"Let’s let Toonces drive!"

This is Toonces. He gained fame with his interesting ability to drive a car during the early days of SNL. He drove some classics too (Vega? I think he drove a Chevy Vega, and he drove a nice limo in the driving Ms. Daisy skit iirc) and for those of us who saw him Toonces was something special behind the wheel. Accidents happen, and when Toonces was driving that was the outcome every time.

I think that’s a likely outcome should the Edmonton Oilers decide to trade Ales Hemsky. Trading your best player is seldom a good idea, and your best player signed to an excellent contract being dealt is kind of crazy thinking.

I could get behind dealing Hemsky if there were a quality two-way center in the same age and price range coming back. If the Oilers send away the Pardubice prince but acquire a player of similar talent with a wider range of skills, I can get behind it.

But trading Hemsky for the sake of trading him? Because he hasn’t reached our expectations at a (still) young age? I don’t think that’s really thinking clearly. Let’s begin by listing some Edmonton Oilers and their boxcar numbers since the end of the lockout:

  1. Ales Hemsky 297gp, 76-196-272 (.916)
  2. Shawn Horcoff 299gp, 77-152-229 (.766)
  3. Mike Comrie 291gp, 84-103-187 (.643)
  4. Dustin Penner 249gp, 74-64-138 (.554)

I admit this isn’t a long list but in fairness many of the Oilers forwards have arrived in the NHL since the lockout ended so putting them on the list with so few GP doesn’t make a lot of sense. Okay, why don’t we do this: let’s take the best offensive forward from each NW team over those years (I’ll select Iginla, both Sedins, Gaborik and Paul Stastny) and see where he ranks:

  1. Marian Gaborik 215gp, 129-112-241 (1.12)
  2. Jarome Iginla 324gp, 161-191-352 (1.086)
  3. Henrik Sedin 335gp, 68-257-325 (.970)
  4. Daniel Sedin 331gp, 118-197-315(.952)
  5. Paul Stastny 201gp, 64-127-191 (.950)
  6. Ales Hemsky 297gp, 76-196-272 (.916)
  7. Ryan Smyth 286gp, 117-123-240 (.839)
  8. Milan Hejduk 321gp, 118-120-238 (.741)
  9. Wojtek Wolski 248gp, 60-93-153 (.617)

I think that’s about where we’d imagine him to be offensively, behind Marion Crane, Iginla, the Piss Cutters and the grandson of Bratislava. Right? If I missed someone please let me know and there’s every chance one of the kids has a better number but this is for the group since the lockout ended.

So, if the Oilers deal Hemsky and acquire a player of similar quality then fine. If the player has a wider range of skills, good. But if this is about Ales Hemsky’s “heart” or the fact that he hasn’t emerged as an impact player then I think the Oilers are making a mistake.

Winning organizations identify weakness and fix it long term and without robbing from other areas of weakness. Who replaces Hemsky if he’s dealt for a dissimilar player? Which Oiler can impact the powerplay at the same level?

I think this season’s version of Ales Hemsky is more about injuries (Horcoff, Hemsky) and not using Penner as the third man on the line. Before they start looking to deal off Hemsky, shouldn’t we be asking about the replacement for Jacques on that line?

Losing organizations would deal Hemsky. Focus on the things Hemsky doesn’t deliver instead of what he can do and pretty soon you see him as being terribly flawed. I don’t understand it, didn’t anyone else see this team since 2005 fall and come to the realization he’s the real thing?

Ales Hemsky’s point total isn’t terrible folks. He’s going to be fine, he’ll find his way and I suspect Quinn will come to rely on him more heavily as the season wears on. A lot of the problem with Hemsky’s line has little or nothing to do with Hemsky. I understand fretting about the turnovers in bad places and there’s no doubt there are a lot of fine skill players on the 09-10 Oilers.

Not a one of them is Ales Hemsky yet. We should keep that in mind.

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134 Responses to ""Let’s let Toonces drive!""

  1. Bookie says:

    Maybe this is the only way they can figure out to get a sniper for him?

  2. Lowetide says:

    Trade him?

  3. DBO says:

    Great pos LT. I totally agree. i posted a week agao about whether we would consider trading him, with the thought being what could we get? And that is the big question. What could we get back that we would be happy about. Would a dan hamhuis (signed to an extension) be worth hemsky? Thus allowing us to deal another dman for an offenswive forward with a better range of skills. Hemsky is what he is, a really good offensive player who is still young and has a hell of a contract. That has great value. i think the ire of fans comes from his seeming to be disinterested this year more so then he has in the last few years.

  4. GSC says:

    Couldn't agree more, LT.

    Hemmer, with his age and contract, is still a gem and to move him now would be a huge mistake.

    There is naught to fear, however, as I doubt Mr. TAMBOurine man is willing to trade the young Ales.

  5. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think this season's version of Ales Hemsky is more about injuries (Horcoff, Hemsky) and not using Penner as the third man on the line. Before they start looking to deal off Hemsky, shouldn't we be asking about the replacement for Jacques on that line?

    I'm grinning right now and I don't know why.

    The only player that I'd want coming back is Stephen Weiss at this point. However, that's just solving one problem and creating another.

    Hemsky is good, really good. He's the third best RW in the league when he has the Manitoba Moose on his LW. So, either get him the Manitoba Moose back, or give him someone that isn't an AHL forward. Comrie? Nilsson?

    At some point, some coach is going to realize that you can't make a power versus power line with an AHL player or fourth liner on it. Shero realized this last year and got Kunitz and Guerin in place of Satan and Dupuis. Even Sydney Crosby couldn't carry a line by himself in Shero's eyes.

    If the coach can't see it soon…bad things man.

  6. Bookie says:

    Yeah, for example, I bet that Hemsky would light it up in San Jose with Thornton and Heatley and easily become that point a game player we have been looking for.

    I am, of course, not the least bit serious. Its just unfortunate that the team has been hunting for that left winger for about the last three years and has had no luck in finding one.

    I wonder if there is any frustration from Hemsky. He might think that the organization has served him poorly after he committed to a long term contract by not getting him an elite sniper to work with.

    Hemsky might be totally happy, but I just wonder…

  7. Bookie says:

    I should note that Penner has done exceptionally well on that line (with Hemsky), but somehow that line is destined to stay apart.

  8. DeeDee says:

    I know you are a big fan of finding other players to compare against LT.

    And Hemsky is a bit of an enigma. I defy anyone to find a comparable player.

    He gives you eight or so amazing games in a year where he dominates the opposition and is the best player in the league.

    He will also give you a bunch of games where he isn't noticeable and more than a few head scratchers.

    I have never seen a player carry the puck so much; he circles round and round the opposition zone and just hangs on to it.

    I heard Quinn talking about the last time he coached internationally and how Joe Sakic had carried the puck about a minute and twenty seconds during the games, and thought, meh, Hemsky could do that during a single shift.

    I think his nose is out of joint about a few different things, including Kotalik leaving, and not having a third player on his line.

    His contract has very good value, and the Oilers could leverage a trade where they package Hemsky along with a bad contract.

  9. Schitzo says:


    And Hemsky is a bit of an enigma. I defy anyone to find a comparable player.

    Kovalev?

    The same "best player on the ice when he feels like it" sort of hot and cold.

  10. Henry says:

    Trading Hemsky after 6 games in which he appears expendable would be shortsighted and stupid, but would at least extend the organization's pattern in recent years. Trading its best player (Pronger) left a disgraceful defence in its wake for two years and a poor return. The left wing has been a revolving door of mediocrity (until this year maybe) since the Oiler's best player (Smyth) went for a weak return. What does moving bring? A weak right side until about 2012.

    My read on last year was a struggling Hemsky not scoring goals until about the tenth game in Philly when he destroyed them and then going on a 10 week run when he was among the leagues most dangerous, entertaining and productive players until Tootoo clipped him and he was ok, but not the same afterward.

    The Oilers badly need not to trade him for three reasons: 1) He always draws the top D which opens up space for the other lines to produce. One good game sans Hemsky for everyone against a depleted and poor Wild team is an illusion of capability. 2) He is the reason to pay for a hockey game even if the team sucks. Something great may happen with regularity. 3) Trading him says (again) "Edmonton, star players need not apply!"

    Hemsky seems not to have found top gear yet this year, but that will come and it will be fun. JFJ keeps going offside with Hemsky carrying, that would piss me off too. Penner should help out here. It's the organization's best and most obvious move.

    Sorry for the long post, the Sunday AM coffee got me amped for a rant.

  11. djhender says:

    If Tambo sent out a fax (do they still fax?) saying Hemsky is available… he would get 29 offers. That alone tells me it's a bad idea to trade him.

