HOW BAD IS IT?

Lowetide
February 05 2012 12:37PM

Ales Hemsky's 11-12 season has been poor compared to his own past. The skilled Czech winger is playing a lesser role on a team that finally offers players of his skill level and beyond. Hemsky is in trade rumors daily, but from what we hear NHL teams are more interested in Ryan Smyth, Sam Gagner and others. How far has Ales Hemsky fallen?

Ales Hemsky is still a young player by any reasonable standard and could be part of Edmonton's on ice future. The Oilers management group may have other ideas; there may be pressure to deal him because other contracts will take up so much cap space that even a good Hemsky deal would put the team too close to the 2015, 2016 and 2017 caps.

At 28 years old, Hemsky has played in 500 regular season games and had a strong post-season in his second trip to the playoffs. At almost any other point in his career, news that 83 was on the trade block would be met with a lot of strong offers. It appears as though there is interest but a bidding war is a distant bell.

HOW FAR IS HE OFF THE PACE?

On the powerplay this season, Hemsky is delivering as always but is playing less. This is predictable, since the Oilers have added so many splendid offensive talents via the draft since 2008. Hemsky is a very good PP option, but you'd have a hard time arguing he is the key to the success of the 5x4 this season.

The difficulty for Hemsky comes at even strength. The club is still giving him over 14 minutes a night at evens, but his offensive output is about half what we would come to expect based on past seasons. He has been injured and is facing the tough opposition, but those things have been true in past seasons and 83 delivered miles beyond current rates.

WHAT'S THE TROUBLE, BUB?

Hemsky has played at various times with kids Hall and RNH, but for a lot of this season he (along with Horcoff, Smyth and Jones) has been asked to face tough opposition. Although the offensive results aren't there, his CorsiREL is solid:

CorsiRel gives us the individual player's Corsi number relative to his team when he isn't on the ice. The puck is heading in the right direction very often when Taylor Hall is on the ice, not so much when our friend Lennart Petrell is out there at even strength. This graph is courtesy behind the net, the source for advanced stats.

So, Hemsky's 5x5 scoring rates are way down, but his CorsiRel is fine. What the hell? Making things even more difficult, the opponent save percentage when he's on the ice isn't outside the ordinary.

All systems go, puck in the right direction and an established, skilled veteran a big part of it? That's a very good arrow for an NHL team. Or it should be.

WHAT'S THE CONCLUSION?

I don't have an easy answer for Hemsky's low scoring rates at even strength. He is coming back from injury, but things like CorsiRel suggest the puck is moving in the right direction. We know he is playing tough opponents, and we know that his center forever (Shawn Horcoff) isn't exactly an offensive monster. Still, as mentioned, he's done great things in the same circumstances in the past.

I'm left with recovering from injury, poor luck and perhaps a loss of confidence in the scoring zones as explanations.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

These are the quality of competition numbers through 50 games:

The kids are moving up the list--a note here to mention that Hall is just a beast, an absolute beast--with increasing toughness of opposition and still delivering an out of this world CorsiRel. Crazy. If Hemsky were signed for another couple of seasons, I'd be tempted to suggest they run a Smyth-Hemsky duo against the soft parade for a few games to get the group going. Smyth and Hemsky did post some offense last night so maybe it's a case of hitting line drives for a week before they start finding holes in the defense. Hemsky has been more productive over the last several games and perhaps his even strength number will improve to his established levels.

Bottom line: Ales Hemsky is a very good bet for any NHL team moving forward. The current slump is going to cost him money and probably means less return for the Edmonton Oilers at the deadline, but once in his new town I'd expect plenty of offense from 83.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Marsha
February 05 2012, 01:06PM
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Oilers will kick themselves for letting Hemsky get away without at least making a legit contract offer. He should be offered at least a 2 yr deal. Hemsky is a player and Tambellini should be canned when he's traded. Let's all enjoy Hemsky for the last few weeks. Goodbye secondary scoring.

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#2 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 05 2012, 01:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Even Oiler fans have to admit that was a beautiful hit levelled at 83 last night. Good solid open ice hit straight on. These are the type of collisions the league needs to keep in the game.

Katz should offer Hemsky 11 over two yrs and put the cards on the table for everyone to see. Not so sure 83 is the victim he's painted himself as this last weekend. It's situations like this that has the media and the fans being played here.

I don't know. Sutton would have got a few for that one. I think Kronwall got the same Elite Team discount the NHL is so fond of that Lucic got earlier in the year.

@LT:

Hemsky has 11 points in his last 14 games (.785 PPG). No doubt his production is down this year. But isn't that to be expected coming off major surgery to both shoulders, missing most of two seasons, missing TC and most of the exhibition games then re-tweaking his shoulder?

And .785 seems to be moving in the right direction. If he can finish the season with that number he'd end up with 23.5 points in the remaining 30 games for 55.5 points in 69 games (.80 PPG on the season). That would put him back on pace for his career average.

