Friday, October 31, 2008

Will Hemsky Ever Reach Superstar Status?

Ales Hemsky has been by far the most talented forward in my years as an Oilers fan. Blazing speed, incredible stickhandling at top gear, breathtaking passes, and hilite reel goals. The tools are there, laid out for everyone to see every single time that he breaks in on an odd man rush or dishes a perfect pass to a teammate on the power play.

However the improvements seem to be coming slower than most would like. Last season he added a nice move where he drags the puck back and shoots through defenders legs. While it hasn't been seen as much this season, it shows signs of a player that is still improving his offensive game.

And now we have reached the root of the problem. For such an amazingly talented player, he isn't able to get his linemates involved enough. He is often times too busy skating circles around d-men and curling around from behind the net looking for the perfect pass that his linemates are either watching in awe or confusion as to what #83 is doing.

This organization needs to make a decision on Hemsky, either get him a natural left wing sniper, get him to buy into making quicker decisions with the puck, or trade him and build this team around another forward up front.

Perhaps the best thing that the Oilers could do from with-in the organization in the near future would be to move Gilbert Brule to the left wing and Rob Schremp to the right wing. This would allow Hemsky to have a RH shooter on the left side who actively looks to put the puck on the net, and it would allow Schremp to open up his goalscoring game from the right side.

You cannot take away the creativity of a player like Ales Hemsky, but sometimes he has to be shown the error of a few of his ways. Great players adjust their game to the strengths of their linemates, very good and good players have to be adjusted to by their linemates. It's time to find out if Ales Hemsky is a great player and a player that's worthy of the franchise forward label, or if he's just a very good player that could be cashed in for a great player.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Bryan, I know you love your prospects but somehow I don't think a natural centre with 12 goals in 146 NHL games is the "natural LW sniper" that's going to take Hemsky to the next level.

I would love to be wrong, but I suspect neither Brule or Schremp will ever be 1st line snipers.

Bryanbryoil said...

dubya, you've got to make due with what you've got. Brule is FAR from that right now, but if Hemsky is the elite playmaker that many feel that he can be, Brule may have the best wrister of all of our players outside the NHL. He also has a boatload of speed and hasn't met a shot he didn't like.

Bryanbryoil said...

Of course it'd be ideal to have a proven NHL sniper for Hemsky, but we have yet to acquire one and may not acquire one for some time.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, I was quite impressed with Brule. But I'd rather have him in the centre and hopefully develop a Peca-type player.

Be nice to have a shoot first guy with Hemsky, but I think a sniper would get more points with Gagner. Gagner makes the same quality of passes, but he's smarter about it. As you mentioned, Hemsky can be hard to play with since he likes to dangle and hold the puck.

Bryanbryoil said...

Brule IMO just needs to get some confidence in his game. His shot is good enough, he just needs to start beating goalies routinely with it.

He'll need to bulk up to be a Peca type of a player, but he has the speed and mentality to make it happen.

I also agree that Gagner is a more ideal playmaker for a sniper.

Who would an ideal linemate be for Hemsky? Did he get into bad habits with Smyth being so limited offensively?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Smyth has anything to do with Hemsky's bad habits. I think that line worked because Smyth would go to the net and had the hands to convert the passes whenever they arrived. The LW won't be a concern if Horcoff can start to finish like he was last year.