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BLOG: Chiasson empathizes with players cut late

"I think a day like today, you feel for those guys. You wish those guys all the best," said Alex Chiasson

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - This time last year, Alex Chiasson was on the outside looking in.

Not anymore.

After being a healthy scratch for the first five games of the 2018-19 season, the winger made his mark on the Oilers, scoring three goals in his first three games donning Orange & Blue.

The 2009 second-round selection solidified his position on the club as the year progressed, ending with 22 goals and 38 points in 73 outings.

It was enough to earn him a two-year contract with Edmonton and has allowed him the ability to feel comfortable heading into '19-20.

"It's been a little bit different (than last year)," Chiasson said on Monday. 

"We've moved into our place about a month ago. So, I'm not living off a backpack and suitcase trying to figure out where I'm going to be. I think those were all important things for me to come back here."

The Quebec product noted how impactful familiarity can be for a player entering a new campaign.

"No. 1, the success I had last year was important for me to come back to a place where I felt comfortable," Chiasson said. "No. 2, knowing the guys and the city has made life pretty good for me."

But Chiasson empathizes with those players who are cut late in Camp.

Video: RAW | Alex Chiasson 09.30.19

Earlier on Monday, the Oilers reduced their roster, placing Sam Gagner and Brandon Manning on waivers, while also assigning William Lagesson to the American Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors.

"It's a tough League," Chiasson said. "I've been in the position the last two years, three years, where I was heading to Camp and 10-12 hours before that first Monday, you don't know where you're going to end up.

"There's a lot of guys that don't know what that feels like but I know exactly what that feels like. The not knowing. A day like today drives me to become better. You wish those guys all the best."

Chiasson articulated how hockey can be interesting in that players want to be good teammates with one another but are still, at the end of the day, fighting against each other for roles on the squad.

"It's fair to say that I've learned that at the end of the day, you've got to look after yourself," Chiasson admitted. "I'm really good friends with a lot of guys here but I'm also competing against these guys. It doesn't make it any easier but that's what makes quality teams, is guys competing against each other."

At Monday's skate, the 28-year-old was lined up alongside Markus Granlund and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. For now, Chiasson is enjoying the familiarity of No. 93 but is still getting to know Granlund.

"He's a smart player," Chiasson said of Granlund, the former Vancouver Canuck. "He reads the play really well and is a pretty good passer."

The Oilers roster will be finalized on Tuesday and while there still will be some tough decisions made by the coaching staff, Chiasson is glad he's not on the outside looking in.

Rather, he's poised to get the ball rolling.

"It's fair to say that we're glad all that is over and we're looking forward to Wednesday's first home game," he said.

"I think the guys are excited in the room to get things going."

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