  12. Lowetide says:

    He's Rick Middleton. He has been since about midway through season two. The Bruins were crazy good during that era and had a much better support group than Hemsky has had since the Pronger flush.

  13. spOILer says:

    I think the worries about Hemsky are overblown.

    1. All skill players create stupid turnovers. Is Hemsky's turnover rate greater than other skill players of the same age an experience? Not really by my eye, but there are no trustworthy stat to back that up.

    2. Hemsky's numbers so far this year have been affected by being the engine pulling the Crazy Train caboose up and down the ice.

    3. Hemsky's numbers have been affected by Quinn rolling lines on the PP.

    4. He's been a slow starter in the past.

    5. We do not know if the concussion is affecting his willingness to go the dirty spots.

    6. He's learning a new system, which is apparently affecting the skill guys, from what they've said. Which also likely means he's thinking too much out there, a bit hesitant to make the play while worrying about position.

    7. Nobody ever said he'd be a 100 point guy. He's covering his draft bet by position and class in a major way.

    What I would like to see from him:

    –A little better puck management in the neutral zone, including a willingness to dump and chase, especially now that he has a big winger to retrieve the puck from the corner.

    –A little more Forsberg at EVs and on the PP. That is, being willing to go to the crease at EVs with and without the puck in lots of traffic. Also taking the puck from the half boards to the corner on the PP, have the centre cruise the high slot like Sakic and force the two guys down low to either play him or the centre or Penner on the other side of the crease.

    I think Hemmer's fine though. He's blocked more pucks this year than in his whole career it seems, and I doubt he'd be doing that if he was hurt.

    As for a trade, I doubt you could deal him for enough value back in a declining cap world, unless it was for picks and prospects, and we already know what that does to a team.

    The problem of having Cogliano and Gagner at centre in the same cluster remains the biggest issue IMO. Either one has to permanently convert to wing or eventually we are going to have serious grief at C when Horc is at the end of his career.

    The winger problem looks like it could be solved by finding a 2LW with some size and hands, and maybe JFJ can be that guy, maybe not, but eventually it's going to be tried and Penner promoted as the season progresses.

    If I was forced to trade Hemmer, then it would have to be a guy like Kovalchuk coming back. Someone who can score serious goals without a lot of help. But then we'd need a RH centre who can pass to Ilya, creating another issue, unless we're promoting Gagner straight to the first line.

    Trading Hemmer for a centre is just going to create a bigger logjam up the middle and we'd still have a massive hole at 1RW. I suppose they could trade Horc + Hemmer for Eric Staal and then hire some mercs to play the wing, but they'd have to dump some salary somewhere else to pull that one off.

  14. Coach pb9617 says:

    I should clarify that Weiss is the only one in the category of well-rounded player that does lots of things.

    There are plenty of other desirable players that can come back for Hemsky.

  15. spOILer says:

    Rick Middleton's splits:

    448–540–988

    Nifty Ricky's shots actually found the net on occasion.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Well he was certainly more of a shooter, but was also an exceptional passer. And if we're going to get into it, I'd guess Hemsky's numbers would be better if the Oilers gave him Peter McNab and Terry O'Reilly at their peaks too.

  17. spOILer says:

    The problem with Stephen Weiss is he doesn't score goals. It's nice that he has a lot of tools in his box, but the one tool I'd want back in a trade for Hemsky is the ability to score goals.

  18. Steve says:

    I'm beginning to lose faith that Hemsky will ever become the player I expected him to (my expectations were very high, in fairness: top 20 offensive forward in the league, with the ability to play power vs. power), so I understand the "trade him!" chorus. But we have to forget expectations and look at reality: he's still our best offensive player and still a near certainty to outperform his contract. Horpensky's a very good first line, and you have to think that Pat Quinn will either figure that out or discover something that works about as well.

    In a trade, whoever gets the best player usually wins. The odds of the Oilers getting the best player in a trade involving Ales Hemsky are slim. In a cap world, that adage could be modified to "whoever gets the best player at the best price usually wins", and the odds of the Oilers winning by that metric are even longer.

    Keep him.

  19. spOILer says:

    We have O'Reilly, or at least it looks like O'Reilly has finally shown up. It's really McNab we're missing.

    Or couldn't we also say, we have Pederson, we're missing Middleton?

  20. Lowetide says:

    I think Hemsky's good for 25 goals, that's something. Last season's total (23) was tied for first on the team and he led the club in points.

    The previous season he was one of three players with 20 goals (leader had 23) and again led the team in points.

    He's not as gifted as a goal scorer, but he's not the problem in this area.

  21. Gord says:

    Ales Hemsky is a very selfish line mate – nobody on his line knows where he is going with the puck. Therefore they are usually out of position (i.e. off side) to create a great attack.

    The flip side of the coin is that Hemsky has a lot of speed & talent; which compensates for most of what I stated in the first paragraph.

    If somehow Quinn is able to get Hemsky to work better with his line mates, then he will flirt with 100 points. Until then, what we see is what we get.

    On a side note, since someone mentioned Kotalik, six of his 7 points this season are PP points…

  22. Coach pb9617 says:

    (my expectations were very high, in fairness: top 20 offensive forward in the league, with the ability to play power vs. power)

    He's been that when he's not trying to get Ethan Moreau and JF Jacques to score goals for him.

  23. Jon says:

    Coach said
    "I should clarify that Weiss is the only one in the category of well-rounded player that does lots of things."

    Except score goals and stay healthy. He's scored 20 goals once and never played a full season.

    Trading for Stephen Weiss, sure.
    Talking of Weiss in the same breath as Hemsky…Nah.

    I'm going to play devil's advocate for Pat Quinn here.

    Quinn has coached alot of elite players and i'm sure his thinking is that if you have two elite players (Horcoff, Hemsky) on a line they should produce, which would allo him to place other valuable assets on other lines (penner).

    I'm with Pat Quinn here. Whether it's Jaques, O'sullivan, or the captain playing left wing, when you have two elite players on elite contracts, who have previous chemistry, they should find a way to produce.

  24. Traktor says:

    Trade Horcoff instead.

  25. Steve says:

    He's been that when he's not trying to get Ethan Moreau and JF Jacques to score goals for him.

    Really? I assume you're right, because you're much smarter than I am, but which of the following would you rank him ahead of?

    Crosby
    Malkin
    Ovechkin
    Semin
    Datysuk
    Zetterberg
    Sedin
    Sedin
    Iginla
    Carter
    Richards
    Thornton
    Gagne
    Alfredsson
    Heatley
    Parise
    Kovalchuk
    Lecavalier
    Getzlaf
    Perry

    Not that those are necessarily the best twenty offensive forwards in the league, just the first twenty I thought of who I'd think would be considered better than Hemsky. I know it's apples and aardvarks in some of these cases, but who of those do you rank Hemsky above?

  26. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Actually, Lecavalier's numbers were inferior to Hemsky's will enjoying Martin St-louis and Vaclav Prospal most of the season.

  27. Steve says:

    Actually, Lecavalier's numbers were inferior to Hemsky's will enjoying Martin St-louis and Vaclav Prospal most of the season.

    Last year, you're correct about the boxcars: Hemsky scored at .917 points per game, Lecavalier at only .870. Expanding the sample size to include every year since the lockout, though, we get Lecavalier at 1.07 (a better pace than Hemsky's managed in any single season) and Hemsky at .918.

    I have no idea how to calculate QUALTEAM and QUALCOMP and Corsi and the rest of it, so I guess it's possible that you could convince me that Hemsky's the better offensive player, but you'd have a hell of a hill to climb. Right now, at the same price I take Lecavalier ten times out of ten.

  28. spOILer says:

    LT, I think Hemmer's capable of 30+ goals.

    It's only brains, courage, and consistency that's holding him back. Maybe a little confidence.

    Knowledge can be learned, courage found, consistency desired, and subsequently confidence gained. So it could yet still happen.

    He has all the physical tools, although more strength and bulk would be nice.

  29. Lowetide says:

    I've never really understand the questions about his courage (I for one wouldn't go within 90 feet of Robin Regehr if I were #83) but it does seem to be out there so maybe I'm biased.

    The brains point I do understand. I'm not saying he's stupid, but he's more read and react than cerebral. Sam Gagner is the thinking man's playmaker on this team.

  30. raventalon40 says:

    Wow, Lowetide you wrote exactly what I was thinking but didn't know how to express. I agree with you 100% on the Hemsky thing.

  31. Bar Qu says:

    Crazy talk. That's all that can be said for the idea of trading him.

