Ales Hemsky is worth the price of admission. He is easily the best of Edmonton’s skill right wingers this decade (Bill Guerin’s 12 games before the fall 2000 trade, Anson Carter’s 69 goals) and his spring 2006 (24gp, 6-11-17) topped off a wonderful 05-06 season and represented his arrival as a legit top line player who delivered on draft pedigree.
Hemsky has some company on RW and the depth chart at this position is excellent. Backing up Hemsky at the position are Robert Nilsson, Fernando Pisani and Zack Stortini.
As an example of just how good this group is, let’s list the EV/60 numbers for each and compare it to their opposite number on the Calgary Flames:
- Hemsky 2.36 Vs. Iginla 2.85
- Nilsson 2.37 Vs. Nolan 1.57
- Pisani 1.55 Vs. Moss 1.55
- Stortini 1.24 Vs. Godard 0.35
Louise mentioned in a previous post that Sam Gagner played his best games on the Soft Parade line while at RW, so if we put him in there instead of Nilsson that gap is somewhat less (1.96) but it still indicates that the Oilers can put up more EV offense when the cannons are pointed in the right direction than the Flames (save Jesus Iginla) right wingers.
If we complete the depth chart from the previous posts on the subject (and make the change Louise mentioned), we come up with this:
Keeping Glencross (C-LW-RW)
- Moreau and Reasoner as extras
- Pouliot and Jacques as extras
I think either of these two forward groups have enough to make the playoffs. The keeping Glencross team has an area of obvious weakness (experience at C) but nice depth elsewhere. The Stoll group is better at center but would need to rely on JF Jacques should Moreau or Raffi go down and would be in real trouble if Stoll remains ineffective and injuries hit the LW again in 08-09.
Should they add a veteran NHL skill player who is a first shot scorer to either top 12 above then I think we can start talking about this forward group overtaking Colorado (for my money the best F cluster in the division during 07-08) as the best in the NW for 08-09.