The day Edmonton traded Ryan Smyth the team became Ales Hemsky’s. Sure, there are other quality men on the team, but each summer is spent discussing linemates for 83, should we trade 83 (this summer it was Matheson who mentioned it) and what can we do to get mad max from Hemsky.
I’m not certain what people are waiting for, Ales Hemsky has made himself known to us for quite some time. He is a surreal, sublime talent with an incredible ability to create beautiful goals. Just on pure entertainment value this guy is worth the money spent, but his wheelhouse is with the man advantage. Don’t take Hemsky into the alley, don’t take him to a fistfight, but when you’re playing hockey and trying to score a goal this fellow should be front and center.
- Boxcars: 72gp, 23-43-66, 32pims
- Shots: 185
- Plus Minus: +1
- Corsi: 4.3
- GF/GA ON: 44-40
- 5×5/60: 2.08
- 5×4/60: 5.00
- Quality of Competition: 2nd level
- Quality of Teammates: best available
- FO %: 0-for-4
- 09-10 Cap Hit: $4.1M (nhlnumbers.com)
- What do those numbers tell us? Hemsky’s contract is the best in the organization and his delivery system on the powerplay is among the best in the business (best among wingers in the NW based on 5×4/60 among the men who were hired for the purpose). Hemsky is not as effective at EV strength (among RW’s who played the entire season he ranks 4th in the division–behind Iginla, Burrows and Demitra. source: Desjardins) and that is the reason (I believe) for all the chatter about finding him a left-winger. His Corsi is a nice number.
- How could the numbers be better? They could play him more (all the time) on the powerplay. Calgary gets Iginla way more time with the man advantage. They could also hire a shooter to play left wing. He’s also entering his prime, so the numbers will probably be better for the next few years.
- What about Horcoff? I think he’s an ideal center for Hemsky–except for the fact that he’s not a natural goal scorer. Horcoff is a very smart player and not everyone can play with 83 (as we’ve learned). Hemsky is not a cerebral player like Sam Gagner, he’s all reflex and reaction ala Guy Lafleur. Horcoff’s the guy.
- What about LW? Earlier this summer I talked about the importance of Peter McNab to Rick Middleton’s career and mentioned staying the course with Dustin Penner or moving in Patrick O’Sullivan. I think O’Sullivan’s strengths (he’s a shooter, outshot Penner 187 to 89 at 5×5 last season–that’s an amazing stat) might give him the edge over the poor man’s Frank Mahovlich in this way. Dany Heatley would have been electric on Hemsky’s portside btw.
- Will Quinn continue to play him against tougher opposition? From what we read Quinn isn’t so much interested in matching up against a specific forward(s) as getting his men good situations against the other club’s defenders. Even if he just rolls the 4lines with Hemsky getting extra powerplay minutes the numbers should be there.
- What Else? I think Quinn and Renney will probably use him more like Anaheim uses Selanne–softer opposition for 83 with the idea that the team holds the other guy at bay and makes hay with Hemsky.
- How Important is Hemsky to this team? Watching this team without Hemsky is like being the French in World War Two–it’s only a matter of time.
06-07 5×5 per 60m: 2.09
07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.36
08-09 5×5 per 60m: 2.08
06-07 5×4 per 60m: 5.45
07-08 5×4 per 60m: 5.93
08-09 5×4 per 60m: 5.00
06-07 EVS: 804 minutes, 12:33 per game
07-08 EVS: 1074 minutes, 14:31 per game
08-09 EVS: 1030 minutes, 14:18 per game
06-07 PP: 275 minutes, 4:18 per game
07-08 PP: 286 minutes, 3:52 per game
08-09 PP: 305 minutes, 4:14 per game
Predicted: 82gp, 26-62-88 (1.07 per game)
Actual: 74gp, 20-51-71 (.959 per game)
Predicted: 73gp, 26-67-93 (1.27 per game)
Actual: 72gp, 23-43-66 (.917 per game)
Prediction for 2009-10: 75gp, 24-66-90 (1.20 per game)