    Who would replace him? How would the team get similar cap value?

    Crazy talk.

  32. PDO says:

    Is Toonces code for Kevin Lowe?

    Trading Hemsky is madness.

    If you do trade him, you pair him with someone to get someone better…

  33. Coach pb9617 says:

    Except score goals and stay healthy. He's scored 20 goals once and never played a full season.

    What are you talking about? He's played 74, 74, 78 games in the last three years.

  34. Bookie says:

    I've never really understand the questions about his courage

    Agreed, he has demonstrated no problems going into tough areas and taking hits.

    Maybe some people are afflicted with Doncherrititus or something and cannot see that.

  35. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Hemsky

    vs

    Andrei Kostitsyn

    Would you do it?

  36. Bar Qu says:

    FPB, I don't know Kostitsyn(sic) but I don't even think that is an off-base trade. Essentially you say, 'Here Montreal, you get better while we send ourselves to suckville for 4 more years. Have fun in the playoffs!'

    Maybe Kostitsyn is that good, but the buzz does not suggest that.

  37. Lowetide says:

    FPV: No.

  38. oil dude says:

    Thank goodness we haven't heard any rumblings like this from anybody that matters, the Oilers are not trading Hemmer this year and I am glad about that. They will need to trade him before he becomes a UFA though, only losing organizations let star players walk away for nothing *cough*Gaborik*cough*

  39. Gerta Rauss says:

    Trading Hemsky 7 games into the season doesn't make sense.
    Talk to me again in April if the Oilers miss the playoffs again however…

    This team has some assets to trade-a puck moving D and one of the smurf forwards come to mind.

  40. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Well it's only a base. Sure the Montreal Canadiens would pitch-in some extra value.

    Fact is with Kostitsyn, is that he has all the tools to be a 40 goal scorer, but for some odd reasons, he doesn't shoot often. Even if pretty much all his shoots, either go in, cause the goalie to be going flat on his back to cover the puck, or give a huge rebound. Even while watching all Habs game, i have no memory of a goaltender catching a clear shot from him with his glove.

    Here's what happens when he's in his bubble. (Thing that doesn't happen too often sadly D=)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxxyBeNohCg

  41. Racki says:

    I'm with you 100% in not trading Hemsky (barring some crazy good deal we can't pass up on). It just strikes me as an Edmonton thing to do.. there's not enough to talk about because the team is looking decent right now, so let's find someone who's struggling and pack his suitcase for him.

    Good ol' flashy, awesome Hemsky will be back soon enough. Until then, we should find something else to talk about, like how much better this team really looks so far.

    I go against the grain on the JFJ thing though… I think he's added some new life. He plays a simple game and we know what he's going to do. It's hard to think that Penner wouldn't be better on that line (well we know that), but I like that Quinn doesn't spread the team thin. He's got capable guys on every line, and each of the lines is made up of interchangeable parts. Interchangeable parts – that's the new buzzword here these days. Perhaps Hemsky could just be moved to another line to get him going.. maybe with Comrie and a bigger guy.

  42. Lowetide says:

    FPB: We have guys like that too, they don't form the foundation for a Hemsky trade, unless the player is in his walk year and it's trade deadline day. The Ryan Smyth trade would be an example.

    Would you trade him for Robert Nilsson?

  43. Lowetide says:

    Racki: I love Jacques' game and think he could help in a line similar to the one he played on the other night.

    But Hemsky and Horcoff need better hands, imo even more than size. I was hoping Quinn would try a shooter (O'Sullian, Comrie) up there but so far no deal.

  44. Bookie says:

    Perhaps comrie out with Hemsky on the PP might be nice.

  45. Icecastles says:

    I'm one of the unpopular minority who keeps raising the possibility of trading Hemsky. NOT because I think he should be traded: he's a great player and his contract is a great value. My take though, has been holding up the idea of Hemsky as a sacred cow where (until this excellent post by LT) it's been taboo to even talk about the pros and cons. So, just to play devil's advocate for a moment, here are the reasons that I think one could trade Hemsky (and again, there is a long difference between could and should.

    1. If you want to get something of value, you have to be willing to give up something of value. We are not, for example, going to get a Hossa or a Gaborik or a Heatley by offering up the Staios's and Strudwicks of the team.

    2. Seven years in the league has shown that Hemsky is a really good player, but absolutely not a superstar. We continue to talk as if he is scoring 40 goals and 100 points a season, or is just a line mate away from doing it. He's not.

    3. Hemsky creates a lot of offsides with his style of play, which is an indicator of the real underlying issue with him: he seems to be a very difficult guy to play with. Having him as the anchor of the top line means you're trying to build your team (or at least a key part of it) around a player who may not gel with any particular line mates. And if that gelling process doesn't happen (and how many players has he been tried with now over the last 3 years alone?), then another roster move has been wasted, Hemsky continues to underperform, and we continue to blame his line mates.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that as good a player as Hemsky is, I question to some extent how much he helps the team move forward and how much he is essentially holding the roster hostage by forcing management to try to create a top line around him. It's a team game, and the whole Hemsky thing seems to turn that on its head. We are trying to create a top line around a guy who most likely will never be a 100-point guy, and who doesn't seem to bring anything (leadership, defensive skill, big hits, etc) beyond the playmaking ability.

    As someone commented this summer, if the Oilers finally land a player who can get Hemsky to the next level, then that player, not Ales Hemsky, is the real superstar.

  46. Lowetide says:

    Icecastles: The offsides and turnovers come with the fact he is pure reflex and creativity and that also makes him difficult to play with. So was Guy Lafleur btw, and Horcoff is about what Lemaire was to that line. What they need is a sublime two-way LW with sick hands like Steve Shutt.

    I don't agree that the player must be a superstar to make Hemsky better, though. Penner did that and isn't a superstar, Horcoff did that and he isn't either. You can credit Hemsky as being the better of the three, but there's no Zetterberg there.

  47. Lowetide says:

    Poor Aaron Sorochan is getting a taste of what it's like to play goal for an Oiler farm team.

    3-0 after one period, outshot 16-7. He stopped 13 of them, though.

  48. Racki says:

    LT: Yah I hear what you're saying, and you're right they do need better hands. Or at least, I think Hemsky does. This is why I was thinking Hemsky could be the guy that gets bumped off that line. Just a thought. All the lines get fairly equal ice time, so it's not like he's being demoted… but maybe he'd do better with say Comrie/Penner, or someone like that.

    Quinn's strategy is pretty obvious.. there is a big body on every line, a defensive player on every line, a playmaker and a shooter (with some qualifying for more than one of those roles obviously). So beyond that, we get pretty thin on guys who can shoot well, while still ensuring that line has size.

  49. Kyle says:

    I thought Toonces was going to be a metaphor for Tambellini or Lowe. They CAN manage a hockey team, just not very well!

  50. mattwatt says:

    I am surprised people say "Hemsky brings nothing up offensive upside"

    Last I look, there are very few with his skill set who go into corners as hard as he does. I agree, is upside of 100 points seem off, but what is so bad of the 75-80 point range that will be his production from here on out.

    As for the 20 players listed, I would take him over Semin (to much like Kovalchuk, really gifted one way, and has about the same ceiling as Hemsky) and Simon Gagne (same production, but Hemsky is a lot younger with a better contract).

  51. dave says:

    It is crazy to trade Hemsky. It is possible that he is injured. However we have to admit this team has shown WAY more consistent compete than I can remember. He has never competed for ice-time once arrived at the top-line and that could also be bothering him.

    I really don't like the criticism of JFJ from the perspective of the team. I think we have the potential to be challenging team to play against. Who do you defend? hemmer, penner, comrie? and no matter where you put your eggs your gonna have to eat some crust in the process.

    I hope its just some nagging injury or illness….

  52. Icecastles says:

    Fair enough, LT, but none of those players have pushed Hemsky into the ppg+ range. I'm talking about finding that elusive player who works with Hemsky and can convert his plays into goals. 27 and 10 have done that with some success, but it seems that management have for a couple years now been trying to find an even better compliment for him. I think that's actually how a lot of us viewed POS – a shooter who could bury more of Hemsky's chances.

    Also, the turnovers, yes I agree that that comes with the territory. The offsides though, I think are more indicative of a player who needs to be aware of his linemates. It smacks of selfish "lone ranger" play. It seems a bit contradictory that a guy whose primary skill is playmaking ability is so frequently oblivious to (or uninterested in) what his team mates are doing and where they are on the ice.

