Ales Hemsky 10-11: Ballad of a Thin Man

In the most recent 164 league games played by the Edmonton Oilers, Ales Hemsky has played 69 times. 42% of Ales Hemsky is good but it isn’t enough. His injuries come at a poor time as the organization must decide about signing him long term this summer.

Hemsky’s contract runs out in 2012 summer. His trade value is low because of the injuries and the organization has to be very careful with all contracts that extend beyond Taylor Hall’s entry level deal.

It’s a difficult situation and one of the major items on the Edmonton Oilers agenda this summer.

  1. 5×5 points per 60: 2.88 (1st among regular forwards)
  2. 5×4 points per 60: 3.47 (5th among regular forwards)
  3. Qual Comp: 6th toughest among regular forwards
  4. Qual Team: 9th best teammates among regular forwards
  5. Corsi Rel: 3.7 (6th best among regular forwards)
  6. Zone Start: 53.9% (easiest among regular forwards)
  7. Zone Finish: 52.5% (3rd best among regular forwards)
  8. Shots on goal/percentage: 100/14.0% (3rd among F’s>100 shots)
  9. Boxcars: 47gp, 14-28-42 (led the team in assists)
  10. Plus Minus: +3 on a team that was -52.
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Hemsky is a wonderful player. Had he remained healthy for the entire season #83 would have topped 70 points. Ales Hemsky’s 5×5/60 (2.88) was third best in the entire NHL this season among regular forwards (trailing Crosby and Daniel Sedin).
  2. How can these numbers be better? Two areas: health and the powerplay. I think we’re at a point where Hemsky’s health is a real concern. It impacts in a lot of ways: should the Oilers sign him long term? If they deal him in the summer, is his trade value enough? will it be better at the deadline? I don’t envy the Oilers organization the decision, because Ales Hemsky could easily make them look silly. As for the powerplay, many believe Hemsky might be the problem. Everything runs through 83 with the man advantage, and critics believe that hampers the effective of the 5 on 4. I don’t buy it–Hemsky SHOULD be the quarterback of a powerplay–but have to admit the result this season were very poor. I miss MacT for many reasons, never thought it would be because of the powerplay.
  3. He played easy minutes. Why? I don’t think they were easy because of poor line matching by the Oilers. And he flourished at even strength, third best 5×5/60 in the entire league. Hemsky played most often with Gagner and Penner (18.73%) or Horcoff and Penner (18.5%) so opposition teams with a mind to could have placed solid opposition out against two lines. I don’t think Renney line matched much, as it looked like he was losing that battle often even in home games.
  4. Is the trade talk serious? Last year at the draft Darren Dreger reported it from the draft floor and it was common knowledge he was in play at the deadline. If it isn’t serious then the Oilers have a funny way of showing it.
  5. Would you trade him? Hell no. I wouldn’t have traded Dustin Penner either. Look, the Oilers badly need NHL players. What we’re all basically doing right now is waiting for these kids to figure out how to hit a curveball. Playing in the NHL is difficult even if you’ve flown a bunch of sorties, so expecting Hall and the kids to dominate at a young age is unfair. Ales Hemsky should be signed this summer to a long term deal. He can serve as mentor to all of these gifted kids.
  6. How should they handle him this season? I’d hope that the Oilers would work hard on finding a legit replacement for Penner on that Gagner-Hemsky line. In-house options include MPS and Hartikainen but my hope is that they hold back the kids a little with a mid-level acquisition with NHL experience and an idea about how to play. MacArthur or Upshall, someone like that. Nothing earth shattering, just pushing back the depth chart so it might be Hall-MacArthur-MPS-Hartikainen-Reddox.
  7. What about playing with Hall? If they move Hall to center it might make sense to have a veteran skill player on his wing. I don’t know how much chemistry the two have but if Hall is in the middle that could change the dynamic anyway. It’s worth a shot, especially if Hemsky signs long term and is part of the new world order.
  8. Do you think he stays? No. I think he’s gone.
  9. What’s the best thing about Ales Hemsky? He’s worth the price of admission. I’m going to miss him.
  10. He never did emerge though, did he? I think he’s a wonderful player, have no idea why anyone is waiting for him to emerge. Tough bugger, astonishing talent. He’s a beauty.
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
•10-11 5×5 per 60m: 2.88

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
•10-11 5×4 per 60m: 3.47

Prediction for 2010-11: 60gp, 18-48-66 (1.10 per game)
Actual: 47gp, 14-28-42 (.894 per game)
Wonderful talent obscured by injury

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