by Lisa McRitchie on 03/12/14 at 09:30 AM ET
Roughly three hours down the road from Edmonton, Greg Chase an Edmonton Oilers’ draft pick has played his best season yet. Drafted in the seventh round, some say Chase was a sleeper pick, some, such as I think that this was one of those rare occasions where he should have gone in a round much earlier, but somehow all of the teams thought that he had already been picked. Regardless of how it happened, Chase, an Edmonton born and raised player is playing for a chance to develop with, and one day play for the Oilers.
Chase has potted 32 goals, and 46 assists through 67 games, putting him at more than a point per game. While Chase is considered to be an agitator, his 75 penalty minutes pale in comparison to Mitch Moroz’s 154 minutes.
Chase is one of the most anticipated, unsigned prospects currently in the Oilers’ system. Of course this is mainly because of the Oilers’ current state of affairs and the fact that Chase might be able to fill that power forward role, the one the team so desperately needs.
The Calgary Hitmen and Calgary Flames each played a battle of Alberta earlier this month, and I had a chance to catch up with Chase.
Lisa McRitchie: Would it surprise you to hear that you and Mitch Moroz are the players I am most often asked about?
Greg Chase: Um… I don’t know. I mean the fact that we are both having pretty strong seasons and so are our teams, that sort of comes with the play but he’s been awesome this year and I’ve been kind of trying to do the same. We’ve texted back and forth and I think that we kind of push each other to be better and I think that that’s helped us.
McRitchie: Did you feel any added pressure coming to play in today Edmonton with the playoff push, and this being the home of your drafted team?
Chase: No, not necessarily. I always get up to play Edmonton. As you say, it’s my home town, it just adds to the fact that I got drafted here. I guess the rivalry is huge, so just being a part of it, those rivalries, you just have to get up for those games and that’s what I try to do.
McRitchie: Will your team stay to watch the Oilers and the Flames?
Chase: We are staying overnight in Edmonton, I think that we are heading to Brandon next, I’m not sure what’s in store for tonight, maybe we’ll get to go and watch the double header, that would be cool and just see the two father teams play.
McRitchie: What do you attribute your vast success this year to?
Chase: I think it’s just doing a lot of things different this year than I did last year; just going to the net harder maybe using my speed and I guess I’ve got to credit it a lot to some of my line mates I’ve played with this year. I’ve played with good players and they’ve been getting me the puck and vice versa. So I guess just that good start that I had helped me a lot to get my confidence up at the start of the season.
McRitchie: Where do you see yourself this time next year?
Chase: Hopefully in the same position that we are in now. We’re looking to make a big playoff run, maybe get some more attention on me from the Oilers and hopefully get a contract and then next year move up and play pro hockey.
McRitchie: And in terms of goals and assists?
Chase: This year I wanted to get a point per game, that was my goal and so far I’ve achieved that. I think that anything less than that again is a little bit of a failure. I guess when I get to that stage I’ll think about it and think what my goals are but I think that for right now I’ve got to just focus on a strong playoff run and I’ve got to do all that I can to help my team win.
McRitchie: Did the Oilers give you anything really useful from the prospect camp?
Chase: Yeah, they gave me a lot of things that I do great and things that I need to work on a little bit. And just having that support from Rick and the players support guys is huge. They give a lot of insight into what we do well and what to work on and they do it every couple of weeks. It’s nice to have that. They communicate with the coaches very well and it’s been a good process so far.
It’s cool. I don’t think that there is another team that uses that. I think that us being the first, it’s kind of a step ahead of everyone and it lets you keep in touch with them that much more.
McRitchie: What are your personal goals for the playoffs?
Chase: I think that anything less than winning for us is a little bit of a disappointment but I think that we’re going to want to push and win. This year, I think that we have the team to do that.
McRitchie: It was -35 C in Edmonton this morning, is there even a small part of you that wishes you maybe weren't drafted by say a team like Florida?
Chase: I grew up an Edmontonian and can handle the tough weather. I grew up on outdoor rinks in this weather. I’m very proud to be part of the Oilers organization, but maybe it could take a break with the wind.
Chase may have ambitions of making a crack at the Oilers' roster next year, but his chances, even with this Oilers' team won't be quite that good. With a January 1st birthday, Chase will not be able to play in the AHL next season, and will likely play another year of junior hockey in the dub before taking the next step in his hockey career. Playing and hoping for a contract, that's a realistic goal and ambition.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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