    And Hemsky is definetely no Guy Lafleur. Perhaps I'm biased because I'm more cerebral than reflex so I like players who are similar, but I just don't see Hemmer as being good enough to be able to get away with being a pure reflexive/creative player. It says to me that Hemsky, kind of like Rob Schremp, is going to play his game, his way. And if it doesn't benefit the team or work with the line mates he has, then too bad for everyone else.

    So there you have it: Ales Hemsky: Half Guy Lafleur, half Rob Schremp. :)

    (tongue firmly in cheek here by the way. I'm actually a pretty big fan of Hemsky… just not to the extent of a lot of others on the board)

  53. FlamingPavelBure says:

    LT: Nope, not for Nilsson, maybe Sergei for Robert but not Andrei.

    Andrei scores a big parts of his goals on EV, a rare thing. And his wrist shot is arguably the best NHL wide. (Don't bring up Ovechkin, his shot is godlike, but he shoots 10 times a game, Andrei, 1 or 2 times)

  54. Spot The Loon says:

    Great post, LT.

    I wonder about those who criticize Hemsky. I mean, many of us recognize, which LT has pointed out on numerous occasions, that we have a lot of smaller, skilled forwards. So why are we contemplating trading the best of the lot? I know Brownlee raised this issue over at ON.

    In my mind, Hemsky is what I will call a tweener. I use this in the sense that he is between being a very good player and a superstar. I think some get frustrated with him because he seemingly makes the game look easy but not to the point where he is racking up 100 points a year. Maybe because the game looks easy for him, people think he is soft and capable of more, I don't know.

    Hemsky, like everyone, has had to adjust to the new systems our coaching staff has brought in. Maybe it is an adjustment for him or maybe he is hiding an injury. Until I hear otherwise, I am not going to assume he is upset and wants out. That sort of idle speculation leads nowhere.

    Would I trade Hemsky? Not in a New York minute. lol Here is why:

    1. His contract is a good value, not only this year but into the future.

    2. In spite of the fact that he is a very good player, there is still potential for further upside.

    3. If he had linemates that complemented his style of play, I think that may help him elevate his game to an even higher level.

    4. Who would you get back in a trade that would fill that hole WITH A COMPARABLE TERM AND SALARY? Not a chance getting that level of value back in trade.

    5. Although Hemsky may not play a "complete" game where he crashes and bangs, he is still the best player on the team considering the areas where he excels.

    Trade Hemsky? In my mind, as LT said, it would be short sighted and further proof of management's limited view of the world in which they live. Furthermore, what have they done to bring in the type of players, by and large, that would complement his style and provide him with the tools and environment to grow beyond the level he has reached.

  55. Gerta Rauss says:

    This is why I was thinking Hemsky could be the guy that gets bumped off that line. Just a thought. All the lines get fairly equal ice time, so it's not like he's being demoted… but maybe he'd do better with say Comrie/Penner, or someone like that.

    Stauffer was interviewed during the 2nd intermission the other night.Off the cuff he mentioned that once Pisani gets back he might be a nice fit with Horcoff.

    x-Horcoff-Pisani

    Just tossing that out there…I thought Traktor might find that interesting.

  56. Lowetide says:

    Icecastles: Well yes, clearly he isn't Guy Lafleur, suspect you know I wasn't suggesting it. :-)

    I do think he can play the same style for many years and in fact he has been able to for awhile now against tougher competition.

    Hemsky doesn't (and hasn't) done this against the soft parade and I think that gets overlooked a lot.

  57. Schitzo says:

    Gerta – What if Pisani moves to the left side and plays with Horcoff and Hemsky? Pisani is certainly smart enough to keep up.

  58. godot10 says:

    I think all this Hemsky trade talk is premature. He is a slow starter, and Quinn is figuring out his lineup, and Hemsky is adjusting to the new system.

    Remember, Horcoff and Hemsky are still going power vs. power. They are the defacto checking line.

    Jacques playing well with Brule and Stone really helps Quinn.

    I think we see:
    Comrie/Pisani, Horcoff, Hemsky
    Penner, Gagner, O'Sullivan
    Moreau, Cogliano, Stortini
    Jacques, Brule, Stone

    I think THE decision on Hemsky will be made next summer. He will have two years left on his contract, and that will be the point of maximum trade value. Quinn will have seen 80 games of Hemsky by then and will know whether he wants him long term or not.

    They are NOT going to base their decision on 10 games.

  59. Gerta Rauss says:

    @ Schitzo
    …well,godot10 seems to like the idea…:)

    I just wonder if Pisani/Horcoff/Hemsky meets the crust quotient.And if Pisani is as effective on the LW.

  60. kris says:

    Okay, the issue isn;t whether we should trade him for no reason, but whether we should be open to trading him for the right return. A year or two ago, I'd have said no, now I say yes.

    Here's how I see it, if it's stupid let me know:

    The guy gets lots of points but few goals. Since the lockout he's scored at a 22 goal/82 game pace.(Only the one Sedin was worse on your list, and that Sedin gets more points…)

    Another guy who's all assists, who has similiar boxcar numbers:

    Mike Ribeiro

    Ribeiro since the lockout:

    -318gp 83-188-271
    -0.85pts/game

    Okay, Hemsky's better than Ribeiro, but the comparison raises questions about the value of a guy who can score only 22 goals but adds 50 assists.

    Isn't a guy who score 30-30-60 worth a hell of a lot more? Especially salary cap wise? Thus, aren't there a lot of guys with fewer PPG, who might be more valuable, just as offensive contributors? Thus, isn't PPG not a reliable indicator of player value, don't we need to think about his average-ish GPG, too.

    I like Hemsky and trading him for no reason is stupid. But if this is the best he can do, I have serious worries about how much he should be paid: 5.5MM?

    The organization has shown it's willing to pull the deal on big trades and moving superstars like Smyth. My bet is they've had conversations to try to upgrade Hemsky: maybe Hemsky+Smid to a team that's building. Expect the unexpected.

  61. kris says:

    Coach the with going back to Horpensky is the lineup is so unbalanced and so youthful, that we need to spread the talent around.

    Otherwise Horpensky kills and the rest of the lines get killed three times over.

  62. Icecastles says:

    I know you weren't making a 1:1 comparison, LT.

    Godot (and others):

    Many people seem to be setting up straw men in some of these threads talking about it being premature to discuss things like Hemsky, coaching, etc. (incidentally it may be premature taking action on things, but I would argue it's never premature to discuss them.

    This assumes that the only information we have to go on is what we have gleaned from this season. In the case of Hemsky, there are several years of past data to go off of. In cases like Quinn's coaching, I could be wrong, but I believe he has coached before he got to the Oilers.

    Most of the time when we are discussing these things, we are discussing them in light of years of previous data. So the notion of a topic being "premature" isn't quite right. In fact, I don't think anyone, on the pro or con side of the discussion, is saying that the Hemsky trade topic has anything whatsoever to do with his slow start. None of us here believe that his production has fallen off a cliff or that we need to unload him because he is no longer an offensive talent.

  63. Lowetide says:

    Does Ribiero play the same kind of quality of opposition that Hemsky does? I'll guess no, but stand to be corrected.

  64. Icecastles says:

    Kris: agree 100% with everything you said.

    And the whole reason the team is having success right now (okay one of the principle reasons) is that we are rolling several lines that can produce. Not loading up one and letting the other lines flounder.

  65. Woodguy says:

    Hemsky doesn't (and hasn't) done this against the soft parade and I think that gets overlooked a lot.

    This is the key point.

    Hemsky playing with Horcoff have outscored the toughs. No easy feat, and not one that gets you a pile of easy points.

    Up until this year, the Oilers didn't have the horses to eat up the soft while 10-83 did their thing.

    Now 89 & 13 are a year older. 27 is creating a new myth, 19 is looking like he's hitting his stride, 91 is almost 1ppg, 67 is even looking comfortable and adding offence. Throw crusty jam around those guys and that's 3 line that can outscore.

    Never had that here before. Lets watch it in action before blowing it up.

    Having 10 & 83 draw the top D pair while playing the likes of Iginla, Sedins, etc while outscoring clears the way for the rest of the team to win the game.

    All that being said, there is some fair criticism in this thread:

    1) Offsides: Hemsky moves sideways at the line too often. Mind you JFJ has learned that now, and last time they played together was trying to delay his bullrush a bit.

    2) PP play. According to BTN (ridicule sample size here) Hemsky has the worst PP rating on the team with a -17.33 since he his 5v4 GFON/60 = 0
    Our powerplay has improved somewhat, but the guy who should be our leading scorer hasn't been on for a PP goal.
    Injury? Maybe. Looks frustrated and disinterested and to fix that all has to come from within Hemsky himself. No one can make him care.

