments

  1. Todd Leroux says

    Why do so many players have sophomore jinxes? Actually, I’ve heard the standard answers, but they just don’t seem to add up – to me, anyway.

    Chiarot was very good last year. Sophomore jinx? Let’s hope not.

    As mentioned in another post, I worry more about Trouba. And, then there’s Buff…but that’s another issue.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      yup … every year is a new year and the good players seem to move forward while others plateau or stagnate … I’m interested to track Chiarot’s progression.

  2. George Bain says

    Glad the Jets signed him. I read were he really likes playing and living in Winnipeg so that’s a bonus. Financially it was a bargain if I look at what the Jets are paying Chase De Leo, Nik Ehlers to name a few prospects!

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