Bottomline: despite the doom and gloom surrounding Hemsky he's making up ground and seems to be returning to form.

Oh and... he shook that Kronwall hit off pretty well and managed to net 2 points all the same. He's not going to fold like the cheap suit some people (namely Detroit's PR men and David Staples) seem to expect him to.

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#3 Quicksilver ballet
February 05 2012, 12:42PM
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Even Oiler fans have to admit that was a beautiful hit levelled at 83 last night. Good solid open ice hit straight on. These are the type of collisions the league needs to keep in the game.

Katz should offer Hemsky 11 over two yrs and put the cards on the table for everyone to see. Not so sure 83 is the victim he's painted himself as this last weekend. It's situations like this that has the media and the fans being played here.

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#5 JohnQPublic
February 05 2012, 01:32PM
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The question isn't is Ales Hemsky a quality NHL player, it's at what price and term do you let him walk away?

Would you keep Ales at the expense of:

Eberle? Hall? RNH?

No.

How about these guys? Whitney? Gagner? Dubnyk? Omark? Paajarvi? Teubert?

...

Whenever you pay too much for one guy, you lose out on paying another in the cap world.

So, where is the line that you let Ales go at?

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#6 Quicksilver ballet
February 05 2012, 01:55PM
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Is anyone else bothered by Hemmers, "i don't really need to work on anything to improve" attitude?

Last one on the ice, first one off after practice must not set a good example for his teammates. Are the Oilers a better club with 83 marching to the beat of a different drummer?

Have to think it was more or less Ken Holland checking the durability of Hemsky's shoulders on that play rather than Nicklas Kronwall.

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#7 SLURVE
February 05 2012, 02:34PM
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It is understandable why all the Oiler trade talks in past months are happening regarding the main players like Hemsky and Gagner. The preferred returned player would be a top 4 defensemen. Given that we will not make the playoffs this year and not many teams would trade a top four defensemen esp when they are in playoff contention, do we need to move Hemsky and Gagner?

For the first time this year, we will be getting our team back healthy (Gilbert returning this coming Monday) with all our regular defensemen playing as planned original units. Most of this year, part of our backend were replaced with younger and inexperienced AHL players.

Given the teams recent 5 games success (4 wins and 1 OT lost to at least 4 top teams such as Sharks, Canucks, Hawks and Wings), I would hold off on trades. Hemsky has stated he would like to be re-signed here and would like to be part of the future. Gagner has reiterated the same sentiments. These are top 6 forwards that can help the team in the future. I see Hemsky and of course Gagner coming back into form given their past injuries carried over from last year. Except for initial scar tissue discomfort (which was expected after surgeries), Hemsky's feeling pain-free in his shoulders for the first time in a few years. He is only 28 and coming into his prime and Gagner is still 22, they should be given a longer look.

I do not think we need to trade for a top 4 Dman since Whitney, Gilbert, Smid and possibly Potter or Barker (as the 4th or 5th guy) are starting to play together for the first time as pairing units. We also have 4 respectable young D men in Gernat, Marincin, Klefbom and Musil who all played in the WJC this year and they may join the main club in 2-4 years time; I think we can hold off a trade for a top 4 dman. Since we are not making the playoffs this season, I believe management should afford this team some time to grow into their own for the rest of this year and make the necessary changes thereafter. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make.

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#8 Ryan2
February 05 2012, 02:43PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Need more be said about 83? The leaving practices quickly isn't something that is recent or injury related. He's been doing this for the whole time he's been an Oiler.

This year, however difficult it may have been for Hemsky surely must reveal he's put his own needs before his teams needs this season. Quitting on plays a second or two early, altered his game to insure he's healthy for his next club/his next contract.

Things may not ever get "that bad" i guess if one or two players on the hockey club aren't required to check their attitudes when they walk through those dressing room doors. How bad can it get ....right, if it's just Hemmers?

While I don't agree with it, I can understand why Hemsky is looking after himself this season. Take a look around any work environment and you will see people doing the same on a daily basis, BUT they have the advantage of having a secure contract in place. Hemsky does not have that luxury - if he is hurt now he does not get paid next year while rehabbing.

On the flip side, management is at fault in this as well. As a manager, if I have performance issues with someone on my team then it is my responsibility to address them (and to put my employees in the position to succeed in the first place). More importantly, if I no longer need someone on my team (and can move them elsewhere) or have decided to terminate them (trade in Tambi's case), once the decision is made I communicate it to them directly and quickly. If Tambi has no intention of signing him, then he should say so and trade Hemsky sooner than later. Or, if they want to sign him, then get on with it. His dithering style and lack of direct communication is a sign of weakness in a leader.

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#9 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 05 2012, 09:20PM
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Cowbell_Feva wrote:

This isn't rocket science. You hit the nail on the head. He's been playing with Horcoff forever. That would makes Gretzky's corsi,plus/ minus and record book a lot thinner than it is.

