Sometimes I say things out loud often enough that they become (to me) true. One of them is “there are probably 60 players in the AHL who could play in the NHL in a support role” and this season it looks like the Oilers are going to test the theory.
Ryan Stone and Jean-Francois Jacques have some NHL qualities and some things that grade out at below average. However, Pat Quinn decided in training camp that the team needed size and strength up front to protect the minute men and that meant playing time for the two gritty wingers.
Things are breaking right for both, as injuries to veteran forwards and bubble players means extended looks for them. Eventually I’d expect one or the other will be placed on waivers and either head to Springfield or another NHL city. Eventually one or both will end up having a Toby Petersen-style career: famous enough to get chance after chance in the NHL despite being about as good as 5-dozen AHL regulars.
Ales Hemsky is due. Baseball announcers used to say that about big league hitters who were in slumps. If we can agree that a MLB regular gets about 4.3 at-bats a game, then Hemsky is about 8 at-bats into his season with one rbi and very little to show for his efforts. I’d bet a lot of money on his having a big game in the next week or so and then settling in at a slightly-less-than-point-per-game pace before finding the range in a real way as we approach Christmas.
Having said that, the last team on planet earth I would pick for Ales Hemsky to have a breakout game against is the Calgary Flames. And if he does have a big game tonight, how much of the credit will we give to Dustin Penner?