Back to the Future

In the next 12 months or so, we’re going to hear a lot about Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky. Both make north of 4M per season and both will be UFA 2012 summer, and both can create offense on their own. There’s every chance one (or both) will be gone by 2012 

The Oilers are blessed and cursed with two lottery picks (Gagner, Hall) and more on the way–possibly two more by summer 2012. Those entry level contracts aren’t cheap, and Shawn Horcoff’s cap hit will be rolling along too. Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney and Nikolai Khabibulin will also be on the books for 2012-13.

It may come down to one or the other.


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
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

By the numbers, Hemsky is extremely consistent. His EV numbers come on an addled team and his PP numbers are exceptional considering the help. Ales Hemsky is an injury concern and he is not a tremendous player without the puck, but he is a demon with it and has little fear. He creates so much offense (and room) that it is hard to imagine 83 on another team. Then again, I expect a long lineup if Tambellini makes him available. He’s a beauty player.


  • Boxcars: 82gp, 32-31-63
  • Shots: 203
  • Plus Minus: +6
  • Corsi (Rel): 16.8 (1st F)
  • GF/GA ON: 58-48
  • 5×5/60: 2.43 (1st F)
  • 5×4/60: 3.97 (4th F)
  • Quality of Competition: 9th F
  • Quality of Teammates: 3rd F
  • FO Percentage: 47.6% in 420FO’s
  • OZone FO %: 45.4 (toughest F)
  • Cap Hit: $4.25M

Considering the team he played on, this is like looking at Johnny Bench’s 1970 APBA card. The only slight question mark is quality of competition, and that was such a moving target this season you can make a case for disregarding it entirely. His RelCorsi is all world–and doing it with the Edmonton Oilers 09-10 was spectacular.

Late in the season, the Oilers were playing Dallas on PPV. Stars 3, Oilers 0. Penner got the puck down low early in the second period and created a powerplay. The Oilers didn’t score, but kept the puck in the Dallas end for the first time in the game. Later, he caught a break on a turnover at the Edmonton blueline (Cogs sent him away) and he scored on a breakaway. After that, he manhandled two Stars defenders, created another powerplay, but the Oilers never got it because he dished to Pouliot who scored on the play.

That sequence–and the numbers above–tell us Dustin Penner is an above average player. He may end up at center, or on the wing with gifted linemates, but he will be the one carrying the mail.

The Oilers may have to make a choice between these two talents by summer 2012. Or maybe they’ll deal away one of those lottery picks instead. It’s going to be interesting.

    • I know LT must be reeling after your scathing review. It is, after all, his mission in life to keep Kip Drodry entertained and up to speed with only the most relevant material in the middle of the Edmontonian summer.

      If he hasnt commited hari kari already then he has dishonoured himself and his family.

        • Reggie

          Hey Kip,

          You remind me of the lady on one of my facebook pages that I like. She complained how awful it is that they are posting deer pictures (typically of shot deer or mounts) on a page called “Big Buck Club”.

          Umm, so what did she think would be posted on that page ? Why join ?

          In this instance, that’s pretty harsh criticism for an ok article in the slowest time of the summer for hockey. As someone noted above, only LT and JW are putting out some stuff, while other’s are on vacation. It’s the slow season and with the Kovalchuk mess, the UFAs all must be getting worried about what happens next.

          On another note, ya, you have a right to post your opinion like everyone else on here. If you have not been reading LT regularly, give him a chance.

          I have been following him for a couple years now and he has great insight, writes regularly and puts his opinion out there on players, prospects, etc. It makes for some great discussion.

          If you are new to LT, check out some of the stuff on his blog. Especially dig into the comments sections, there’s some great insight from some other excellent bloggers and other regular posters. If you are an Oiler fan, you will not be disappointed.

          Lowtide Blog

          Just my thoughts.

        • You can. I just tried to point out the irony in the fact that by taking the time to point out your opinion of the quality of the article you are actually drawing more hits to said article which might make the webmaster think it is well liked.

          Counter-intuitive you see?

          Nobody is cracking on your right to have an opinion (although we may disagree about it but that’s what these forums are about).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Ignoring the problem only compounds this problem, make the decisions for these guys, don’t grovel and hope they’ll sign an extension here. Efforts have been made to move both of these players already (Penner in 2009 and Hemsky summer of 2010) the writing is already on the wall. The longer we wait on these two the less we’ll get in return. If the trade deadline comes and goes, both these guys will be within a few games of being in the last year of their contract, much like the Thomas Kaberle scenario…..the clock is ticking, their departures should be imminent.