Put Hemmer out there with Smyth & Lander in the middle. Put Horcoff on the 4th line. Get him the F*#k off the PP. Let him get LESS icetime than the kids-maybe his time out there will be more fruitful (although I for one would not hold my breath.)

Regardless, I personally think Hemsky wants to test free agency and we'll only get a 2nd rounder for him given his output. Having to play with Horc's for that long, I can't blame him!!

It's funny that you think a guy with 60 points over the last FIVE SEASONS COMBINED is a better fit for offensive production.

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#10 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 06 2012, 09:24AM
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GregZ wrote:

I read all those articles at the time they were written. I form an opinion based on information I get from bloggers, print media, radio and TV, in no particular order, and each form of media has strengths and weaknesses in its reporting, according to the circumstances under which that reporting is done.

I respect Derek's point of view, he stated his case in a very articulate manner. I believe that he's passionate about the team, and I have agreed with many things he's written, but with respect, I don't agree with the conclusions he came to here. It seems apparent that you do, so we're going to have to agree to disagree. Such is life.

I will make one last point though. It's perfectly fine to disagree with someone's take about a situation, happens every day. Calling someone a "d!nk" or any other name just weakens your argument.

Ok point taken. ad hominen doesn't fly as an argument.

However, I was hardly putting forward arguments in that post. From here I have no idea who has read what articles when. All I know is you've posted an article by Matheson surrounding an incident that I remember being hotly debated esp. by Derek and Travis (all of whom I respect BTW). For the sake of fairness to yourself and anyone reading that link and in the absence of knowing if you or others had read the other posts I posted them.

That's not an argument, it's a informational gesture with a snarky comment tacked on.

And I never called anyone a "d!nk" I said someone was being a d!nk. There is a difference. Some people are just douche-bags no matter what, but everyone is a douche-bag once in awhile. Saying someone is acting like a jerk is different from labelling someone as serially and unavoidably a jerk.

(I know there is a lot of semantic pleading here, sorry).

Here's a couple arguments:

1) media treatment: Derek said it much better, although much more stridently than I would. So for the most part I will defer to him on this question.

But I will say this... in the particular I don't think Hemsky has been poorly treated by any member of the media. (This is where I part with Derek) I don't think there is a concerted effort to drum Hemsky out of town.

What I do think, however, is that the media in general and in the aggregate have accepted a narrative that is pretty thin, relies on the interpretation of notoriously useless data like "body language" and has lead to the collective hectoring of a player.

This narrative comes through in Matheson's posts about Hemsky. He has questioned everything about Hemsky's game, character and leadership this year. He has called him "petulant" "wishy-washy" "too comfortable" a "follower" and said his "body language is off."

Here's an interesting point to mull over:

Matheson is convinced that if Hemsky says his shoulders are fine, then if he is not producing it must be because he lacks determination and conviction for the game.

Again, he said his shoulders were fine now. But, if they are, where are the points? (dec. 28th)

Oilers head coach Tom Renney has said that Hemsky has been taking treatment after leaving practices, but Hemsky said the treatment wasn’t for his shoulders. They’re fine. (dec 29th)

Now this second quote neglects a couple of things. What Renney actually said I quoted above (post 68), here it is again:

"well he's also got a body that suggests... you know... he needs help... I'm not going to sit here and tell you what he goes in and treats but he gets off the ice so he can be prepared tonight... he goes right straight to the medical room and I think you all know why... i mean at the end of the day he's all in that's the main thing." (dec 19th)

"and i think you all know why"

How does Matheson interpret that statement? Is he aware that NHL teams routinely say things like "upper body injury" to evade directly stating the problem? Is he aware that one can say after major shoulder surgery that one's shoulders are "fine," ie. repaired in the medical sense but not necessarily strong enough to perform at 100%, not to mention the psychological factor of confidence and the the other physcial factors like missing most of two years of playing, missing TC, missing most of the exhibition games (ie. missing a lot of the prep time other players have before the season starts)? Whitney's ankles were repaired and fine - i'm sure we could find a quote of him saying they were fine in one sense anyway - but they lacked strength and gave him great pain... both can be true.

It seems pretty clear to me that Matheson is calling Hemsky to the carpet and binding him to an odd either/or: either you are injured and shouldn't play or you are healthy and should be back to your prior form. I don't see why Matheson needs to hold Hemsky to this standard.

I'll also have you notice that while Hemsky's struggles have been greatly publicized and criticized, no one - least of all Matheson - has bothered to mention that he has 11 points in his last 14 games (.785 PPG) and that if he can keep this pace up he will finish the season with 45.5 points in 69 games for .659 PPG. That is a great story, one of recovery, conviction, determination, etc. It would be a shame if the media bought into the narrative and didn't tell it. In fact, it's a shame this trend went unnoticed as recently as today:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/02/06/is-ales-hemsky-worth-the-risk/

how do you write a story about Hemksy's production and not mention that he's on the right trajectory? That his numbers are improving? That this is common for players coming off injury, ie. to struggle to regain form and familiarity before they regain their stride (yes the article is about how many players don't ever return to form... but isn't the fact that Hemsky's numbers are trending in the right direction a pertinent piece of information for that discussion?)

