Among the things I thought we’d never need to say: Ales Hemsky is a very good NHL hockey player. His contract is exceptional, the tragedy of these years since 2006 summer is that the team didn’t get more from it. Recently on this blog and others, questions about Hemsky’s ability on the powerplay have come to the fore.
Numbers published on this blog and others frame the issue in a most negative fashion. I don’t understand the rationale and I certainly don’t agree with the “framed math.” So let’s set some things straight. Below are the leaders (by year) at 5×4/60 points-per-game for the Edmonton Oilers since 2007-08. Based on 50 games and 3 minutes per game PP time.
- Ales Hemsky 5.93
- Dustin Penner 4.07
- Shawn Horcoff 4.00
- Ales Hemsky 5.00
- Shawn Horcoff 3.68
- Sam Gagner 3.12
- Dustin Penner 6.92
- Ales Hemsky 5.88
- Mike Comrie 5.56
Source is the brilliant Gabriel Desjardins and of course 2009-10 numbers are not at the 50 game mark. All three seasons have 3:00 minutes or more TOI at 5×4. Hemsky’s 05-06 number at 5×4 btw was 5.45, making him an extremely consistent powerplay performer.
I’m one of those who believe Sam Gagner may eventually take over from Hemsky, and in fact Gagner this season (5.85) is very good. However, if the argument is that Gagner is ready to take over the Hemsky role I think we’d need more proof than running alongside for 19 games of one season.
We’re going to have plenty of time to talk about Gagner v. Hemsky on the powerplay over the next couple of seasons. I’m hoping we can keep it from becoming personal and vicious, but after the last couple of days am not confident we can do it.