  • Jodes

    Sorry for how slow this was, but I was just reading about this bit about the Capital Ex funday for disadvantaged kids:

    Before the gates were opened to the public, hundreds of kids and their families converged at Capital EX for this year’s Monday Morning Magic, and along for the ride were the Edmonton Oilers, Oil Kings and Capitals.

    In its 33rd year, Monday Morning Magic was created by Northlands to cater to children with disabilities – offering early entrance to the grounds and a safe and controlled environment to enjoy the fun of the fair.

    Special guests included Zack Stortini, Ladislav Smid and Tom Gilbert from the Oilers; Mark Pysyk, T.J. Foster, Travis Ewanyk, Klarc Wilson, Michael Burns and mascot Louie the Lion from the Oil Kings; and Capitals mascot Razzle.

    You guys remember over the years that only Big George would be the only Oiler to ever do this? I know others have done great charity work in the past, but a lot of it was not “out in the community” so to speak.

    Kudos for Storts, Laddy and Gilbert for this!

    Come to think of it, other then Doug Weight have we ever had a non-Canadian player ever do anything like this before?

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Clearly we need to wait and see…but if you’re forced to make the decision right now – I think you have to go with Hemsky. Horcoff should be splitting his paycheck with him for making him look like a bona fide first line center – thus earning him a juicy contract. I would also suggest that Hemsky was a large part of Penner’s resurgence last year. When Hemsky went down…it wasn’t too long before Penner and the rest of the team did too.

    This guy doesn’t get the respect he deserves. My only hope is that he is rejuvenated by the young talent – finds chemistry with one ore more of them and is intrigued enough by the potential to stick around.

    • Its increadible insight like this you expect on HFboards please not here.

      Horcoff with hemsky last year;
      21 games 5g 6A -5 .52ppg

      Horcoff with Moreau and Pisani
      21Games 4G 12A +2 .76ppg

      Yup hemsky made him great this year.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I don’t see how any of the players can digress any more than they did last year unless coaching and management fail again to give the team the tools required to be successfull with . That retooling should be in place come seasons opener , or heads should roll A.S.A.P..

    They certainly have the forward tools to be competitive far more than last season , despite the rookie laden talent !

    The only reason our team might fail , i feel ,is because of coaching and or management failures to take advantage of the players they have to work with . Now thats a big concern thats impossible to ignor . If they keep failing then it’s quite possible the players will follow suit again to basement of league .

    Many changes have been made, and many more should follow before season opener . We’ll see if Tams and company changes are any better than last seasons in probably a very short time once season starts and we see the new team perform on the ice .

  • I don’t want to waste my time talking to pesimistic tools who know it all. Will the next article be about the teams Penner and Hemsky would like to go to, be a good fit on, or get traded too? Please give me something, my summer is sooooo boring I need more pesimistic views as an OIlers fan to get by. I dont want to be excited about next season, I want to discuss where Eberle and Gagner will be traded to in the next 5 6 years.

    Go Oilers.

  • Reggie


    Did you see the article at puckdaddy this morning ? Both the Flames and Bruins are about $2M over cap due to the latest signings – Ian White and accepting the Wheeler arbitration award.

    There’s some work to do for those 2 GM’s to get under the cap.

    FLames Bruins

    • Saw it. The flames are in real trouble. Gio is up for a new contract next year (as will White). The cap space doesn’t even take into account backlund who will almost certainly be seeing top 6 minutes next year and they need to sign a few more bodies just to fill out the roster.

      It is delicious.

  • Reggie

    Oilers only about three players away from being an upper eschilon team this season in my opinion all things considered . All three are also still avaiable . Souray stays and we add W.Mitchell if healthy . Turco in goal would be beneficial as he is good at puck handling the puck to aid defence and offence . Another physical forward better the Jones and/or Jacques .

    Not an awfull lot to ask for , but results could be resounding in standings with an adequate veteran base to compliment the offensive talent of our many rookies ! Time to breakout with the rookies not AHL ‘ers in tow .It should happen and i’m still optimistic it will . Make it happen Tams !

  • Reggie

    While I hope we find a way to keep both. I keep Penner, we still lack NHL proven size, while we have alot of skilled prospects until one with size develops, Penner in my opinion (without a drop in production) is more valuable. Ask the Capitals what a skilled team without size can get done in the playoffs?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Well, if you are named after a Southpark reference, chances are you only read stuff that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

    I agree LT, I don’t know where the opening is to start negotiations, but I would likely jump on keeping Hemmer, and jettison the big body elsewhere.