And, while it's nice to see Hemsky get some attention after shaking off that Kronwall hit, especially, after being called out for a lack of determination and conviction... it is interesting that Hemsky's heart, courage and level of competition is relegated to a "p.s":

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/02/04/did-the-referee-get-it-right-on-kronwalls-nasty-hit-on-hemsky/

P.S. Great to see Hemsky bounce right up and thank goodness he wasn’t hurt. Tough play to get a pass like that when Kronwall is on your side of the ice.

2) leadership: Matheson does a nifty two-step to equate a serial lack of poise, affability, engagement, forthrightness and cheerfulness on the part of Hemsky's media relations with not being a leader.

The transition in that article from a complaint (that is pretty curt and personal) that Hemsky is "petulant" for not being as forthright with the media as Ryan Whitney to him being a "follower" on the team is so awkward Woody Allen's oeuvre could fit in there and still leave room for Wanye to swoon, have an attack of the vapors and collapse awkwardly in the corner if he ever got to share a Lady and Tramp bowl of spaghetti with Eberle.

To say that Hemsky lacks poise and even maturity in his media relations is fair and I think you'd be hard pressed to find detractors.

-------Although I do think he gets pressed on this too much. All the things Matheson wants to hear from Hemsky - that he takes responsibility for his poor play, that he wants to perform better, that he will give his best no matter where the coach plays him, etc - he has said in front of cameras. If you like I'll dig up the links. I watched a lot of Hemsky/Renney media video yesterday to find that clip from Renney so I know it's there.

I'll use Matheson's OWN reporting to show the odd standards Hemsky is held too and the way the narrative trumps facts:

Dec. 28th http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/12/28/hemsky-is-doing-himself-no-favours/

Matheson (talking about the Leduc situation) writes:

Hemsky should be saying the same sort of thing. It would have been smarter from him to say “you know, I’m not playing well guys. No excuses. My shoulders are perfectly fine now. I’ve got to start carrying the ball here and taking some pressure off the kids.”

Dec. 29th http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Hemsky+future+with+Oilers+murky+trade+deadline+approaches/5921080/story.html

Matheson the next day (still talking about Leduc) now gives this quote from the day earlier:

“Three goals isn’t enough, but nobody said it was going to be easy (coming back from major repair work). I’m not hiding behind anything,” Hemsky said.).

So one day he's complaining that Hemsky didn't say something (and apparently tying this non-said thing to a lack of leadership) and the next day he quotes Hemsky from the previous day having said the very thing on the very day he complained he didn't say it. hmmm.-------

Moving on, I simply don't get how the legit gripe that Hemsky is bad at media relations (although I think due to the nature of their jobs the media stress this issue well beyond its import) massages its way into a criticism of Hemsky's leadership.

It is fair to say, one leads by example (on and off the ice) and that by showing a lack of poise off the ice in relations with the media Hemsky is a poor example for the team.

But, I suspect that that is not the aspect of leadership the team, the coaches or management care about. I doubt anyone on the team watched or heard about that incident and gave it much thought. And there is no way they gave it as much import as Matheson did. I can't imagine Eberle saying "Well Hemsky you blew Matheson off in a press gaggle, so your advice on seaming a passing through the slot is useless, I question your character, heart, determination and commitment and can no longer follow you." Does that seem like a reasonable pro athlete response?

Here's an example to think about:

John Tortorella routinely blows up at the press in ways that display almost a perpetual lack of composure (well beyond anything Hemsky has ever displayed). Do you think his players and his manager question his leadership of the team for his poor media relations?

(To anyone who managed to read this: it is primarily for Greg, since he asked for arguments I tried to honor that. To anyone just seeing a bunch of words and skimming by, sorry for the length)

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#11 The Farmer
February 05 2012, 01:03PM
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I have no problem signing Hemsky again, but it has to be short term. The way the kids are playing there is no telling how high we might have to go to match offer sheets in the next couple of years. They cannot get tied down until the kids are locked up and then see where it goes from there.

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#12 Slick
February 05 2012, 01:05PM
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Great to see Hallsy's numbers underneath it all. There will come a point in time when Renney can play his best against anybody and feel confident, which should open things up for guys like Smyth and Hemmer who are still legitimate offensive threats being used slightly outside their skill set at the moment. Re sign Hemmer and Smyth

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#13 justwondering
February 05 2012, 01:09PM
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I'd give him a year at no more than 3mil, but then again if signing him means Horcoff stays on the 3rd line... then give him 2 years at 7 mil.

