Not that long ago NHL micro-stat tracker Corey Sznajder observed that Ben Chiarot is the new breed of bad defenceman: he can skate, but that is his only real strength. There are more and more defencemen of this ilk popping up in the NHL and while it is nice to watch players who can skate, that skill is best used when paired with puck skills of some type. Sadly, Chiarot is not that type if player, which is probably why he was available in the fourth round when he was drafted.
Outside of his rookie season when he was paired with Byfuglien, Chiarot has struggled in the NHL. He is simply not the defender when left to his own devices. Now that this Chiarot has been shown to the Jets: the player who needs to play alongside a top NHL defenceman to be able to tread water at a NHL level, can the Jets afford to keep him? He is cheap, but cheap should not matter when you struggle so much. He might be okay in the AHL, but he should not be a NHL regular next season.
First of all, can you tell when Chiarot got paired with Byfuglien during the great clusterfuck of defence pairings in March and April? Chiarot struggled to gets over 45% CorsiFor for parts of the season. He is bad and that cannot be said enough times. Beyond that, it is fair to say that Chiarot is a better skating Mark Stuart and it is a damn shame that both of those players are on the Jets and regularly played on the same pairing together. The Jets did not lose because their top end talent is not good enough; they lost because their bottom end talent is so bad that their top guys are overworked to stay in games early in the season.
Chiarot is a restricted free agent this offseason and should not be brought back by the Jets. If they truly want to improve as a team they will look at their depth players and find players who can play a solid, if unspectacular 15 minutes on defence every night therefore allowing Byfuglien to play just a hair over 20 minutes. Beyond goaltending, that could help the Jets improve is managing players minutes and no longer giving minutes to players who get killed in every possible way when they are on the ice.
Ben Chiarot was okay when he was playing alongside Dustin Bufuglien, but now that he is not he has been exposed as a bad NHL defenceman. Chiarot is just one of a long list of players that the Jets fell in love with because they are the devil they know and not the risk they might improve with.