The Montreal Canadiens enter the offseason needing to fill two holes on right wing with the impending departures of Thomas Vanek and Brian Gionta. It remains to be seen whether the Habs and Gionta can reach an agreement on an extension, but Vanek is surely going to test the market on July 1st and won’t be back.
Both players played a fairly significant role on the right wing for the team down the stretch, that is until Vanek was demoted to fourth line duty late in the postseason. However, the Canadiens still must find someone capable of playing right wing on one of the top two lines to complement Brendan Gallagher.
This morning, one of the few trusted hockey insiders, Bob McKenzie reported a pair of skilled right wingers will be available this offseason.
I mentioned Parenteau a few days ago, and think he would be an excellent fit on the Montreal Canadiens. He would have to be acquired via trade, meaning it would cost the Habs an asset or two, while Ales Hemsky would come without losing any other players or picks.
However, I still think Parenteau would make a lot more sense than the former Oiler and Senator. Hemsky is a skilled winger with plenty of speed and the hands of an exceptional playmaker. It seems he would be a great fit on the right side with the Habs, but the deeper I looked into it, the less desirable Hemsky appears to be.
As McKenzie mentioned, Hemsky turned down a three deal at an average cap hit of 3.33 million dollars, meaning he is likely looking for something in the 5 million per season range. He is 30 years old, meaning his most productive seasons are behind him, and his past three years have been underwhelming at best.
From 2005-06 to the 2010-11 season, Hemsky scored 331 points in 360 games, an impressive pace especially when you consider how terrible the Edmonton Oilers were throughout that span. However, since the 2011-12 season, Hemsky has just 99 points in 182 games, which is about a 45 point pace over an 82 game season.
Hemsky was dealt to the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline this season, even if Oilers fans will tell you they haven’t seen him show up at Rexall in a few years. He scored an impressive 17 points in just 20 games with his new team. At first, I thought maybe this was a sign of him being better suited to the Eastern Conference than the rough and tumble West.
However, when you look closer at Hemsky’s numbers with the Senators, it reveals a disturbing trend that he has been linked to for years. In his first four games with the Sens, Hemsky exploded for seven points, but then scored ten in his final 16 games on a line with Jason Spezza. Further disproving my “maybe he is good in the East theory” is the fact that Hemsky’s scored nine of his post trade points in seven games against teams from the west.
Hemsky’s offensive game has left him, proven by the fact he hasn’t scored more than 14 goals since 2009. His 43 points this season are the most he scored in five years, and he is now on the wrong side of 30.
When I saw that Hemsky was heading to the open market, I thought he may be a great fit with the Canadiens, but upon looking at his recent numbers, a reasonable expectation for him next season is 12 goals and 40 points. For that minimal production, he is looking for 5 million per season on a multi-year deal?
The Habs are in need of added offensive punch, but they are far from that desperate and should stay far, far away from Ales Hemsky on July 1st.