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#15 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 05 2012, 01:23PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Rom: I'm with you, love this player.

There is an area of concern and that is his even strength number. His even strength points per 60 number a year ago was 2.88 (ridiculous) and this season it is 1.46 even with the recent effort.

That's a concern. He's so good that 1.46 is a red flag, but as you state injury and then recovery is probably a big part of it.

I get the concerns: his production is down, he might want too much money, despite what he says he may actually want out and mostly he's an injury liability for sure

(but not as fragile as some would suggest - yesterday someone said he was an Ott hit away from the IR... well Kronwall is a pretty good substitute and he shook it off fine)

What I don't get is the complaints about the guy not only from fans but from sections of the media that seem to think his production is in the Gomez basement. It's not. It's down, but it's not in the wilderness. And complaints that he is soft (Brownlee had a good point on this last night).

The narrative that surrounds Hemsky is like a fever dream where the slightest thing is magnified exponentially.

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#17 The Beaker
February 05 2012, 01:32PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Even Oiler fans have to admit that was a beautiful hit levelled at 83 last night. Good solid open ice hit straight on. These are the type of collisions the league needs to keep in the game.

Katz should offer Hemsky 11 over two yrs and put the cards on the table for everyone to see. Not so sure 83 is the victim he's painted himself as this last weekend. It's situations like this that has the media and the fans being played here.

It was a great solid open ice hit straight on to the face of a venerable player.

That being said, who gets into that position anymore?

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#18 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 05 2012, 01:36PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well, I think there is a concern signing him to a long term deal for big money. A 5-year, $30M deal with his injury history would be a bad idea.

I've been a fan of Hemsky's all down the line. Oilers should sign him to a 2-year deal if possible.

agreed. 5 is out of the question. 2 would be ideal from the Oiler perspective...

but if you went 3 or 4 you might be able to massage the terms a bit and front load the $.

How about 3 yr. $14-15M? I think that is a compromise that most Oiler fans could live with (not sure if Hemsky and agent could though).

4 at 18-20M would be fine with me but I imagine that would be a touch too long for some.

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#19 GregZ
February 05 2012, 01:44PM
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The Oilers cannot make the mistake of offering Hemsky contract terms based primarily on what he's done in the past. Horcoff had a couple of pretty good years, and got paid in the expectation his performance curve was on the rise, when clearly it had already peaked.

Hemsky is 28, and now appears to be entering the final stage of his recovery from two major surgeries. There should be about a two, perhaps three year window where he can reasonably be expected to perform at or near his peak performance level.

If he stays with the Oilers, he'll likely play 2nd line RW, with 2nd unit PP time, possibly even some PK. I'd guess, health permitting, that he'll produce somewhere between 55-65 pts each season, max.

I'd offer him two more years, at roughly the same $$$ he's making now, and I'd want the answer by Feb 12, otherwise the Oilers should package him up with a good prospect for the best defenseman we can get that has some term left on his contract. And if he stays, the "A" comes off his jersey. Assistant captains should be setting examples for young players, especially when times are tough, and I'm just not seeing any of that from Hemsky.

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#21 stealthwise
February 05 2012, 01:57PM
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Two years, $8 million, without a no-movement/no-trade clause. You can always trade him later if it's not working out, but they still need him.

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#22 Dutchscooter
February 05 2012, 02:01PM
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The posts concerning signing Hemsky have me shaking my head. His play and injury history has people giving him a raise in pay?!?

Sign him. Trade him. I'm not firmly in either camp. But you can't give him a raise. The Oilers should be giving him a short term, like two years at his current rate of $4.1M per. It's not an insult, just hedging bets. I think that's why there has been no movement in the Oiler camp. Hemsky wants too much and/or too long.

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#24 Spydyr
February 05 2012, 02:04PM
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The Oilers should offer Hemsky a 2 year deal at his current rate.

IMO any lower offer would be construed as an insult by Hemsky.The team HAS to open negotiations before trading him.It is only good business sense.

Besides Katz has a few million kicking around with the drugstore sale.

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#25 RossCreekNation
February 05 2012, 02:05PM
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IF...

...Ales Hemsky says yes to $14.5M -- $5M, $5M, $4.5M -- over 3 years ($4.83M cap hit) with a NTC...

......what say you's?

I wouldn't give him more term/$ than that, but those numbers would have to seem fairly reasonable, no? After all, he IS making $5M this season (and he's not signing for $4.1M).

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#26 PutzStew
February 05 2012, 02:08PM
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The Past few Games have made me rellise a couple things about this team. The most glaring thing I've noticed is how much better a team with NHL Caliber player on it is and the second thing is that Edmonton has had to many "ifs" on this team in past years.