    Now that being said, look at this little set of stats for Hemsky 5v5 this year:

    QualComp = 0.184 toughest comp on the team

    QualTeam = -1.131 worst QualTeam on the team

    He's playing the toughest with the worst and still has a +0.75 GF/GA per 60 differential.

    Yeah, don't trade that.

  66. Rod says:

    Excellent post LT. To highlight one paragraph:
    Losing organizations would deal Hemsky. Focus on the things Hemsky doesn't deliver instead of what he can do and pretty soon you see him as being terribly flawed. I don't understand it, didn't anyone else see this team since 2005 fall and come to the realization he's the real thing?
    —-
    Surprise, surprise, most suggesting that Hemsky could be dealt in this thread mention a few flaws (real or perceived). As though that would justify a trade. Of course the guy isn't perfect, but Hemsky is far and away the best player the Oilers have. Subtracting 83 from the lineup leaves a massive, massive hole. Trading Hemsky is madness.

    Of course if someone offered the moon, go right ahead. Take one look at the Oilers cap situation though, and realize there's zero chance of getting a good deal by trading away Hemsky. Zero.

    Hemsky will get better. Whether it's injury/illness, or the transition period in a new system, Hemsky will get better as the season progresses. The best part is the team isn't floundering while 83 works through it.

  67. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Woodguy: In a season debut, the Quality of teamates and opposition is really relative to your performances. (If you do bad, opposition gets tougher, and your teamates softer)

    I think the QualTeam shouldn't be looked upon as much as it is right now, it's very relative to your own performance.

  68. kris says:

    LT,

    I imagine Ribeiro sees softer opposition, but he doesn't play witb Horcoff.

    Who is keeping the GA/60 down against the tough opp.? Horcoff or Hemsky?

    I'd say the former 90% so. Maybe you disagree, but then we're getting into bigger questions about Horcoff's value.

  69. godot10 says:

    //Who is keeping the GA/60 down against the tough opp.? Horcoff or Hemsky?//

    Who is drawing the top defensive pairing of the other team? Making it easier for other lines. Horcoff or Hemsky?

    Jacques isn't good enough defensively at the moment to make that line saw off the opposition power vs. power. Comrie or Pisani will do better there.

    Leave Mahovlich as the cornerstone of his own softer minutes line.

  70. Gerta Rauss says:

    Take one look at the Oilers cap situation though, and realize there's zero chance of getting a good deal by trading away Hemsky. Zero.

    I agree with this if we're discussing trading him during the season.
    A Hemsky deal is a summer deal…pre draft or at the draft.Hemsky with 2 years left on his deal would be very valuable,enough to get a good return…but this is the last resort only if the team misses the playoffs for the 4th straight year.

    You don't trade Hemsky 7 games into the season.

  71. Woodguy says:

    FBV: Agreed, but that is starting to flatten out at 7 games, way better look at 20.

    I also said:

    ridicule sample size here

    I know its early.

    Hemsky is tough player bait who can outscore. Rare.

    He is the rabbit sent out to get the wolves to chase. When they do the Manitoba Moose and all his ferret friends can go after the cubs.

    How good would Dustin Brown look on lLW? He certainly is an OTC type player, except with decent hands.

    He's got a beauty contract too 3.175 until the end of 13/14.

    Would you throw Gilbert/Cogs at them or Souray/Cogs (probably an overpay, but you might have to do it) at them to get him? They got the cap space.

  72. Hemmer'oids says:

    I have a tough time with the argument that he "looks disinterested." For one, I think that his loosey-goose reflexive style might make it easier to interpret a certain shift as being lazy, but I think that he just plays a very relaxed, flowy style.

    For another thing, haven't checked the stat recently but up until a game or two ago wasn't he leading the team in blocked shots? Hemsky blocking (that many) shots! He's got to care at least a little bit.

    As for bringing someone in to snipe for him, the HNIC guys were talking about how Toronto is full of crusty defensemen and has no puckmovers. Any chance we move one of ours in a deal for a Jason Blake/Lee Stempniak? You guys know this stuff better than I do, would we/they go for it? And would it help the Oilers?

  73. Phil says:

    Great post LT. Apparently a very polarizing debate as well. (Great comments in here from virtually everyone, btw).

    I have to go with the injury theory at this point as an explanation for Hemsky's start to the season. In the past, even when Hemsky wasn't playing well, he wouldn't shy away from contact (to the point of being suicidal), but he does seem to be thinking twice about certain areas of the ice so far this year.

    Reason #2 would be spOILer's point from early in the thread – about Quinn rolling different lines on the PP. We all know Hemsky is a PP killer, and to this point he is 7th on the team in PP ice time(according to BTN) and has exactly one PP point to show for it. Both Hemsky and the PP will improve once Quinn starts running him out there more.

    As far as trading him goes, I'm with the majority here. As much as he frustrates the hell out of me and leaves me wanting more, what he brings for his cap hit would be almost impossible to replace.

    As an example, let's look at how Hemsky compared to other right wingers last year in PPG and cap hit last year.

    Havlat – .951ppg – $5M cap hit
    Alfredsson – .937 – $4.414M ($4.875 this year)
    Perry – .923 – $5.325M
    Hemsky – .917 – $4.1M
    Ryan – .891 – $1.922M
    Doan – .890 – $4.55M
    Boyes – .878 – $4M

    Seems like we're getting full value now, even considering he had a sub-par season. If the return isn't someone who is a clear improvement(please God Mike Richards), Tambo would be setting the team back by a bunch.

    Also, mentioning Pisani on LW brings back G5SCF for me. He can do nice things coming in from that side.

  74. Icecastles says:

    Rod said… Subtracting 83 from the lineup leaves a massive, massive hole.

    If you were to trade him for a defenseman or something like that, then yes. But don't be ridiculous: the only circumstance where anyone would trade Hemsky is if it were part of a package where we were getting an elite scorer back. In which case, you are not leaving a massive hole.

    Say for example there was a chance to get a player like Taves or Kane in exchange for Hemsky and a veteran salary-hole like Staios or Moreau. Would you do it? I would in a heartbeat.

    Hemsky will get better.

    Why? When? That is a lovely belief and I'd love to share it, but I have seen absolutely zero reason to believe that he will. None. Yeah, he has a lot of potential. But what has he done in the last three years to prove that his game has evolved in a meaningful way? I would dearly love to know why so many people on this board are utterly convinced he is going to turn into a superstar, because it is pretty much the only time here that I see people voicing opinions without any numbers at all to back them up.

    Again, I don't think Hemsky should be traded, because I don't think the odds are good that we would get good value coming back the other way. But this notion that there is no-one else in the NHL that can bring what he does, that the Oilers are sunk without him, and that he is a sacred cow around which the organization turns, strikes me as utterly dogmatic and utterly indefensible.

  75. Steve says:

    Say for example there was a chance to get a player like Taves or Kane in exchange for Hemsky and a veteran salary-hole like Staios or Moreau. Would you do it? I would in a heartbeat.

    So would I. Why on earth would Chicago do it, though? Edmonton would be winning the trade on the basis of talent, and absolutely dominating in once salary is taken into account.

  76. Icecastles says:

    To the above post: as far as the "hemsky getting better" comment, I am referring to his year-over-year production, which I don't think is going to go up significantly. I agree he will get better this season over what the first few games have shown. He will likely finish around the same point production mark he did last year.

  77. Icecastles says:

    Steve: that's right, and at the end of the day, that's why I wouldn't trade Hemsky – because the perfect storm needed to actually get value from a trade is deeply unlikely. I'm just saying that if that perfect storm were to arrive, there are circumstances where I think it would make a lot of sense. A 30-goal scorer for Hemsky plus a chance to dump salary would make a lot of sense to me.

    For example: I'd have traded Hemsky and Staios for Heatley, and I imagine Ottawa may have gone along with that (Heatley still wouldn't but that's not the point). I'd like that a lot more than trading away one current producer and two players who are (hopefully) a big part of our future.

  78. RiversQ says:

    Who is keeping the GA/60 down against the tough opp.? Horcoff or Hemsky?

    Huh?

    The game doesn't work that way. But by all means, tie yourself in knots trying to do it.

    Ribeiro? How did that even happen?

    I don't know why LT gave this harebrained idea any shred of credibility by posting about it in the first place. It's not worth the bytes of bandwidth spent on it.

  79. RiversQ says:

    Basically the "yea" argument for trading Hemsky can be summed up thusly:

    "I'd trade him if I could think of a plausible deal with a return that could possibly be worth it, but I can't."

    Truly time well spent.

