RE 10-11: Ales Hemsky

The most shocking event for me this summer (as a hockey fan) came on draft day. Early in the tsn broadcast, Darren Dreger reported from the draft floor that Steve Tambellini was making every effort to trade for the 2nd overall pick and Tyler Seguin.

Dreger: “Steve Tambellini doing everything within his power to intrigue Peter Chiarelli of the Boston Bruins into considering moving the second pick overall. The latest attempt was made 12-15 minutes ago, when Tambellini and Chiarelli were in conversation one more time. Some of the names being speculated about include Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle…”

Dreger’s naming Hemsky was a jolt, like thunderclap on a sunny day. The Edmonton Oilers, lacking any semblance of a present day hockey club, were willing to deal Hemsky (and apparently others) for Tyler Seguin. That’s not a rebuild, that’s scorched earth.

It adds one more item of evidence to what Hemsky fans (like myself) must come to grips with: the Oilers (apparently) can’t believe their own blind dumb luck in getting a lottery player at #13 in 2001. Hemsky’s sublime skills (and exceptional contract) have been obscured by years in the second division and (most recently) injury.

Selling low on Ales Hemsky would have been a new nadir for the current Edmonton Oilers management group. He turns 27 in 10 days, he is not burned out and he most certainly is capable of being a central part of any offense.

•Boxcars: 22gp, 7-15-22
•Shots: 57
•Plus Minus: +7
•Corsi (Rel): 23.8 (1st but DNQ)
•GF/GA ON: 17-10
•5×5/60: 2.85 (1st but DNQ)
•5×4/60: 4.71 (3rd but DNQ)
•Quality of Competition: 8th F (DNQ)
•Quality of Teammates: 2nd F (DNQ)
•FO Percentage: 100% in 1 FO
•Cap Hit: $4.1M

  1. Why do you like him so much? Hemsky is a top notch puck carrier who can reach top speed in a few quick strides. He handles the puck with poise and confidence and is such a good stick handler he’s often double teamed. He has been extremely consistent over the last several years despite playing for a middling team. Coach MacT (early on) decided to develop Hemsky as a tough minutes player and Oilers fans have been rewarded with a quality player who should be an outscorer for years to come. Ales Hemsky is a man.
  2. What do this year’s numbers tell us? He got hurt, nothing more or less. He was on track for another fine season (maybe better than usual) and the day they shut him down the music died. Nuff said.
  3. How could these numbers be better? Health is a concern with this player. No matter the talent level, the man needs to stay in the lineup for more than 22 games. Hemsky is the most physical of Edmonton’s pure skill wingers (by a furlong) and much of his offense comes from driving into high traffic areas and forcing the play. He’s from the Guy Lafleur family, all motion and flow and instinct and reaction. It is beautiful to watch but a challenge because he’s going to take more hits than a perimeter player.
  4. Has Penner passed him? I don’t think so, but the numbers (and health) are changing the equation. Hemsky healthy>Penner, but can the team count on him for 75 games? Then again, maybe it is just the Moreau/Jacques factor as outlined wonderfully by poster Quain here. When playing with all other Oilers, Hemsky’s effectiveness drives back to impact levels. Buddy’s a beauty.
  5. Are you serious about the trade talk? Darren Dreger isn’t some yob in Philadelphia typing away on a laptop purchased $20 bucks at a time by the descendants of PT Barnum. Dreger (and tsn) are so respected that when they shout out a name the entire nation adopts it as gospel. That may be giving them too much credit, but then again their track record is without equal in this area. It is especially disappointing when taking into account media sources who were suggesting that Hemsky was looking forward to the new direction. Here’s hoping that Hemsky signs in Edmonton and can serve as both a Bangalore torpedo and as an example of the kind of commitment required to survive in the NHL.
  6. What about playing with Horcoff? I think it is the ideal combination, certainly more important than Penner on LW. Horcoff is Hemsky’s Lemaire, playing high until the zone is gained and doing the heavy work when needed. I don’t think there is anyone on the Oilers roster who can match their chemistry and there’s really no need to split them up.
  7. Is this injury thing going to be chronic? You never know. He’s had some shoulder problems previously (missed 8 games in December ’06, right shoulder; same problem caused 8 more games in March ’07) but this is the first left shoulder injury that caused him to miss games (that I can find). I’m tempted to say he’ll be fine once the Oilers trade for Regehr and Boogard, but the truth is that 83 plays the game with abandon and there are going to be injuries in the future. I guess the bottom line is that all players are a risk and Hemsky’s injury history is already pretty long for his age. It is a concern.
  8. Will they continue to play him against the toughs? I think so. The Oilers don’t have a Pisani anymore, and a guy like Brule won’t be as able as 83 on a strong line. Renney usually finds ways for players to succeed, and I can’t see any other RW’s ready to take on that kind of load at this point in time. Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky is my bet for opening night.
  9. Penner aside, which winger would be the best option for Hemmer? It might be Hall or Pääjärvi I’m not sure. If one of the rookies spends an extended period on a Hemsky line, their chances of being a strong ROY candidate rise substantially.
  10. What’s the best thing about Ales Hemsky? He makes his team better, he is a man who can endure pain and make a play, he is a winner.
  11. Maybe they should make him captain? I’ll just be happy if they don’t trade him.

By The Numbers

•06-07 5×5 per 60m: 2.09
•07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.36
•08-09 5×5 per 60m: 2.08
•09-10 5×5 per 60m: 2.85

By The Numbers

•06-07 5×4 per 60m: 5.45
•07-08 5×4 per 60m: 5.93
•08-09 5×4 per 60m: 5.00
•09-10 5×4 per 60m: 4.71

Predictions Past 2009-10: 75gp, 24-66-90 (1.20 per game)
Performance in 2009-10: 22gp, 7-15-22 (1.00 per game)

Prediction for 2010-11: 60gp, 18-48-66 (1.10 per game)

Terrific player, injuries a concern

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