The past few games the Defence has been good. It started with the return of Sutton, Then Whitney, then Barker and soon Gilbert. Edmonton all the sudden has 6, Healthy, NHL Defence men with those 4, plus Smid and Potter and the product on the ice is way better. I'm not sitting there wondering if Petry, Plante, Peckham or Teubert are going to mess up or excel.

If this team is to be successful, which I do Believe it can be and soon, they need to employ that with the rest of the team. If a player is pushing to make the big club give him a chance. If he isn't then leave him in the minors to develop and give the position to a proven NHL Player.

Having said all that there are some positions on the forwards lines that need to be filled. I believe that Renny needs to run with two top lines. One with RNH and Eberle and the other with Hall and Gagner. I'm also going to note that I thought Hall and Gagner showed Chemisrty before the 8 point night. The points weren't there but they moved the puck well and battled together well.

Moving forwards the need to fill the other two spots with NHL caliber players until the Prospects (PRV, Harti, Omark, Etc) are really pushing to make those spots. Smyth could fill one of those roles and Hemsky...

Well Hemsky, in my opinion right now is a mistake. Not by him but by management. There was a time when his style of play was great for Edmonton but at this time I think his skill set has been replaced 2 times over by RNH and Eberle. Hemsky should have been traded last year instead of Penner.

Before you go into your tears listen to reason. If you are going to split up Hall, Ebs and RNH and play Hall with Gagner then you need to find complementing players. Penner, when he was with the Oilers, was the Perfect Complementing player. Every player he played with excelled and his skill set is one that the Oilers don't have right now (and I'm not talking about his skills with pancakes).

My thoughts on Hemsky have change over the last week. I was ready to get rid of him for a bag a pucks a while ago. Now i look at him as a NHL player that can at the very least, can fill a spot. Gregor's blog the other day got me thinking that maybe he is too comfortable in Edmonton and maybe he needs to be challenged a bit.

So having said all that, here's what I want to see done.

Plan on a leadership change for the summer. It is time to past the torch and Hall needs a letter.

Shop Hemsky for a top 6 forward that will be able to play for a couple years and Compliment the young guns. The return isn't going to be great but if he is traded, prospects aren't going to fill that void right now. Hemsky may put up points but the team needs some other skill sets then what he, Eberle, RNH and Gagner bring. I won't mention attitude but I think it would be the best move for both the Oilers and Him.

If they can't find a big, NHL proven winger for the top 6, offer Hemsky a contract one year @ $3Mil, in hopes that he elevates his game, moves up is trade value or a prospect is able to push him out next year.

If he doesn't take it. Trade him for what ever you an get and sign a proven top 6 as a UFA.

Sorry about the spelling. In a rush to get my Kids to a Birthday Party.

Thanx for the comments that are about to come.

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#27 Quicksilver ballet
February 05 2012, 02:09PM
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@RossCreekNation

I would take that, minus the NTC. The alternative option is lose lose as far as Oiler interests go. Sign and trade may be the way to go.

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#28 GregZ
February 05 2012, 02:10PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Is anyone else bothered by Hemmers, "i don't really need to work on anything to improve" attitude?

Last one on the ice, first one off after practice must not set a good example for his teammates. Are the Oilers a better club with 83 marching to the beat of a different drummer?

Have to think it was more or less Ken Holland checking the durability of Hemsky's shoulders on that play rather than Nicklas Kronwall.

You nailed it. Clearly the man chooses to interact with the game on his own terms, which is fine, but having him wear the "A" on his jersey is a bad idea. I respect Hemsky's talent on the ice, but he's no leader.

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#29 GregZ
February 05 2012, 02:17PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

IF...

...Ales Hemsky says yes to $14.5M -- $5M, $5M, $4.5M -- over 3 years ($4.83M cap hit) with a NTC...

......what say you's?

I wouldn't give him more term/$ than that, but those numbers would have to seem fairly reasonable, no? After all, he IS making $5M this season (and he's not signing for $4.1M).

I might do the three years at the $$$ you list, but there's no way he should get a NTC. That's the kind of bonus I'd offer a player on his way up with lots of potential. No matter which team gets him, Hemsky should be compensated purely for what he delivers, not what we think he might deliver.

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#30 leftwinger9
February 05 2012, 02:26PM
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Lowetide,

Based on the lack of communication between Hemsky and Oilers management, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that a trade will happen. Do you think Joe Morrow from the Pens would be a fair return for Hemsky? Could Hemsky be packaged with Hamilton/Pitlick and a pick for any of Subban, Ellis, Voyonov, Gardiner, etc... For the record, not working out a deal with Hemsky is a huge mistake IMO. A 3 year contract at or around his current salary would give the Oil two dangerous scoring lines. A top 6 forward is not easy to find, and I believe that the next 3 years will be the most productive of Hemskys career.

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
February 05 2012, 02:26PM
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@Lowetide

Need more be said about 83? The leaving practices quickly isn't something that is recent or injury related. He's been doing this for the whole time he's been an Oiler.

