With the NHL trade deadline just six weeks away, daily trade rumours and legitimate proposals continue to pop up. With top teams looking to buy and bottom feeders looking to sell, the month leading up to the trade deadline is one of the most exciting four weeks on the NHL’s regular season calendar.
As is typically the case, the Calgary Flames are once again expected to be right in the middle of all the action. The team has a clear need in the form of some forward depth up front, and TWC has broken down a few names the team should be looking at to fix their depth scoring issues over the past couple weeks.
General Manager Brad Treliving may home some other plans however. Last week Elliotte Friedman discussed the trade rumours surrounding Montreal Canadiens veteran defenceman Ben Chariot, and mentioned the Flames as a team that was interested in the 30-year-old.
Considering the needs of the Flames’ current roster, being interested in Chiarot is certainly a curious choice from Treliving. Let’s take a deeper look at why trading for Chiarot is probably not a good idea.
Background on Chiarot’s career
Chiarot is a 30-year-old defenceman currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens. He’s spent three seasons in Montreal after signing a three-year, $10.5 million deal back in the summer of 2019. He’s currently in the final year of this deal which carries a cap hit of $3.5 million and will be an unrestricted free agent following this season.
Before coming to Montreal, Chiarot spent six seasons with the Winnipeg Jets after being selected by the the then Atlanta Thrashers in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL draft. He made his debut in 2013 and has since logged 456 NHL games between Winnipeg and Montreal.
This season Chiarot has suited up for the Canadiens in 41 games, and has produced five goals and four assists for nine points on the year.
Chiarot doesn’t bring much offensively
If you’re looking to trade for Chiarot, it’s certainly not because of his offensive ability. Throughout his career he’s offered little of anything on offence. Here’s how his offensive numbers break down over the last three seasons compared to the rest of the league’s defencemen.
|Stat||Ben Chiarot||Rank Among NHL Defencemen|
(2019–20 to 2021–22)
Chiarot doesn’t particular do anything well offensively. He ranks outside the top 100 defencemen for assists, points and points per game over the past three years. At the very least he ranks just inside the top 50 for goals with 15 and 51st for shots. That said those still aren’t exactly impressive ranks.
His career best year offensively came back in 2019–20 when he put up nine goals and 21 points in 60 games for the Canadiens. Outside of that season he’s only put up at least 20 points on other time, and has never produced more than five goals outside of that one year.
Over the same time span, the Flames have three defencemen who have put up more points than Chiarot in Rasmus Andersson with 63, Noah Hanifin with 54 and even Chris Tanev with 42. Oliver Kylington is just 10 points behind Chiarot in 56 less games played.
As sad as this is, Chiarot actually has more goals over the past three seasons than any current Flames defencemen so at least he’s got that going for him.
His defensive numbers are just as bad
So Chiarot must be a defensive specialist considering his offensive numbers are so lacking right? Not so much. Not only does Chiarot offer nothing on offence, he also isn’t particularly good at defending either. Here’s how he ranks in some key defensive metrics over the last three seasons. All stats are 5v5, score-and-venue-adjusted courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com.
|Stat||Ben Chiarot||Rank Among NHL Defencemen|
(2019–20 to 2021–22)
So despite presumably being targeted by Treliving and other GMs for his defensive ability, Chiarot may actually be worse defensively than he is offensively. And that’s saying something considering how little he offers on offence.
He ranks outside the top 100 for every key metric, including outside the top 130 for each metric other than xGF%. Over the past three seasons he ranks dead last among current Canadiens defencemen for CA/60, xGA/60 and HDCA/60 and second last for GA/60 and xGF%.
His xGF%, CA/60, GA/60, xGA/60 and HDCA/60 totals are all worse over the past three seasons than every current Flames defenceman other than Erik Gudbranson. In other words the only player he’d be an upgrade over defensively would be Gudbranson, which again isn’t saying much.
This season he’s struggled in a huge way as expected playing on the worst team in the NHL. Looking at his regularized adjusted plus-minus courtesy of Evolving-Hockey.com, it tells a very ugly story on how Chiarot has fared this season at both ends.
To put it simply, Chiarot excels at exactly zero aspects of the game. He doesn’t provide much of anything offensively outside of the occasional goal, and on defence he’s been a complete liability the past couple seasons. Not that any team should ever use him on the power play to begin with, but the Canadiens putting him in that role this season has reaffirmed that.
He’s way too expensive
So we’ve established that Chiarot is not a good NHL player. To make matters even the worse the Canadiens reported asking price for Chiarot is astronomically high for what he brings to the table.
A first round pick plus another piece, presumably a prospect, is the expected cost for a top-six forward like Tyler Toffoli or Claude Giroux. Trading those assets for a bottom pairing defenceman on an expiring contract is downright insane. That price tag should immediately remove the Flames from any discussions involving Chiarot.
If the Flames are looking to add a depth defenceman to their lineup at the deadline, which they should be, there are numerous options out there that will be both cheaper and better than Chiarot.
Former Flame and current teammate of Chiarot Brett Kulak is a much better player than Chiarot, and would cost nowhere near a first-round pick. He’d be a perfect low cost acquisition to boost the Flames third pairing, and the exact type of player the Flames should be targeting for some added depth on defence.
It just doesn’t make sense
Trading for Chiarot just makes no sense on any level for the Flames. He’s not very good at either end, he’s way too expensive, and there are plenty of better, cheaper options available on the market.
Considering Treliving came out recently and stated the Flames aren’t looking to move any first round picks or prospects, it’s certainly interesting that they have been linked with Chiarot who will almost certainly fetch a first round pick. For years Treliving has refused to give up future assets at the trade deadline for rentals. If he finally breaks his rule and pays the reported price for Chiarot it would be a massive mistake and a fireable offence.