Ho-hum, we say. Hemsky put up a grand total of 66 points in 72 games; that isn’t the next step forward, it isn’t the leap from star to elite player that so many Oilers fans were looking for. He’s 25 now, the reasoning goes; time’s running out if he’s ever going to be more than simply a good player.
I decided to run Ales Hemsky’s 25-year old season over at hockey-reference.com and compared it to other players since 2000-01. I was rather surprised by where it placed: the 14th best season by a 25-year old in that span.
Here’s the complete list of players within .1 PPG of Hemsky:
- 9. Martin Havlat: 1.02 PTS/GM
- 10. Marian Hossa: 1.01 PTS/GM
- 11. Jason Pominville: 0.98 PTS/GM
- 12. Alexander Frolov: 0.94 PTS/GM
- 13. Vincent Lecavalier: 0.94 PTS/GM
- 14. Ales Hemsky: 0.92 PTS/GM
- 15. Pavel Datsyuk: 0.91 PTS/GM
- 16. Henrik Sedin: 0.91 PTS/GM
- 17. Jarome Iginla: 0.89 PTS/GM
- 18. Jason Spezza: 0.89 PTS/GM
- 19. Thomas Vanek: 0.88 PTS/GM
- 20. Daniel Sedin: 0.87 PTS/GM
- 21. Mikko Koivu: 0.85 PTS/GM
- 22. Tomas Plekanec: 0.85 PTS/GM
- 23. Derek Roy: 0.85 PTS/GM
- 24. Martin Erat: 0.84 PTS/GM
- 25. Jeff O’Neill: 0.84 PTS/GM
- 26. Ryan Smyth: 0.82 PTS/GM
- 27. Justin Williams: 0.82 PTS/GM
That’s fairly select company, and a number of them plateaued near the point-per-game mark for a time before emerging as elite offensive players. That isn’t to say that Hemsky will follow that path; just that he has more time than most of us probably think to get to that point. It's very easy to forget how young he still is.