This year, however difficult it may have been for Hemsky surely must reveal he's put his own needs before his teams needs this season. Quitting on plays a second or two early, altered his game to insure he's healthy for his next club/his next contract.

Things may not ever get "that bad" i guess if one or two players on the hockey club aren't required to check their attitudes when they walk through those dressing room doors. How bad can it get ....right, if it's just Hemmers?

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#32 Ryan2
February 05 2012, 02:28PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

IF...

...Ales Hemsky says yes to $14.5M -- $5M, $5M, $4.5M -- over 3 years ($4.83M cap hit) with a NTC...

......what say you's?

I wouldn't give him more term/$ than that, but those numbers would have to seem fairly reasonable, no? After all, he IS making $5M this season (and he's not signing for $4.1M).

I would not give him, or any other player for that matter (even Hall/RNH/Eberle) a NTC. Other than that, I would go 3 - 4 years with an even more front loaded deal so it is easier to deal him two years down the road when the Oilers will hopefully have a replacement top 6 forward ready to go (still hoping Magnus reaches that). It still takes more than one line to make the playoffs, and if the Oilers trade Hemmer without having a replacement in waiting then it is a setback.

As far as the hit, I did not like it at the time as from my angle at the game like he hit Hemsky before the puck was there (did not watch the replay - did Hemsky ever have possession of it?). What what was worse was the fact that Commodore had to take the fight for Kronwall. Not that I was surprised since it was Kronwall, but I felt sorry for Mike being the one taking the fists. If you are willing to dish out hits like that then you should have to answer for them.

In any case, Datsyuk should have been targetted hard after that play. This is the one thing I have hated about the Oilers since the lucky Cup run - if another team targets their skill guys they do not retaliate on the opponent's top guns. They should have run Pavel a few times as an even up, especially since Detroit is not a tough team to begin with. Start doing that and other teams will not take liberties with the young guns either.

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#35 book¡e
February 05 2012, 02:36PM
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How many of you observe practice to see if Hemsky actually leaves first, I kind of think this might well be more internet rumour than fact.

Also, does anyone know where he goes? If his is reviewing video or riding the bike then who cares if he leaves the ice early. Jason Strudwick recently hinted that the Oilers may be a team that does too much on-ice training (this from a guy who has been on a few NHL teams) so who really cares when the guy leaves the ice?

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#36 RossCreekNation
February 05 2012, 02:41PM
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@Lowetide

Any thoughts on NYR top prospect Chris Kreider? 6-3, 215lb W with speed to burn. Wonder if they'd move him straight up...

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#37 RossCreekNation
February 05 2012, 02:42PM
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Lowetide wrote:

This year it became an issue. I'll leave it to others as to why this has been framed as a major item at this point in time.

Greasing. The. Wheels.

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#40 Semenko and Troy
February 05 2012, 02:49PM
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IMO Hemsky wants to stay here, but for the wrong reasons. Here, he doesn’t have to push himself. Here, he is quickly forgiven current flaws made more apparent with the arrival of younger, more talented, and more driven elite players.

Hemsky knows that his fans are either basking in his past glories, or optimistically prophesying a return to past production. A new team and fanbase without the collective memories of a younger, more energized Hemsky, will not be as forgiving as the Oiler faithful. Unknown and uncharted territory is daunting, especially as you get older.

I would have preferred to have seen Hemsky come out this year with a fire in his belly, challenging management through his play to sign him or let him walk at their peril.

BTW, given his surgeries, Hemsky should fire his agent if he advises him to sign for less than a four year term with any team.

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#41 RossCreekNation
February 05 2012, 02:56PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I do think the Rangers will be a team that pushes but have no idea what the Oilers can get. A quick look suggests he has some skill and certainly size.

Suspect it'll be a good prospect, more likely a D.

I really wonder if you could get Dubinsky outta there for Hemsky +? Prob have to sacrifice at least a 2nd rounder (be it this years or past years - Pitlick/Hamilton/Marincin/Musil). Maybe a conditional pick (going either way) depending on if Rangers were to re-sign Hemsky.

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#42 horndog77
February 05 2012, 03:07PM
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I read somewhere that Nashville if they were to trade Ryan Suter, it would be for a top 6 player, A grade prospect and B grade prospect as well as a first rounder. So does Ales Hemsky and two blue chip prospects as well as are first rounder sound like a rip off? Sure would like him on the team. Hemsky and Erat could make up two thirds of a Czech team.

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#43 Dutchscooter
February 05 2012, 03:12PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

IF...

...Ales Hemsky says yes to $14.5M -- $5M, $5M, $4.5M -- over 3 years ($4.83M cap hit) with a NTC...

......what say you's?

I wouldn't give him more term/$ than that, but those numbers would have to seem fairly reasonable, no? After all, he IS making $5M this season (and he's not signing for $4.1M).

I just used $4.1M because that's the cap hit on his current deal.

