Ales Hemsky: Ten Game Segments

Jonathan Willis
May 14 2009 04:04PM

hemsky1

Every so often I’ll go to the Oilers’ official site and break down a player’s season into ten-game segments (what can I say, I have an exciting life). Generally, there’s a lot of variation from segment to segment – something which makes me skeptical about judging a player’s playoff performance, since even the best players will have lousy ten-game segments.

In any case, I found something interesting when I broke down Ales Hemsky’s season into ten-game chunks (because he played 72 games, the last chunk is 12 games long). Here are the numbers, but rather than arrange them chronologically, I’ve arranged them based on his shooting rates (average shots per game during each span):

  • Nov. 26 – Dec. 17: 10GP – 5G- 5A – 10PTS, +3, 37 shots (3.7 shots/gm)
  • Nov. 2 – Nov. 20: 10GP – 5G – 8A – 13PTS, +3, 29 shots (2.9 shots/gm)
  • Dec. 19 – Feb. 3: 10GP – 6G – 6A – 12PTS, +3, 29 shots (2.9 shots/gm)
  • Feb. 5 – Feb. 24: 10GP – 3G – 8A – 11PTS, -3, 25 shots (2.5 shots/gm)
  • Oct. 12 – Nov. 1: 10GP – 0G – 8A – 8PTS, -4, 23 shots (2.3 shots/gm)
  • Mar. 20 – Apr. 1: 12GP – 2G – 8A – 10PTS, EV, 26 shots (2.2 shots/gm)
  • Feb. 26 – Mar. 19: 10GP – 2G – 3A – 5PTS, -1, 16 shots (1.6 shots/gm)

Hemsky varies between 1.6 and 3.7 shots per game during this span, averaging 2.57 shots/game on the season. Let’s add the totals up for segments where Hemsky shot more frequently than average, and segments where he shot less frequently:

  • More than 2.57 shots/gm: 30GP – 16G – 19A – 35PTS, +9
  • Less than 2.57 shots/gm: 42GP – 7G – 27A – 34PTS, -8

That’s a rather significant difference; certainly this season Hemsky enjoyed success when he shot more. I wondered though whether the shooting was strictly a function of time in each zone – I saw two real possibilities to explain the phenomenon:

1) Ales Hemsky takes more shots when he’s spending more time in the offensive zone; therefore, the increased shot count coincides with periods of success because he’s spending more time at the right end of the rink

Or

2) Ales Hemsky is a better offensive player when he records more shots; the time in the offensive zone will have some correlation to Hemsky’s shot count but won’t explain it entirely.

The best measurement of time in the offensive zone that we have right now is Vic Ferrari’s Corsi program. So I ran those ten game segments at his site for comparison’s sake:

  • Nov. 26 – Dec. 17: 3.7 shots per game, +5.3 Corsi per game
  • Nov. 2 – Nov. 20: 2.9 shots per game, +0.2 Corsi per game
  • Dec. 19 – Feb. 3: 2.9 shots per game, +0.8 Corsi per game
  • Feb. 5 – Feb. 24: 2.5 shots per game, -0.3 Corsi per game
  • Oct. 12 – Nov. 1: 2.3 shots per game, +1.7 Corsi per game
  • Mar. 20 – Apr. 1: 2.2 shots per game, +0.5 Corsi per game
  • Feb. 26 – Mar. 19: 1.6 shots per game, -2.0 Corsi per game

At this point, we can see that there’s some overlap; the highest and lowest Corsi events correspond with the highest and lowest shot rates. However, there isn’t a ton of overlap, and it’s probably fair to say that for Ales Hemsky, taking more shots is an indication that he’s at the top of his game.

This bodes well for the future; Hemsky’s shot rates have been on an upward slope since the lockout, and this year marked a personal high in shots taken.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Archaeologuy
May 15 2009, 01:22PM
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@ Oilersordeath: I couldnt disagree with you more. Already responded to the false statement that he disapeared down the stretch. The Oilers didnt have a stronger player on the puck for their first line. Horc tried his best not be near the puck after the draw and the LW was a revolving door of shrinking violets.

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#52 topshelf
May 15 2009, 01:23PM
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Where the hell is JW today? You mean to tell me he actually has a job??

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#53 Archaeologuy
May 15 2009, 01:28PM
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topshelf wrote:

Where the hell is JW today? You mean to tell me he actually has a job??

I know, with the sheer volume of work he produces I can only imagine that his real job is part time. OR Jonathan Willis is actually a group of people publishing under one name like Homer.

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#54 Chris
May 15 2009, 01:33PM
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To be clear, I really like Hemsky... hence my frustration. Horcoff has only a fraction of Hemsky's talent: That is why it's hard for me to be upset with all the shortcommings in Horcoff's game. I believe Horcoff is doing everything he can to be the best player he can be. Through sheer will, Horcoff came from out of nowhere, and worked his way up to the first line... And to this day; Horcoff would tell you that he thinks he can/will get better. Hemsky, on the other hand; when asked what he could do in the offseason to improve his game; answered, (Something like) I don't know, I think I did everything I could...

