As the season draws closer and we continue our look at the Edmonton Oilers stats projections for the upcoming season, one of the most debated players is up next. Ales Hemsky has taken his fair share of criticism over the last couple of seasons and when I took over this site, I quickly learnt that he still has an abundance of supporters in Oilers Nation.
There is no question that Hemsky has the skill to make this Oilers team better and he could be one to thrive under new coach Dallas Eakins‘ work your tail every shift or find a new place to play type ethic. Then again, if Hemsky decides to take a shift or two off then he could be in the doghouse sooner than anyone might imagine.
His individual success this season hinges on two things. The first being his willingness to adapt to Eakins new fitness and compete levels and if past performances are any indications, Hemsky is a professional first and foremost and will configure to the new Oilers standards.
Second and most important is his health. That is what stands between regaining his offensive prowess that helped him flirt with a point per game average during the better years of his career or frustrating Oilers fans yet again.
But lately he hasn’t been able to stay healthy long enough to play more than 70 games in an 82 game schedule. Just once in the last three seasons (not counting last year) Hemsky played in 69 games. Prior to that it was 47 games played in 2010-11 and just 22 in 2009-10. Not exactly an encouraging trend when looking at the over/under projections. Let’s dig into those.