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Red Wings Review: Ben Chiarot

Chiarot was a team-worst -31

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Ben Chiarot, Red Wings
Defenseman Ben Chiarot brings a physical presence to the Red Wings blueline.

Detroit Hockey Now’s Red Wings Review series is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the recently-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature defenseman Ben Chiarot

Ben Chiarot

Position: Defense

2022-23 totals (GP-G-A-P): 76-5-14-19

Contract Status: Signed through 2025-26 season at an AAV of $4.75 million

Season Synopsis

Veteran Ben Chiarot was brought to Detroit to provide some sandpaper to the club’s back end. In that role, he did deliver. Only 2021-22 Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider (207) dished out more hits along the Detroit blueline than the 147 administered by Chiarot.

“We don’t have a lot of that,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde acknowledged. “We’re not built like that. We want to be as heavy as possible.

“A lot of times when you see heavy in our game – a heavy hit in the D-zone, the separation of a puck in the D-zone – Benny’s that guy on a lot of stuff.”

Offensively, the 19 points provided by the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Chiarot wasn’t spectacular, but that’s not his forte. In 10 NHL seasons, he’s gone over 20 points in a season just three times.

Late into the campaign following the trade of right-shot defenseman Filip Hronek, left-shot Chiarot helped out the team cause by playing on his off side.

“It’s hard,” Lalonde said. “You can see those guys have to get their feet around things on their off-hand and how it puts them in uncomfortable spots. Benny took a couple hits because of it.”

2022-23 Red Wings Lowlight

The glaring number that jumps off the page on Chiarot’s stat line is his team-worst minus-31 rating. According to data compilation done by NaturalStatTrick.com, Chiarot was a minus player in six different Detroit defense partners – Olli Maatta (-13), Seider (-10), Hronek (-5), Jake Walman (-3), Simon Edvinsson (-3), and Gustav Lindstrom (-2). He was only able to swim above water in tandem with Robert Hagg (+1) and Jordan Oesterle (+1).

“I don’t put as much weight in that plus-minus,” Lalonde said. “There’s a reason that’s a little outdated. I think there’s some truth to it. Benny would be the first one to admit it’s found him in a few situations, but I think it’s just what we asked of him. We were asking him to play his off-hand here, against top lines.”

What Does His Detroit Future Hold?

Chiarot, 31, will be with Detroit for at least two more seasons. He’s signed through the 2025-26 campaign. Assuming the club continues to trend upward, in all likelihood Chiarot will eventually be slotting down into a third-pairing role on the Red Wings defense.

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“We’re very happy with what he’s brought us and him being part of that core,” Lalonde said. “Even in closed doors, he’s been a very valuable addition to our team.”