Maybe he's right. I don't think so... but eveidently there are those on this site who do. When a player becomes satisfied with his own performance, he is destined not to improve. If there is a perception around the league that Hemsky is on the verge of having a breakout year, maybe NOW is the time to deal him away for a more steely competator with a somewhat comparable resume... I suspect this team will be Gagner's in three years anyway.

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#55 Jonathan Willis
May 15 2009, 01:37PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

topshelf wrote: Where the hell is JW today? You mean to tell me he actually has a job?? I know, with the sheer volume of work he produces I can only imagine that his real job is part time. OR Jonathan Willis is actually a group of people publishing under one name like Homer.

One guy, full-time job (as a QC/safety/trades/jack-of-all trades guy at an oilfield equipment production company).

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#56 topshelf
May 15 2009, 01:41PM
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Nice to finally hear from you today Willis.

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#57 Archaeologuy
May 15 2009, 01:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

One guy, full-time job (as a QC/safety/trades/jack-of-all trades guy at an oilfield equipment production company).

Sure. And Homer was a blind poet who single handedly wrote both the Iliad and the Odyssey. I'm onto your game JW.

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#58 Oilersordeath
May 15 2009, 02:01PM
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@ Archaeologuy: I agree to the fact that he had no one to play with but still you watch guys like Zetter and Datsuk who might be smaller than Hemmer, you cant knock those little bastards off the puck!! I'm talking individual strenght not linemates.

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#59 topshelf
May 15 2009, 02:06PM
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@ Oilersordeath: Can you pick two better players in the league to compare him with?

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#60 Archaeologuy
May 15 2009, 02:09PM
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Oilersordeath wrote:

but still you watch guys like Zetter and Datsuk who might be smaller than Hemmer, you cant knock those little bastards off the puck!!

Both those guys are basicly the same size as Hemmer. I never thought of him as being weak on the puck. I DID notice that most of the times he entered the offensive zone there was no other Oiler near the puck and the other teams could easily converge on the guy. Tough to keep the puck 4 on 1.

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#61 topshelf
May 15 2009, 02:19PM
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Oilersordeath wrote:

agree to the fact that he had no one to play with but still you watch guys like Zetter and Datsuk

I'm not sure I'd call them little either. Hemsky has his faults just like any other play but I don't think getting knocked off the puck easily is one of them.

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#62 David S
May 15 2009, 05:28PM
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It's hard to make a realistic comparo with Zetter and Datsyuk because they're better than Hemsky in the first place. Then they have a MUCH better team of guys to work with (jeez they support the puck well in the O zone). I often wonder how a guy like Hemsky would do on a team like Detroit. You know, with a roster of decent, seasoned NHL players who make a point of giving a crap every single game.

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#63 Chris
May 15 2009, 05:46PM
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David S wrote:

I often wonder how a guy like Hemsky would do on a team like Detroit. You know, with a roster of decent, seasoned NHL players who make a point of giving a crap every single game

I sometimes wonder that too. There is more to being a Champion than just having talent, or posting a point per game.

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#64 RossCreek
May 15 2009, 06:19PM
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I'll throw this one out there again - thoughts on Detroit W Mikael Samuelsson? Is he capable of being better with a bigger role, or does he just fit in with Detroit good. He's not that "big-time fancy name superstar" that everyone wants, but I see him as being a guy that can provide solid secondary scoring, and he comes from a winning environment. Not just for the Oil, but in general - is Mikael Samuelsson someone that could be an under-the-radar steal or not? Its unlikely he's back in Detroit next season given their current cap situation.

2 other names in Detroit I'd keep an eye on: Jiri Hudler Valterri Filppula

Filppula's getting 3 mil and Hudler's a RFA. Hudler's small, so he might not fit in here, but he is skilled and could be an upgrade on certain other small skilled Oilers. A similar question could be asked of him as Samuelsson - Would he thrive with a bigger role, or does he have the level of success he does because of the "softer" minutes? The way I see things shaking down, at least 1 of them will be moved. What's Hudler's value to Detroit if Filppula's getting 3? Who's got the better trade value and who do they keep? Or do they move both? Either way, the Wings should be able to continue to stock & restock their vast array of talent.

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#65 Chris
May 15 2009, 08:12PM
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RossCreek wrote:

I’ll throw this one out there again - thoughts on Detroit W Mikael Samuelsson?

I know you think I'm "full of it" but I agree with you that Samuelsson is an under-rated player... I could see him being a nice upgrade in a Pisani-type-role for less than a 2.5 million cap hit.

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#66 RossCreek
May 15 2009, 10:22PM
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@ Chris actually i find i agree a lot more with you than most others here. Obviously not all the time though (that would be too boring, lol).

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