New signing Jason Chimera was on the NHL's SiriusXM satellite radio channel morning show this morning to discuss the free agency process and how he chose the New York Islanders after seven seasons with the Washington Capitals.
As you've likely heard in other media after the signing, Chimera said he had several offers on the table but selected the Isles' two-year contract offer for a few reasons (insert "yeah, 4.5 MILLION reasons" quip here).
He swatted away the much media-hyped but never sourced "OMG but Brooklyn, the commute!" query quickly by noting why yes, the Islanders do have a fancy brand-new practice rink, and then spoke about what drew him to the team.
A sampling of his comments on John Tavares and the rest of the team/organization:
The first round of the playoffs was pretty special, to watch [Tavares] will his team to win there. With Washington you see him a lot, they have a good team, good D, good makeup, with Jaro Halak when healthy is one of the better goalies in the league.
I know the coaches, I know Doug Weight personally, how in tune and how good they are. When you come into an organization you know you're right at the cusp. I didn't want to go somewhere we didn't have a chance to win.
It was a no-brainer. It's exciting. They have a lot of good players, a lot of young talent ready to break out, so it's gonna be a lot of fun.
On the free agency process, particularly with the "discussion window" before signings begin:
Most people know where they're going. For me I didn't really know. I talked to five or six GMs myself, to check where they're at [in the window with free agent targets]. Washington called me about two days before, which was classy, to let me know 'sorry, we can't fit you in.'
The Islanders were on top of the list because of the initial interest, and it's nice to go somewhere where people appreciate what you've got, nice for them to reach out.
On the rest of the Isles' moves:
I know Islanders fans will probably be upset losing a couple of key players in Okposo and Nielsen, but adding Ladd, P.A. Parenteau and me, three 20-goal scorers for two 20-goal scorers isn't a bad trade. You know what kind of player Ladd is, he's won a couple of Cups. When you add those pieces, it's a grittiness to your lineup. He can play north-south, he can score, he's a good leader.
On Washington falling short:
People always ask me, 'What went wrong?' I don't think much went wrong. You just got beat by a good team. We had the speed to compete with [the Penguins], but they owned the big moments (overtime). ... In hockey, literally inches divide teams, and it was close.