  80. Icecastles says:

    That's ridiculous, Rivers. I could equally say that the "keep Hemsky" camp argument could be summed up thusly:

    "Hemsky's not a superstar and there is no evidence to suggest he ever will be, but that's everyone else's fault. Also we will never be able to get a *real* superstar so we might as well keep our also-ran superstar and never ever ever think about trying to get better."

    Kind of foolish, isn't it? You will never make points in a debate by pushing an argument to a ridiculous extreme to illustrate its flaws.

    There are plenty of specific scenarios where I think a Hemsky trade would make sense. But I'm not so naive to suggest that just because I think it would work, that it will happen. Yes, good trades are hard to make. That doesn't mean that you take your ball and go home, refusing to consider them or even try to make them.

  81. RiversQ says:

    Icecastles: Right now your position is that Hemsky is just as tradeable as any other player in the league from Ovechkin to Strudwick.

    That's far from novel and not worth arguing with. I don't think anyone would say "dismiss all requests for Hemsky immediately. Just hang up the phone.". Even LT wanted to deal him for Hamhuis two years ago.

  82. Lowetide says:

    The Oilers site has Hemsky doubtful for tomorrow. How sick is he?

  83. Asiaoil says:

    A few points:

    - Hemsky "seemed" IMHO to lose faith in the Oilers last season and now appears to be counting down his contract days to UFA

    - if that's true then it is unlikely he resigns so he's a declining asset going forward

    - dealing him now makes sense if that's the truth and a guy like Jordan Staal whose also on a good longterm deal might be a good target since PIT has extra centers, needs wingers, and we could use a bigger responsible C to bookend Horc. That also gives Gagner a few year to develop while being protected

    - then you use say Gilbert and/or Cogs to get another winger say a guy like Stafford or Armstrong or someone else

    - fine we draft BPA but we have too many small centers and it's long past time to deal some for assets we actually need

    Penner Horc POS
    MPS Staal Stafford
    xx Brule Pisani (resigned cheap)
    JFJ Gagner Stortini

    Vis Smid
    Souray Grebs
    xx Peckham

    Bulin/xx

    I could see dealing Hemsky but you need quality on a longterm deal in return – and Jordan Staal would satisfy that requirement for me.

  84. Racki says:

    Am I the only one that is bothered when people refer to O'Sullivan as "POS"? :P

  85. Lowetide says:

    Asia: Good post. I'd argue the body language meaning he's disinterested, would suggest frustration (last year) and injury (this year) as being more likely.

  86. Black Gold says:


    I could see dealing Hemsky but you need quality on a longterm deal in return – and Jordan Staal would satisfy that requirement for me.

    Would Ryan Kesler?

  87. Icecastles says:

    There's really no way to debate that level of bullheaded oversimplification, Rivers. So I won't. Though I will say that almost everyone on here have put up very strong and compelling arguments for their perspectives, which has kept it fun, interesting and thought-provoking. It's a shame certain people are more interested in mocking opposing perspectives rather than putting forth their own.

    You all know where I stand (okay well, most of you anyway) and I know I'm in a minority here thinking that he should be considered tradeable (not actively shopped). I see this thread rapidly devolving into a flame war so out of respect for the forum, I'm going to respectfully bow out.

  88. Woodguy says:


    Penner Horc POS
    MPS Staal Stafford
    xx Brule Pisani (resigned cheap)
    JFJ Gagner Stortini

    Vis Smid
    Souray Grebs
    xx Peckham

    That's a pretty good hockey team.

    Move JFJ up to line 3 and pencil Eberle in line 4.
    I'd rather he spend some time in the AHL, but this is the Oilers…..

  89. RiversQ says:

    I know I'm in a minority here thinking that he should be considered tradeable

    I just said he's tradeable. So has LT in the past. So have many others. So does Hemsky's SPC. As I said, what you are spouting is not novel and is not a sacred cow.

    There's no sense crunching any numbers to back up the nay argument when the yea argument is so ill-formed and vague. If there was a plausible proposal on the table, then it would be worth doing.

  90. Lowetide says:

    RQ: Would you deal Hemsky for Pittsburgh's Staal?

  91. RiversQ says:

    Would Ryan Kesler?

    Depends on the contract you could tie him up with. If it was as favourable as Hemsky's, you'd have to look at it. However, why would the Canucks deal Kesler on a longterm affordable deal?

    As for Staal, I haven't looked at the numbers recently but I'm not sure he's really that good. Asia, what makes you think Staal's a difference maker in a tougher conference without Crosby and Malkin ahead on the depth chart?

  92. kinger says:

    Icecastles said…

    Many people seem to be setting up straw men in some of these threads

    I'd say you're guilty of the same thing:

    "We are not, for example, going to get a Hossa or a Gaborik or a Heatley by offering up the Staios's and Strudwicks of the team. "

    Nobody is saying that we could get any of those players for Staios or Strudwick. We could however trade Cogliano, Penner and Smid for a guy of that calibre. In fact it is a certainty that we could get a great player without trading Hemsky.

  93. Asiaoil says:

    I don't know LT – just like it was obvious that Stoll wanted to go Hollywood and Comrie was gone months and years before it happened. Hemsky's attitude change and mgmt's reaction to it (wasting a 2nd on Kotalik) is a big neon sign shouting PROBLEMS. Kevin Lowe and his maneuvers 2006-2008 is the gift that just keeps on giving to this team :) Might as well be proactive and creative rather than watching Hemsky walk in 2012. His contract has plenty of value in it right now and I would prefer to build the slightly younger cluster underneath Hemsky. Doing that involves getting a another strong two way center who is bigger and younger – and a younger 2 way top 6 RW for some combination of Hemsky, Gilbert and Cogliano – that's not impossible by any stretch of the imagination.

  94. Lowetide says:

    Asia: I can't see it. I think they brought Kotalik in because there was a need (and that was proven with the summer of Heatley) and there was a chance he'd fill it.

    Hemsky's body language isn't exactly Steve Rogers (who once stared at Ron Hunt after the 2b made an error. Hunt, a veteran, called time, walked to the mound, and threatened Rogers' life) but I do agree there are times when you can read frustration.

    But giving up? Sulking for long stretches? Have we seen that?

    Really?

  95. Asiaoil says:

    Riv my recollection last year was that Staal was plowing some relatively tough ground with relatively weak linemates and coming out OK which is solid for someone so young. I could be wrong – but I think that was the case. I think he'll age well – rich man's Horcoff.

  96. Scott says:

    If you're looking for Steve Shutt, is Simon Gagne the one? His contract year is the same as Jeff Carter's, and we're likely to still have a low cap because it lags the economy due to the way it's calculated. Far off, but I always thought he would be perfect on that line.

    The fact that I'm talking about hypothetical UFA signings in two seasons must clearly mean there are no games on tonight…

  97. RiversQ says:

    Again, I haven't seen the numbers yet, but the stability of a Staal deal is really not there. You'd be buying one more year of Staal and only $100K/yr of cap hit savings.

    I doubt the numbers will show that's a good idea, but maybe Staal is trending up bigtime. Maybe I'll get around to it later…

  98. Asiaoil says:

    LT he's a pro and will give you a decent effort – but that's different than believing in mgmt and having a long-term commitment to the team. Look I don't have any inside info – but sometime a bit of distance gives you a different picture that you don't get close up. For me it's hard to picture him staying past 2012.

  99. Kevin says:

    I just wanted to point out a small note about expectations for Hemsky.

    1) LT is right – he does it against toughs, as shown by Derek Zona's work here:

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2009/04/best.html

    2) The 100 point number keeps getting batted around, but I think that's a somewhat mythical beast. Since the lock out, there have been nineteen 100-point seasons (an average of just under 5 per season, obviously). Only 12 different players have done it (7 repeats). I can't seem to find the numbers of players who average a point per game since the lockout, but I remember it being surprisingly low (much lower than 30, or one per team). Maybe someone more versed in this stuff can provide it?

    The point being, Hemsky is playing the toughs and is still the Oiler's best offensive forward. He might have some problems and certainly marches to the beat of a different drum (though maybe that's not a problem), but he's better than we give him credit for. I think our expectations might be too high if a 100-point season is set as the watermark, even if we all agree that we hope he continues to grow his boxcars.

    Anyway, I love cheering for the guy. Someone mentioned that he makes the team fun to watch, and it's true. He doesn't hit, but he does check players and he is very hard to play against in all zones, whether he looks interested or not. Plus, the question of whether hits are effective for scoring goals is still being debated by the bright minds of hockey (and some of the less bright ones).

    I'd rather have Hemsky than Doan (who is even with Hemmer in Zona's list of tough minutes forwards' goal differentials).

