The headache. The point per game potential. The enigma. The most talented player on the Edmonton Oilers. Ales Hemsky is all of these.
Just watch his first two goals from last season:
Unreal. The Great One even thinks so. And whatever Wayne’r says must be true.
He is among the most skilled players in the game. No question. But he has never put a full season together where he can show the rest of the league that he is a legitimate superstar. The closest he came was in 2005-2006 when he played 81 games and scored 77 points, which shows what he is capable of in a full season.
It looked like Hemsky was finally going to put it altogether last season. In his first 34 games, he had 35 points. Then on December 28th, Jordin Tootoo tattooed Hemsky and put him out for 10 games.
He recovered nicely, but was inconsistent after the concussion leading to a respectable 31 points in his final 38 games. The Oilers missed the playoffs, and Hemsky missed another opportunity to position himself among the NHL’s elite.
He finished with 66 points in 72 games (.917 points per game), which is a 5 point drop from the season prior.
Other than finishing tenth in voting for Czechoslovakia’s Golden Stick Award, Hemsky’s offseason was uneventful. However, things have happened around Hemsky that will affect his production this season. Whether it is for better or worse, it remains to be seen.
The first thing that happened didn’t actually happen. In July, the Oilers agreed to acquire Dany Heatley from the Senators for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin PennerLadislav Smid. Fantasy owners were salivating at the prospect of Hemsky lining up with Heatley on his way to a guaranteed 50 assists. T-Shirts, posters and dinner plates were already being made of the Triple H threat in Edmonton (Hemsky – Heatley – Horcoff). However, Heatley exercised his contractual right and nixed the trade. and
Hemsky is stuck with Penner and owners are still wondering if Hemsky will ever play with a legitimate goal scorer.
The second offseason factor that affects Hemsky’s play is the hiring of Pat QuinnTom Renney as Associate Coach of the Oilers. Hemsky is given an old school offensive minded coach that will allow him the freedom to be creative on the ice. as Head Coach and
Quinn relies on his horses. In 2005-06, Quinn let Mats Sundin lumber around the ice for 20 minutes per game (well, 19:58) on his 35 year old legs. This led to a 78 point season from Sundin (in 70 games). In the same season, Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe both averaged over 28 minutes per game, but they were defensemen. But you get the point. Quinn relies on his horses, and at 26, and the only legitimate star on the Oilers, Hemsky needs to be Quinn’s horse.
The key for Hemsky this upcoming season is his health. In order for him to be a fantasy stud and to give the Oilers the best chance to win, he must play a full season.
He is likely to start the season with Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner on the top line. He is also sure to get lots of powerplay minutes with two offensive minded defensemen in Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray. A healthy season for Visnovsky and a canon from Souray adds a few more points to Hemsky’s production.
For the 2009-2010 season, 50MC fearlessly forecasts that Ales Hemsky will play 76 games, scoring 25 goals and 48 assists for 73 points. (THN predicts: 74 games – 24/47/71)
50MC’s Fearless Fantasy Forecasts: