GDB 52.0: ALMOST HEALTHY

Jason Gregor
February 04 2012 01:17PM

The Oilers are only one player, Tom Gilbert, away from being healthy for the first time all season. The Oilers haven't had a game where Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Whitney, Ladislave Smid, Cam Barker and Tom Gilbert have all been in the lineup, but they are getting very close.

Nugent-Hopkins returns tonight after injuring his shoulder in Chicago and Tom Gilbert told me yesterday he is shooting to return Monday in Toronto. If the Oilers can stay healthy for the next month it will be interesting to see how they fare. Their last four games have been pretty solid, 3-0-1, and they'll have another tough test tonight against the Red Wings.


Nugent-Hopkins has six goals and twelve points in eight HNIC games this year, so we should probably expect him to have a solid return this evening. To start the game he won't be playing with Hall and Eberle.

LINEUP

Hall - Gagner - Eberle
Horcoff - RNH - Hemsky
Smyth - Belanger - Jones
Eager - Lander - Petrell

Smid - Petry
Whitney - Potter
Barker - Sutton

Dubnyk

Renney had to keep the Gagner trio together after their 16-point performance v. Chicago, but I wonder if sometime this week we will see Gagner- RNH - Eberle as a trio and Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky as one. Time will tell. I also think we'll see Horcoff take the draws and then have RNH play centre, which could lead to more puck possession for Nugent-Hopkins.

Renney has stayed true to his word with his "win and you're in" philosophy regarding his goalie. Dubnyk made 43 saves on Thursday, and he's been better than the opposing goalie for four straight games.

FOLLOW UP ON HEMSKY

It is clear that Hemsky is a hot topic in Oilersnation, which is great, but I find it interesting how so many are certain that Ales Hemsky is done being a productive player based on a sub-par 38 games. He is coming off shoulder surgery, and he clearly re-aggravated it in the 2nd game of the season, so have the subsequent 36 games really been an accurate portrayal of what type of player he will be in the future?

I would argue his larger body of work, the previous 360 games where he scored 331 points, for a .92 ppg clip would be slightly more accurate than 38 games, but that is just me.

He has 9 points in his last 13 games, and I'm fully aware he hasn't been dominant in those games, but it is mind-blowing to me how many are adamant that his best days are suddenly behind him. He's 28 years old.

Also, I received confirmation from the Oilers that there has been NO discussion on salary at this point. There has been a minor, very minor, chat about term but that was it. We all know how negotiations work, whether you are selling a house, car, tickets on line or trying to secure a contract.

If you are selling then your asking price is always higher than what you are willing to accept, because you want the buyer to feel like you came down in price during negotiations. And if you are the buyer, your first offer is always lower than what you'd pay. We all know the dance.

The fact is at this point; both sides have confirmed they have had zero talks on dollars. Term is important as well, but ultimately dollars are what matters.

I think it is fair to say that there would be more teams interested in acquiring Hemsky via trade or free agency, than there are top-six players available to come to the Oilers. I think we'd all agree on that, so I'd suggest the Oilers should be more proactive.

At this moment, Ales Hemsky's situation is the most important decision for the Oilers, so I hope that they would start focusing on it right away. Of course Hemsky would like a four-year deal, and it sounds like the Oilers only want to sign him for two, but why not put a legit offer on the table to get the discussions started? Are they certain he wouldn't sign a three-year deal?

As I stated yesterday, it is hard to find a top-six forward, and Hemsky is that. Some of you mistakenly think a top-six forward needs to be a point-per-game players, and that isn't the case. If Hemsky is only a 55-60 point player he'd be in the top-60 in scoring for forwards.

I've never said he needs to be a PPG player to be successful, especially because he's never been one, but the fact is there are very few who will be. Eberle, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins are likely going to be those guys moving forward, but you need more than three solid forwards to win.

Whether the team decides to keep or move Hemsky isn't by beef at this point, my concern is that the most important decision today for this team is deciding on the future of Hemsky and there has been no serious negotiations to see if he'd stay. If they put their best offer in front of him, and he decided that isn't good enough, then fine, trade him, but why not get the negotiating started?

I also find it interesting that many of the arguments for trading Hemsky focus on that he is injury-prone and he doesn't care anymore. Accurate on the former, but a complete guess on the latter. Others feel he is too risky to keep because he might be injured, yet in the same breath they are hoping that Linus Omark  or some other unproven player can replace his point totals? Please explain the logic in that. What has Omark shown that would make us believe he can be a 0.92 PPG player for the next 360 games?

Omark has skill, there is no debating that, but I'd say Hemsky has a much better chance of coming close to his production of the past six seasons, than Omark has. Keep in mind that during this supposed horrible season that Hemsky is having, in his 38 games he has 20 points which equals .52 PPG. In Omark's 56 career NHL games he has tallied .48 PPG.

If Hemsky wants a five or six year deal, I can understand why the Oilers trade him, but until you put actual offers on the table they won't know what he'll agree to.

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ty Conklin will start for the Red Wings, with Jimmy Howard nursing a broken finger. In previous seasons, any ex-Oiler seemed to dominate the Oilers, but not tonight. The Oilers keep rolling with a 4-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: You will all be pumped to watch tonight's tilt more than you have in a long time. Gagner's eight-point night still has you amped up, and you should be. That was an incredible night, and while I don't see another 8-point performance from someone, (I'd love to be wrong) I suspect we'll see another highly entertaining game.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Horcoff converts one of Nugent-Hopkins seeing-eye passes and the Nation, in unison, is shocked. Just for fun Horcoff finishes with three points, and the Nation is in shock as the two most polarizing forwards combine for 11 points in the last two games. It will make for a fun-filled comments section of the GDB.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#51 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 05:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Romulus' Apotheosis

Told ya I was going off the top of my head there :P

Avatar
#55 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 05:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Wanyes bastard child

wasn't trying to correct you there WBC... just trying to add whatever scraps I could pull from memory too.

Avatar
#56 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
February 04 2012, 05:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props

Can't wait for game time!

With the Wings in first, good to time to send a message for when we meet them in the first round of the playoffs.

Glug, glug, glug.

Avatar
#57 Colin
February 04 2012, 05:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

On the topic of Hemsky & 2nd line point production, that would be what you'd expect from the guys 91st through 180th in scoring, yes?

3 forwards per line x 30 teams = 90 forwards per line.

If there are only ~ 60 forwards potting around 60 points then it seems there are ~ 30 first line forwards who pot less than that.

Per NHL.com the 60th place forward in scoring currently has 37 points, averaging about 52 games played across the league to date, projects to 58 points over a full game schedule. 90th is 32 points to date, projects to 52 points in 82 games.

The 180th place in scoring(the last second line spot by a points metric) has 20 points. This projects to 32 points over a full season. Let me repeat that, a low end second line forward would be expected to put up 32 points.

So a first line forward should have north of aprox 50 points.

A second line forward should put up about 30 to 50 points.

If we looked at the past few years I'd expect similar numbers.

Most of you need to grow far more realistic expectations.

Hemsky is a 1st line forward by points (career wise, perhaps not this year), or a very good second line forward. Judging him by other criteria (injuries, etc) may be fair, saying he's not a top-6 by points is way off base.

Avatar
#59 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 05:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Ottawa is pooching this game. 3 tor PP in the first so far.

Avatar
#60 DieHard
February 04 2012, 05:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

Up until this year, no one ever questioned Hemsky's desire on the ice. He went to the tough areas and played hard.

Last year he has one less point than Eberle, who led the team. No one said he didn't care or try then.

Your reaction is based on 38 games, which is a small sample size.

So Jason, would sign him now for 4year/20-24M or wait till summer to see how he plays over the next 30 games?

Avatar
#62 DieHard
February 04 2012, 05:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

Too risky to wait til the summer and risk losing him for nothing. That is the tough part. For me they either sign him before deadline or move him.

I would do the four years at $16-19 million though...

If they move him what do you the chances are of getting him back as a FA?