  100. Asiaoil says:

    Rive he's 5 years younger with an extra contract year and the similar cap hit makes a deal more likely. Fills a need (big two way center), closer to the Gagner cluster, has impressive results for a very young player. Longterm a Staal-Gagner combo down the middle could be impressive. Works for us and it may work for PIT given their relative strength at center and relative weakness on wing plus cap neutral.

  101. Lowetide says:

    Vic always used to say the great thing about Hemsky was he brought you out of your seat and numbers be damned (or some such).

    But I think he's been more than just entertainment these last years and although he's no longer a prospect there are things experience allows. And let's not forget he was quality on the Stanley run.

    Asia: A lot can change before 2012 summer. Not making the playoffs for this long would probably wear on anyone, but another deep run might cure it.

  102. kinger says:

    For the record I think he is tradeable but can't see how we could get equal value in return.

    As for his lack of improvement over the last few years, take a look at how both Hemsky's quality of competition and 5v5 results have increased over the last three seasons.

    On ice GF/60 – GA/60 – Qualcomp F rank (Min 40gp)

    06-07: 2.86 – 3.10 – 9th
    07-08: 2.71 – 2.94 – 2nd
    08-09: 2.69 – 2.44 – 3rd

    Tough sledding, better results.

  103. Lowetide says:

    Boston just dealt Kobasew to Minnesota for 2 prospects and a pick.

    Precursor?

  104. knighttown says:

    Some observations on #83. He's got a few bread and butter things where he racks up his points. Let's see how his doing in these:

    -vision- he's one of only two players I don't scream at when someone's open because he can see him. The other is 12 btw. Sometime his vision leads to turnovers but I can live with that. So far this season, that has not been an issue. I can picture a few great little passes that didn't end up in the back of the net.

    -PP prowess- he scores a ton of points on basic 10 foot passes on the PP, either down low or more often back to Souray/Vis. Whereas Horcoff loved that skip pass to Stoll on the opposite point, Hemmer typically makes that 10 footer, and it comes to his teammate as soft as butter. He's also very underrated at puck retrieval on the PP. He'll tie a battle and quickly move the puck to the point to restart the sequence. It's a knack and it's important. Both of these skill sets seem to still be there so the PP numbers should come along, assuming 44 doesn't miss too much time.

    -Electricity- watching on Center Ice as much as I do, out of town announcers fear this guy. Experts no less than Wayne Gretzky have called him one of the most dangerous players in the NHL and its not because of his 10 foot passes on the power play. He's in the conversation as most electric player in the NHL not named Alex Ovechkin.

    I've seen him walk Nick Lidstrom. Twice. In one game. He had to grab him both times. He dangled Regehr and oh God, Brayden Coburn, have you recovered yet from that dismantling last year? He's made great d-men look average and average d-men look like AHLers however, it seems 83's having no luck with the 1-on-1 moves this year. In the past, with a full head of steam, he'd dangle the d-man, what, 4 times out of 10? If so, that's a really high number. Has he done it even once this year?

    He's making the move, no one's biting and the result is a harmless wrister from 30 feet or the ol' behind the net journey we all know and love. I'm not worried about it yet but that's what I'm seeing. Without the electricity, Ales Hemsky's a guy with great vision and the ability to make soft, eminently shootable 10 foot passes on the power play. Or as they call him in New York, he's Vaclav Prospal.

  105. Phil says:

    Kobasew is worth three assets? Wow.

  106. Phil says:

    @Kevin – just to further your point, there's only been four RWs to have 100 point seasons since the lockout. Jagr, Alfredsson, St. Louis, and Hossa. Each only did it once. The list of RWs to reach the ppg mark is only slightly longer. Maybe another 5 guys.

    I would agree that the 100 point mark is a Yeti. If he eclipses the ppg mark for a season, I think most would consider that a success.

  107. PDO says:

    The Bruins are in an unbelievably good position.

    They now own all of their own picks, Toronto's 1st and 2nd (plus their first in 2011), and now Minnesota's 2nd.

    That's 4 picks in the top 40 of what's supposed to be a good draft, is it not? Plus a good chance at that Hall kid? Damn.

    I'll say it again: If we're trading Hemsky it better sure as fuck be for a legitimate upgrade. None of this Weiss/Staal/Ryder bullshit. If we're talking about dealing our best (or 2nd best, depending where you're sitting) forward, it better not be for another set of magic beans.

    You add Smid, or a pick, or whatever to the deal – but you sure as hell make sure the player coming back is better than Hemsky.

    Who could work? Jeff Carter? Alex Semin?

    I can't think of anyone else (who could legitimately be available due to whatever reasons you want to list).

    So those are the two guys you target. And then you find out what you're adding to Hemsky to get either of 'em.

  108. spOILer says:

    Interesting. Fallstrom, Weller and a second. The Swedish Fallstrom apparently attends Harvard. He's a 6'2" 192 lbs scoring RWer with iffy skating.

    Minnesota suffers from a lack of scoring and get a guy who has scored 20 goals in 3 of the last 4 years, but is suffering this season.

    Boston… well they add another draft pick and gets to clear about $1.7M in cap space.

  109. Gnash says:

    Hemsky – both a dessert topping AND a floor wax!

  110. Woodguy says:

    I have a tough time with the argument that he "looks disinterested." For one, I think that his loosey-goose reflexive style might make it easier to interpret a certain shift as being lazy, but I think that he just plays a very relaxed, flowy style.

    His body language on the bench and while heading back to the bench has been really negative this year.

    He's constantly shaking his head, even if the play wasn't a bad one (like 22 going offside).

    He coasts a lot to the bench too. Sometimes you can but he's throwing monkey wrenches in the changes often enough and not seeming to give a shit.

    Mind you, all those symptoms could also be frustration with an injury and not frustration with life with the Oilers.

    I dunno, maybe he has a Dino-peptic germ. More likey this 4 day "fever" is resting something.

  111. Bruce says:

    The 100 point number keeps getting batted around, but I think that's a somewhat mythical beast. … I can't seem to find the numbers of players who average a point per game since the lockout, but I remember it being surprisingly low (much lower than 30, or one per team). Maybe someone more versed in this stuff can provide it?

    Since the lockout there have been exactly 100 seasons of 60+ GP and 1.00+ PPG. None of them have been by Ales Hemsky, although he has hovered pretty consistently just below that 1.00 mark.

    In the four seasons combined, there have been 22 players who have played 200+ GP and averaged 1.00+ PPG. Hemsky ranks 31st on that list at 0.92 PPG.

    As for this persistent myth of outscoring, of the 36 players who have scored >0.9 PPG in the last four years, Hemsky's -20 ranks 33rd, ahead of just Lecavalier, Kovalchuk, and B.Richards, all of whom played on some pretty dreadful clubs over that span.

  112. Woodguy says:

    and now Minnesota's 2nd.

    PDO:

    TSN is reporting Minny's 2nd in 2011, not next year.

    So they have TO's 1st and 2nd in 2010, and TO's 1st and Minny's 2nd in 2011.

    Plus their own.

    The prospect in the deal is this kid.

    Pretty good deal for the Bruins.

    This makes thecaptainethanmoreau worth probably at least a 2nd now.

  113. PDO says:

    all of whom played on some pretty dreadful clubs over that span.

    … and the Oilers haven't been?

    Also important to note that that is Hemsky's +/-, not his 5v5 +/-… he gets dinged for shorties and empty netters…

  114. Bruce says:

    Sorry, here's links to the single season results and the four years combined results.

  115. Rob Gilgan says:

    I fall squarely into the 'no one's untouchable' camp. I really enjoy watching Hemsky play and I think he's been good value all the time he's been in Edmonton. I've always felt expectations were just a little out of sync; not wrong necessarily, just out of perspective.
    If Ales goes as part of a package that remakes the team and it addresses all the issues, then it's a good trade. If he's traded out of what, ennui?, then it's just not on. And I doubt it's going to happen anyway, until UFA is looming.

  116. Bruce says:

    … and the Oilers haven't been?

    A good question. Oilers were "dreadful" for one of the four post-lockout seasons, and a Cup finalist in another. Overall, a below average squad to be sure, but far from the dregs of the league for the most part. Atlanta & Tampa, not so much.

    Also important to note that that is Hemsky's +/-, not his 5v5 +/-… he gets dinged for shorties and empty netters…

    Of course that is true. It's also true for all the other guys on the list, although some of them get "bonus" plusses for shorties and ENGF to even things out. That said, the guys who can be put out to kill penalties and/or to protect a lead late tend to have added value to the ones who don't.

