Bound for Glory

I’m pretty certain Ales Hemsky is going to be a great hockey player. He’s already a quality winger at age 23 (he turns 24 next month) and has turned in one very nice playoff performance already in his young career.

Hemsky belongs to the family of players who have elite level talent on RW. He reminds me of a young Rick Middleton, and I always say he is from the “Lafleur-Middleton” group. There’s a wide range of skills with exceptional puck handling and passing ability at the center. Hemsky is unlike many in the group because he is willing to give up his body to make a play (google Ales Hemsky and then click on images. MANY of the photos look like the one above) and he routinely makes a pass and takes a hit to have the play succeed.

Redline Report is an excellent prospect guide, but when they said Hemsky had no balls they were wrong (or at least he’s learned to play with more gumption).

Hemsky has played 275 NHL games and has 194 points (.705ppg) in a career that is equally split between the deadball era and the juiced ball. In Rick Middleton’s first 275 games, he had a ppg of .698, so they’re quite similar. Any fool could see (save for the Rangers, poor bastards) that Middleton had all world talent, he just needed to put it together.

Middleton did it after his first 4 seasons, after game 275, exactly where we find Ales Hemsky today. Middleton’s fifth season (71gp, 38-48-86) marked a turning point and he remained healthy and effective for several years. He once said “I used to lose my concentration a lot. And that became a big problem for me. Now I’m into the game more and I bear down harder.”

I think that’s exactly where Hemsky is right now. Maturing. It’s vital that Kevin Lowe get him someone who can take advantage of his exceptional skills, because this team is going to live and die over the next 5 years on the back of the young Czech.

Hemsky is the best young player the Oilers have had in many years. In Jason Arnott’s Oilers career (286 games), he averaged .836ppg and is the last good quality player whose ppg is ahead of Hemsky’s at the same age (among Oilers drafts). Ryan Smyth is just over .500 but isn’t a good comp stylewise and Comrie was .676 which is in the range.

I think Hemsky gets over 85 points this season and this becomes his club for several years running. It’s vital he has another skill player on his line by fall.

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13 Responses to "Bound for Glory"

  1. doritogrande says:

    So who do you suggest Lowe goes after? Is it a centre like Richards, Lecavalier or Jokinen; or a winger like Kovalchuk or Elias? Which position would bring out the most from Hemsky?

  2. Lowetide says:

    dorito: I think he needs a shooter, as MacT calls it a “one shot scorer.” Souray certainly addresses it on the PP (Hemsky has 55 assists on the PP in the last two seasons, including 35 on the team that went to the final) but with a sniper his EV assist total should improve too.

    Shots Leaders 06-07
    Ovechkin 392
    Jokinen 351
    Hossa 340
    Lecavalier 339
    Kovalchuk 336
    Jagr 324
    Heatley 310
    Rolston 305
    Blake 305
    Cammaleri 299

    Someone who shoots a lot. Glenn Murray in Boston had 201 shots in 59gp which puts him about 280 for an entire season.

    They need a shooter.

  3. Asiaoil says:

    Call me crazy but I would not be surprised if Patrice Bergeron ended up here in the next couple of weeks. Boston is doing some crazy stuff and also have Savard/Kessel at center. He’s the right age and skill level and would look awful nice with Hemsky and Torres on a protected offensive line. Surround the kids with a couple of strong ES lines like Sanderson Horcoff Pisani and Moreau Stoll Johnson (UFA) to do the heavy lifting.

    Smid and Schremp (or MAP) for Bergeron?

  4. jon says:

    Boston would move Savard before they move Bergeron. He signed a deal similar to Hemsky’s in that it’s long and cheap, and despite their recent history of terrible mismanagement, I can’t see them ever moving Bergeron willingly.

    Cammaleri seems like the most logical target.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    Jon – you are giving the B’s too much credit. That team traded Thorton which made much less sense than trading Bergeron.

  6. Asiaoil says:

    LT – Horcoff and Smid for Bergeron. Would you do it? I think the value is probably close since I’m not thrilled about losing both guys. Horcoff, Savard and Kessel also makes a pretty balanced group of centers for Boston.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I like Bergeron but he’s making a lot of money, and although he did play some tough minutes he got destroyed.

    I’d rather keep Horcoff. That line is going to need him with Smyth gone.

    So I guess that means Stoll?

  8. NBOilerFan says:

    The more I’ve been considering the idea of potentially getting Cammaleri, the better I like it.

    He would be a very nice fit on the top line with Hemsky. Has lots of natural talent and a great shot, plus some shades of Smytty around the net with the ability to be at the right place at the right time for those easy rebounds and garbage goals.

    With the thought that LA might be willing to move him, what would it take? Perhaps the suggestions above for Bergeron…

    Smid and Schremp for Cammaleri?

  9. Asiaoil says:

    Stoll and Smid for Bergeron – again that’s a tough call but it seems to work for both teams. BOS gets a nice young dman which they need and Stoll who would be a great fit with Kessel and Savard. We get an elite young center to go with Hemsky – and Horcoff could protect him for another year or two. I think it works for both teams but we give up a lot – maybe something small comes back our way from BOS – say Axelsson?

    To EDM: Bergeron and Axellson
    To BOS: Smid and Stoll

    Sanderson/Nilsson Horcoff Pisani
    Torres Bergeron Hemsky
    Moreau MAP Axellson
    Nilsson/Sanderson/JFJ Reasoner Asham/Stortini

    As for the dollars – yeah we take on salary this year – but both Stoll and Smid are RFA next year and will get raises.

  10. Pleasure Motors says:

    you are giving the B’s too much credit. That team traded Thorton which made much less sense than trading Bergeron.

    Yeah, and then they shit-canned the GM who made that asinine deal. You don’t trade a 22-year-old who’s already scored 70 points twice in his career without significant returns. And as much as we all love Stoll and Horc, one of them plus Smid for Bergeron is a pretty hard trade for fans who’ve already waved goodbye to Thornton in the last two years to swallow. Won’t happen.

  11. Asiaoil says:

    Well I guess we disagree on the difference between Stoll and Bergeron. Before last year I would say it was significant. At the begining of last season Bergeron was coming off a big year having scored a few more points than Stoll who is 3 years older. However last season Stoll took a big step forward in terms of playing tougher minutes (he was even a plus player on a horrible EDM team) while Bergeron got destroyed trying to do the same. Granted he is younger – but the proven difference in offense is not huge – and Stoll has most of the other counting numbers in his favor like faceoff percentage and plus/minus.

    Add in Smid and I really don’t know if I do the deal. BOS would get one of the best 2 way young centers in the league (Stoll) plus one of the better young dmen in the league. Smid is certainly not in the Phaneuf, Pitkanen, Seabrook, Weber class – but he’s right below that and was very young to handle the number and quality of miniutes he played in EDM last season.

    Stating that BOS would be crazy to do this deal puts Bergeron in a category that he has yet to prove he belongs in – the true elite young forwards like OV, Crosby, Kova, Nash, Heatley. Two 70 point seasons and getting destroyed in your own end against tougher opposition does not put you in that group.

  12. Pleasure Motors says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree, I just think the Bruins might.

    $4.75 million per year for five years may not necessarily be wise, but it’s more than we’ve spent on any forward not named Hemsky, and think about what you’d want in return for him.

  13. Art Vandelay says:

    Stoll and Smid for Bergeron?
    Are they dropping acid in the North Saskatchewan again?

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