Avatar
#63 Ned Braden
February 04 2012, 05:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@ Jason Gregor,

Thank you for further clarification into the discussion between the Oilers and Hemsky's agent.

With no talk on $$ that leads me to believe the Oilers have made their mind up and are moving forward without Ales. Perhaps they wait and see what offers they get for him on the trade market and then present a contract offer to him. If he says yes they sign him, if no they trade him?? Not how I would handle the situation.

For me it all comes down to $$ and term. I don't expect or need Hemsky to get 70 points, I think 55 points for a second line player is great, as long as they are compensated like one.

Avatar
#64 A-Mc
February 04 2012, 05:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

This damn hockey game can't start soon enough. I already watched a replay of last game and it's not enough. I need to watch more!

While we banter back and forth about trade deadline BS, the oil have essentially started a point streak!

Win the next 5 games and I wonder if people will start talking about a playoff run!!

While very improbable, it would be an excellent story if the oilers made the playoffs this year. Ya I'm dreaming but I told you that I'm bored!! Haha

Avatar
#65 Quicksilver ballet
February 04 2012, 06:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

Too risky to wait til the summer and risk losing him for nothing. That is the tough part. For me they either sign him before deadline or move him.

I would do the four years at $16-19 million though...

If he likes Edmonton as much as he leads us to believe. This would be better offered to him July 1st, no?

Oiler interests are protected both ways.

Avatar
#66 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 06:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Colin wrote:

On the topic of Hemsky & 2nd line point production, that would be what you'd expect from the guys 91st through 180th in scoring, yes?

3 forwards per line x 30 teams = 90 forwards per line.

If there are only ~ 60 forwards potting around 60 points then it seems there are ~ 30 first line forwards who pot less than that.

Per NHL.com the 60th place forward in scoring currently has 37 points, averaging about 52 games played across the league to date, projects to 58 points over a full game schedule. 90th is 32 points to date, projects to 52 points in 82 games.

The 180th place in scoring(the last second line spot by a points metric) has 20 points. This projects to 32 points over a full season. Let me repeat that, a low end second line forward would be expected to put up 32 points.

So a first line forward should have north of aprox 50 points.

A second line forward should put up about 30 to 50 points.

If we looked at the past few years I'd expect similar numbers.

Most of you need to grow far more realistic expectations.

Hemsky is a 1st line forward by points (career wise, perhaps not this year), or a very good second line forward. Judging him by other criteria (injuries, etc) may be fair, saying he's not a top-6 by points is way off base.

Hey thanks for that.

Not sure where I came up with only 60 players for top 6 league wide. Good catch. I corrected my prior post (#45)

The post lockout range is 33-36 points and up for top 180 forwards in the league. I think Hemsky fits in there easily.

Avatar
#68 Winnie Cooper
February 04 2012, 06:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

wasn't trying to correct you there WBC... just trying to add whatever scraps I could pull from memory too.

Thanks gents!

I predict 83 gets 2 points tonight.

Avatar
#69 DSF
February 04 2012, 06:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

oops... that was meant as a friendly welcome with a jab... I never called you stupid.

You seem pretty smart to me based on your posts. But you tend to stirring the pot of the faithful against players in my experience... I just don't quite get why all your energy seems to focus on comparing x oiler to y player on any given other team (always to the latter's benefit). That's a weird tendency for a fan in my experience.

BUT, that doesn't mean you're not a fan. But you are not exactly a fan in the mold of Koolaid.

Thing is...the Oiler players will always be compared to players on other teams...competition is like that.

If you go all North Korean and trumpet Oiler players in isolation, you end up paying Horcoff like a first line centre.

The team, and its fans, have been doing it for years.

For example, Gagner just had an 8 point night and deserves a lot of praise for his achievement, but, in a sample size of 1, he's gone from trade bait to a legit #2 centre.

Important to bear in mind that Kyle Wellwood, Winnipeg's 3rd line centre, still has more points than Gagner.

Perspective.

Avatar
#70 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 06:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
DSF wrote:

Thing is...the Oiler players will always be compared to players on other teams...competition is like that.