  117. spOILer says:

    Horcoff hobbled, Pisani, Souray, and Staios out, if Hemsky sits too, we'll be skating in far worse straits than Van injury-wise.

  118. FlamingPavelBure says:

    ''This makes thecaptainethanmoreau worth probably at least a 2nd now.'' -Woodguy

    Well, The Montreal Canadiens did trade Craig Rivet, vs Josh Gorges and a 1st round pick. So yeah everything's possible.

  119. Bruce says:

    OT, but I must compliment LT on this golden comment from the Wild GDT:

    Ah, Ethan. The old turn, shoot, don't give a shit where it goes play. Dink Dumshit patented that play in the '30s.

    I read the thread long after the game was played, but I had absolutely zero problem visualizing the play in question, which I have seen a hundred times (same culprit, too). LT captured it to perfection. I just threw my head back and guffawed. Dink Dumshit indeed.

  120. George B says:

    If Hemsky were to move, it sure as hell better be for a better player. We don't need to add more depth…see losing Sugartits on waivers.

    This franchise is not going to add any big names in free agency, and Staal and Weiss, although nice players, do not add to this team.

    I'd rather keep Hemsky, and find a number one sniping C for him to play with.

    If I had my druthers, I would give POS a shot in between Shrafleur(Half Schremp, half Lafleur) and Penner.

  121. Gerta Rauss says:

    10 minute scrum with Quinn today.

  122. Lowetide says:

    Thanks, Gerta. For those interested (much of the conversation was about Horcoff and how he's being used, and the other faceoff men. Quinn mentioned Brule's numbers are okay among the kids and the other two–Gags and Cogs–don't have good numbers).

    Horcoff 57.9% (152 total)
    Cogliano 53.8% (39 total)
    Brule 48.4% (62 total)
    Gagner 37.5% (56 total)

    So I think Quinn misspoke in regard to "two" kids struggling.

  123. Dennis says:

    If 27's interested this season, then there's a great chance that HorPenSky could tear it up. But, and rightfully so, I think Quinn's gonna be about the Oilers finding some balance and if 27-19 start to find some chem, I don't think you'll see 27 up with the big boys anytime soon.

    And I also wouldn't be surprised if 89 winds up with the big two. We've got 5 pivots for 4 roles so we'd still have 19-67-13 if 89 went up to play on the wing. In keeping with that theme, maybe 13 will get a shot as well.

  124. kris says:

    Who is keeping the GA/60 down against the tough opp.? Horcoff or Hemsky?

    Huh?

    The game doesn't work that way. But by all means, tie yourself in knots trying to do it.

    Ribeiro? How did that even happen?

    I don't know why LT gave this harebrained idea any shred of credibility by posting about it in the first place. It's not worth the bytes of bandwidth spent on it.

    Basically the "yea" argument for trading Hemsky can be summed up thusly:

    "I'd trade him if I could think of a plausible deal with a return that could possibly be worth it, but I can't."

    Truly time well spent.

    Rivers,

    You're a smart guy. And you know more about all of this stuff than me, no doubt.

    Just one thing: if you put forward a serious position, I'd spend the time to explain why I disagreed, not just tell you you're tying yourself in nots, and I'd be very polite and respectful of your taking the time to write. Moreover, I'd never call anything you said "harebrained."

    Maybe that's just me.

    I think guys like you and Vic and MC get tired of dealing with the folks around here you don't like, and you develop sharp elbows that you use against everyone. To each his own, I guess.

    Anyway, to clarify, my position last year would've been Hemsky is a 6.5MM dollar superstar in the making, who I would only trade for 10-15 guys, all of whom couldn't be bought for any price. That is he is for all intents and purposes untradeable. Now, I think he's worth substantially less, since he can't score goals, and there are probably 20-30 guys I'd trade him for, especially next year when he has fewer years on his current deal.

    That's pretty straight forward. No? I'd trade him for Staal+, too.

  125. Oilmaniac says:

    PDO said…

    Is Toonces code for Kevin Lowe?

    - Toonces would be a ridiculously funny nickname for Lowe… hehe

  126. kris says:

    Re Ribeiro:

    Let's look at ES points/games since the lockout.

    Hemsky: 297gp, 144 pts, 0.48 PPG

    Ribeiro: 318gp, 165pts, 0.51 PPG

    I don't know if this means much. A lot of what Hemsky brings, he brings to the PP, and that has value. In particular, he gets a lot of PP assists.

    But it strikes me that the truly elite offensive players in the NHL produce more than Ribeiro at ES. (I know, qual comp., etc., etc. Still…) Hemsky doesn't.

    So the real question is how good is Hemsky as a PVP player? Can this be evaluated, or can we only evaluate whether particular line combos are good PVP. (Maybe this was Rivers' point that "it doesn't work that way.")

  127. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Thanks for the great post LT.

    Hemsky appears to be negative, and detrimental to the development of a good locker room. I honestly believe that and for that reason alone would trade him for a straight up hard working talent who is a .75 ppg guy that gives full effort all the time, doesn't sulk and has no need to feel important. Get us a Horton, Sharp etc, a checking center and a prospect or pick for Hemsky before everyone else realizes he will never help any team to win a championship.

    Yes, this will hurt our offence, and maybe our pp at first. But as the room heals and the guys all truly buy in to the system these coaches are trying to put into place we will improve and reach levels we will never reach as long as Hemsky is here.

    You can't capture this with numbers. The numbers say keep him, he gets us points, but points aren't worth what he does to the room, and to the young talent who decide to follow his lead.

  128. RiversQ says:

    Kris: The harebrained thing was not directed at you, just at the original premise that the Oilers should effectively shop him around. (and the suggestion that this was a new idea.)

    it shouldn't matter, but I think you're an excellent poster here.

    As for Ribeiro vs. Hemsky, I don't think there is anything there besides the boxcar numbers. Totally different players – Hemsky is on another level and opposing coaches gameplan for him, especially their blueline. Ribeiro's not a bad player by any stretch, just kind of Comrie-ish.

    The "knots" thing was about trying to deconvolute offense from defense. Which is where I thought you were going with that. It's really hard to do and not really fruitful IMO. There are two ends to goal differential and they're intrinsically linked. Hemsky's just a good hockey player, he contributes mostly through puck possession and good passing, but he also backchecks and dumps the puck on with regularity. His impact on GD is real. (Heck, I think Vic has punched some holes in the high event vs low event thing too – sure some dudes are 05/06 Peca but it's rare, percentage dependent, and the differences aren't as much as you might think.)

  129. RiversQ says:

    Has he done it even once this year?

    This is the only thing that makes me wonder about. A Hemsky injury. He simply doesn't go after the dman with much pace and that's how he gets the Regehrs and Lidstroms of the world – go fast enough so that they can't turn their hips quick enough. He hasn't done that this year and it almost looks like he's not physically able.

    Normally, in the absence of a documented injury, I call bullshit on injuries, but this one may have some legs.

  130. Rob Gilgan says:

    This is the first I've heard that Ales Hemsky has a negative presence in the Oiler room. Is there anything to this or just idle speculation?

  131. the 0 in 0rca is for 0 cups says:

    that pic of ole tooncy is great LT. i need fake cat paws right meow.

    i doubt klowe trades hemmer. if he regrets trading 94, he'll probably really regret trading 83. zetterberg would be nice though..

    mario penner's 2nd goal was ridiculous last game. end to end with a nice 'get the hell outta my way zidlicky' finish. penner gets the most points this year? yep.

  132. Vince says:

    Toonces!! Anyone remeber the one where Leona Helmsley, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Tammy Faye Baker broke out of prison and Toonces was the getaway driver…..Hilarious.

  133. kris says:

    Hey Rivers,

    Sorry, I was agitated for no reason. Not sure what set me off. Thanks for being cool about it.

    Now that I'm old and married for some years, I think I've started to develop PMS whenever my wife gets it. Weird, but true.

  134. LMHF#1 says:

    Dustin Brown (I'd be crazy and throw Cogliano +++ at them, and I still don't think they'd bite)

    Alex Frolov

    Jason Arnott

    Nik Zherdev (is he STILL not playing?)

    All of these players would work magically on a line with Ales Hemsky. Can we get one now? I'm not so sure. Can we get one at the end of the year? I'm guessing yes. Will that be enough? If early goings are any indication, possibly.

    Trading Hemsky for anything less than something truly great is lunacy. Don't forget his contributions in the defensive zone either, which almost always go unnoticed. Watch his play from the face-off dots and below. It's excellent.

    Ales has also been suffering not playing with Visnovsky I believe…correct? We need to get that going again. That's when our team functions best.

    Comrie-Horcoff-Hemsky in the interim would be dynamite.

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