The point I was trying to make is NO RAISE. I haven't looked it up, but I'm assuming that players with his numbers, etc. average more per season. So what? He's a fragile player who's had a rotten year. If he's looking for $5M+ no thanks.

And I agree with the other comments here....no NTC or NMC which may also be a major sticking point.

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#44 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 05 2012, 03:12PM
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Dutchscooter wrote:

The posts concerning signing Hemsky have me shaking my head. His play and injury history has people giving him a raise in pay?!?

Sign him. Trade him. I'm not firmly in either camp. But you can't give him a raise. The Oilers should be giving him a short term, like two years at his current rate of $4.1M per. It's not an insult, just hedging bets. I think that's why there has been no movement in the Oiler camp. Hemsky wants too much and/or too long.

A raise is potentially reasonable because salaries have inflated 60% since he signed his last contract.

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#45 Aendayana
February 05 2012, 03:12PM
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Semenko and Troy wrote:

IMO Hemsky wants to stay here, but for the wrong reasons. Here, he doesn’t have to push himself. Here, he is quickly forgiven current flaws made more apparent with the arrival of younger, more talented, and more driven elite players.

Hemsky knows that his fans are either basking in his past glories, or optimistically prophesying a return to past production. A new team and fanbase without the collective memories of a younger, more energized Hemsky, will not be as forgiving as the Oiler faithful. Unknown and uncharted territory is daunting, especially as you get older.

I would have preferred to have seen Hemsky come out this year with a fire in his belly, challenging management through his play to sign him or let him walk at their peril.

BTW, given his surgeries, Hemsky should fire his agent if he advises him to sign for less than a four year term with any team.

Really

This is what you know Hemsky is thinking?

No wonder some players would rather go elsewhere.

ST is going to trade 83 for a defence man who we really do need even though lots of people discount this in face of all this scoring.It's not personal, we need a well-balanced team. 83 was fave for years but I'm looking forward to not having to watch him turn over the puck or not shoot or nor pass for sooooo long or quit on the play, you name it. 4, 14, 93 and even 89 makes up for his absence . And I'll take 94s heart and hustle over Hemsky.

Please stop acting you know what pro athletes think.

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#46 horndog77
February 05 2012, 03:19PM
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I hope because of the standings teams will be looking to improve their chances, which will help elevate Hemsky's value. I just don't see how a prospect defenseman will be the right return. I think the Oilers need a Player that is already established on defense and doesn't have a large contract.

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#47 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 05 2012, 03:30PM
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I'd offer up 3 options:

1 year in the 5.5 range

2 years in the 10 range

3 years in the 13 range

..... Maybe 4 years if we could get it in the 15 range

Outside of that I think the injury risk is too high so we'd have to move him.

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#48 RossCreekNation
February 05 2012, 03:32PM
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Dutchscooter wrote:

I just used $4.1M because that's the cap hit on his current deal.

The point I was trying to make is NO RAISE. I haven't looked it up, but I'm assuming that players with his numbers, etc. average more per season. So what? He's a fragile player who's had a rotten year. If he's looking for $5M+ no thanks.

And I agree with the other comments here....no NTC or NMC which may also be a major sticking point.

Right, but he made $3.5M at the beginning of his deal & makes $5M now. The $4.1M cap hit is somewhat meaningless to the player. Sure, they compare it to other guys, and probably don't want to have a high cap hit if it means losing a star player, but at the end of the day, all that matters is the $$ they're making.

The idea of that $4.1M cap hit was that it was a bit steep early on, but became a bit low towards the end of the deal. He made $4.5M last year & $5M this year. At minimum, he's gonna want (and get) those same dollars in a 2 year deal. Chances are, somebody gives him a deal in the 3-5 year range - the longer the deal, the lower the cap hit, and vice versa.

Ex: 2 year deal = $4.75M - 5.25M cap hit; 3 year deal = $4.5M - 5M; 4 year deal = $4.25M - 4.75M (*reasonable estimates*)

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#49 horndog77
February 05 2012, 03:39PM
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I would rather find a way to dump Horcoff, than worry about hemsky. Sign hemsky for two years at 4 million per and buyout horcoff and his rotten contract.

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#50 michael
February 05 2012, 03:41PM
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NO trade clause for Hemsky. I think not. Thank you but come again. How may teams have hamstrung themselves with NT clauses and have born the brunt of those contracts when the players performance goes south. Sure things can be done. Danny Heatly got traded to SJ. Then they shipped his contract to Minny as soon as they saw him for what he what he was and as soon as his contract allowed. Alex Hemsky has not earned a NT clause in my opinion. Those you keep for players whom you think are franchise players. Taylor Hall,RNH and Eberle. At one time perhaps Hemsky deserved that tag.Now he is a secondary player coming back from 2 major shoulder operations. It would be unwise to invest a NT clause on a player with that kind of history behind him.Don't you think?

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