  • I’ve always been a fan of trading Penner while his market value is high. Hey Los Angeles, need a big lumbering ‘power’ forward? Cool – we’ll take Jonathan Bernier and Colton Teubert in exchange.

    Or, will give you Penner and Cogliano for Dany Heatley, er, I mean, Brayden Schenn.

    The trick is to have a whole bunch of young guns come up at the same time, sign them all to reasonable 3-5M contracts, and kick ace.

    Penner is not part of the planned cup parade in 2015.

  • DougWeightProblem

    Oilers add Ralph Krueger as associate coach, as per website.

    He seems like the technical guy we’ve been waiting for, plus he seems to be very successful with motivating youth (Head Coach of Swiss National team, moving them from 15th to 7th in IIHF rankings, has a book out on coaching, etc.)

    Interesting choice …

  • Jodes

    Too bad Tambellini didn’t try to land Dominic Moore.. signed a 2 year deal today with Tampa. He would have been a good shut down/pk/faceoff specialist that we need on the bottom six.

    Oh well. I guess we’ll “work from within” yet again.

  • Jodes

    Everything you need to know on Hemsky’s future is in the minutes of the meeting between he and Mr. Katz, from the dinner they supposedly had back a while ago. Brownlee, Gregor, do you have access to these minutes?? 😉 I bet Stauffer knows.

  • Psyche

    I read the following on, posted by Buck Martinez. It is a really good example of hands on development by an organization, in this case the Blue Jays. It also made me think of the importance of having a coach like Krueger in the Oilers organization. He’ll have a nice understanding of the European players as they adjust not only to the NHL game but to North American culture.

    “(Adeiny) Hechavarria started out at Dunedin in the Florida State League and didn’t do so well. But there were a couple of things to consider; he was just getting his feet on the ground in pro ball, and he was adapting to a totally new culture. Mel Didier, the long-time scout and front office executive, went to Dunedin to check on Hechavarria’s progress and asked who the Spanish-speaking member of the staff was. He found out they didn’t have one that was totally fluent. So to his credit, Didier asked to have the the young Cuban shortstop promoted to Double-A, which was a surprise given his slow start with the bat.

    But the manager at Double-A, Luis Rivera, is a long-time major league infielder and a native of Puerto Rico. It was a natural fit as Rivera played 11 years in the big leagues in the infield, where Hechavarria will play. The move has helped Adeiny relax, focus on baseball and his numbers are improving.

    As of July 26 he was hitting .295 with eight doubles, a triple and 10 RBI. There has never been much doubt about his ability to play defence but the bat is coming around. Good move by the organization to send the kid to Double-A when the stats didn’t warrant the move. Old, experienced eyes are much better than any numbers.”

    Full post is here:

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I realize I’m joining this somewhat late, so I’ll comment on the photo and not the article.

    May I be so bold, Mr. Lowetide, as to say that I’m quite “Fonda” your Barbarella photo?

    Hanoi Jane was HAWT back in the day…

  • Why not get rid of both sooner than later?

    They are arguabley Edmonton’s best players and neither has shown any signs of wanting to be the Oilers next captain/leader.

    If Penner has a similar start to last season I move him first with the hopes Hemsky stays healthy and garners more of a return the following season.

    Then again, based on the defensive minded coaching staff Edmonton has now, Hemsky might ask to go first.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Dustin Penner carrying the mail? dude, his Penis fell off 2 months through the season and he didnt show up until late after he had his winter nap.

    he had a whopping 8 points in March (15 games). 3 points in February (8 games). 6 points in January (12 games). 8 points in December (14 games).

    im sorry but over a 4 month stretch to have 25 points in 49 games as your “best player” isnt cutting it. he showed up for 2 months of the season when Hemsky was around and had a stretch of 4 games at the very end where he was consistent. and supposedly he “broke out” last year? yep, the 32 goals is great but i think everyone was so hyped up from the big start that it left everyone in awe, waiting for it to return but he was too fatigued.

    i dont know man, 2 years off, then 2 months of great hockey, 4 more months of “eh” and supposedly this dude is a one of the best players? show me any other team where that sort of consistency gets you this much cred. im not buying it.

    F the CORSI numbers and +/- stuff. hes here to put up 4.25 million dollars of points.