If you go all North Korean and trumpet Oiler players in isolation, you end up paying Horcoff like a first line centre.

The team, and its fans, have been doing it for years.

For example, Gagner just had an 8 point night and deserves a lot of praise for his achievement, but, in a sample size of 1, he's gone from trade bait to a legit #2 centre.

Important to bear in mind that Kyle Wellwood, Winnipeg's 3rd line centre, still has more points than Gagner.

Perspective.

Ok... what happened to your account... you're a true enigma.

I don't think the beef people have with you on here is that you criticize the players or compare them with others (I don't have any beef at all, just a bemused look on my face after reading your posts).

I think people question why you always seem to do what you just did again. Pick a random oiler and compare him with another player... and ALWAYS to the latter's benefit. Have you ever written a post in the reverse? or that redounds well to the oiler?

Have you ever said Hall is awesome? I can't even recall a post of yours that doesn't simply mention a player without comparing them with someone else... and again always to the benefit of the other player.

It's just a weird tick that you seem to have. And I'm not sure it constitutes perspective.

Avatar
#71 Quicksilver ballet
February 04 2012, 06:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
4
props

In a perfect world, Hemsky would get 8 pts tonight.

Throw some blood in the water Ales.

Avatar
#72 DW
February 04 2012, 06:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props

@DSF

Funny thing about Wellwood. I don't watch the Jets to know if he really is the 3rd line centre but Gagner would be 3rd in points on the Jets with more points than their 1st and 2nd line centres. So not sure where you going with this.

Avatar
#73 ralph_u
February 04 2012, 06:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Sign him to a 2 or 3 year deal. I don't care how long he stays on the ice after practice or before as long as he is a good team guy and performs when he is on the ice. Let's take the next steps of a last place club or we can follow the Milbury example and keep looking for shiny new toys. What top 6 forward entering Free agency is lining up to come here this summer? We have one so someone tell Tambo to lift his skirt grab his gonads and lets make a deal.

Avatar
#74 Johe
February 04 2012, 06:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Tambellini extension coming quite soon according to CBC... Oy

Avatar
#75 gcw_rocks
February 04 2012, 07:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

Too risky to wait til the summer and risk losing him for nothing. That is the tough part. For me they either sign him before deadline or move him.

I would do the four years at $16-19 million though...

Jason,

Would you offer that if it included a No Movement Clause (NMC)?

I would do it with a limited No Trade, but with a NMC a deal like that could be a cap killer on a team already carrying Horcoff's cap hit, should Hemsky continue to trend in the wrong direction.

Avatar
#76 DSF
February 04 2012, 07:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Hey thanks for that.

Not sure where I came up with only 60 players for top 6 league wide. Good catch. I corrected my prior post (#45)

The post lockout range is 33-36 points and up for top 180 forwards in the league. I think Hemsky fits in there easily.

You're averages include horrible teams.

Try work with second line players on top 8 teams.

Logan Couture is on pace for 65 points.

Ryan Kesler (having a poor season after injury) is on pace for 63 points.

Milan Lucic is on pace for 65 points.

A second line forward who can't hit 60 points is on a bad team.

Avatar
#77 Johe
February 04 2012, 07:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
DSF wrote:

You're averages include horrible teams.

Try work with second line players on top 8 teams.

Logan Couture is on pace for 65 points.

Ryan Kesler (having a poor season after injury) is on pace for 63 points.

Milan Lucic is on pace for 65 points.

A second line forward who can't hit 60 points is on a bad team.

Do you even think before you post comments? Because what you're saying here is a team is only good if they have six forwards with 60 points. You do realize how ludicrous that sounds, no?

Avatar
#78 a lg dubl dubl
February 04 2012, 07:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Johe wrote:

Do you even think before you post comments? Because what you're saying here is a team is only good if they have six forwards with 60 points. You do realize how ludicrous that sounds, no?

Yea I don't think Pittsburgh or Detroit have that luxury either lol

Avatar
#79 etownman
February 04 2012, 07:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Jason, what makes you think people are judging Hemsky on 38 games? Before Ebs, Hall & Hopkins got here, Hemsky was the top skilled, but one dimensional player that he is! Yes he could score some points when he felt like it, but it was when he felt like it. Most of us fans overlooked it because offensively, he was it for the Oilers. I can remember some games hoping somebody would run him, knock him on his ass so he would get pi**ed off & dial it up a notch! Problem is he got hurt a lot!

I have made my point on Omark in other posts, I will leave it at that but look at his record & I don't think you should be so quick to dismiss a player who has accomplished a lot in the SEL & KHL at a young age! It was very exciting watching him playing for the Oilers lasr year & has clearly dominated in the AHL when he's played there! He's confident, cocky call him what you will but I would love to see a guy like that in the Oilers lineup.

Avatar
#80 DSF
February 04 2012, 08:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Johe wrote:

Do you even think before you post comments? Because what you're saying here is a team is only good if they have six forwards with 60 points. You do realize how ludicrous that sounds, no?

I didn't say that at all.

But you need second line players who score more than 30 points which is what the OP was suggesting was an acceptable level based on a 30 team average.

That's just nonsense.

Avatar
#81 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props

So on to more important issues.

Everyone is fired up. Gagner, Eberle and Hall are together all game. I'm calling all 3 get 9 points each tonight, each with a hatty!

Sounds about right doesn't it?

Avatar
#82 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Wanyes bastard child wrote:

So on to more important issues.

Everyone is fired up. Gagner, Eberle and Hall are together all game. I'm calling all 3 get 9 points each tonight, each with a hatty!

Sounds about right doesn't it?

Thats one for Gagner :)

Avatar
#83 stevezie
February 04 2012, 08:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Well, it seems CBC won't stream games outside of Canada. Anyone know any good streams?

EDIT: Nevermind, some quick googling shows ATDHE is still around in some form.

Avatar
#84 Douche Nietzsche
February 04 2012, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Forget trading Hemsky and/or Gagner, the Oilers should package Horcoff and get rid of him. That would be the best move and only forward move the Oilers should do at the deadline.

Avatar
#85 Chris.
February 04 2012, 08:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Gagner has 9 points in 62 minutes. Is that good?

Avatar
#86 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Thats two points Gagner and one each for Hall and Eberle :P

Ok maybe not Hall... but wishful thinking...

Avatar
#87 Douche Nietzsche
February 04 2012, 08:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

see comment #86

Avatar
#88 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Chris. wrote:

Gagner has 9 points in 62 minutes. Is that good?

Well if you disclude the first period against Chicago, he has 10 points in 40 minutes :)

Avatar
#89 Douche Nietzsche
February 04 2012, 08:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Hemsky looks like Woody Harrelson.

Avatar
#90 Bryzarro World
February 04 2012, 08:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Should have cross-checked him in the face

Avatar
#91 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

BS call...

Avatar
#92 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
Wanyes bastard child wrote:

BS call...

X2

Avatar
#93 50 in 39
February 04 2012, 08:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Lets kill this garbage for Hemsky

Avatar
#94 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

NICE KILL BOYS!!!

*because according to the one poster here, when you use all caps it must be true :P

Avatar
#95 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 08:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
DSF wrote:

I didn't say that at all.

But you need second line players who score more than 30 points which is what the OP was suggesting was an acceptable level based on a 30 team average.

That's just nonsense.

where did I say that? don't make sh!t up.

I gave us the facts. top 6 on 30 teams = 180 players... since the lock out the top 180 players have scored 33-36 points and UP... that's is all I said. Don't be a d!ck.

Avatar
#96 joels
February 04 2012, 08:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

Niklas Kronwall not a dirty player.

Avatar
#97 Joels
February 04 2012, 08:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Hopefully Hemsky will come back tonight.

Avatar
#98 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
joels wrote:

Niklas Kronwall not a dirty player.

I'm not a liar but on occasion I've been known to lie.

Avatar
#99 Wanyes bastard child
February 04 2012, 08:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Attaboy Eager!

Avatar
#100 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 04 2012, 08:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

noooo!!!

Comments are closed for this article.