Does The Ales Hemsky Deal Signal An End To Grabovski In Toronto?
The recent signing of Ales Hemsky by the Edmonton Oilers brings to mind a quote from Forest Gump. “Stupid is as stupid does”, and the Edmonton Oilers look to have made a stupid move by signing Hemsky to a 2-year, $10 million deal.
Hall of Fame forward Mike Modano let his feelings be known via twitter last night when he tweeted “2 yrs/10 million for Hemsky. Scored over 20 goals twice in 9yrs.. WTF..!!?”.
Mr. Modano, I think you said it best and I must concur with your sentiments…”WTF..!!?”
With Monday’s trade deadline fast approaching, there has been a lot of talk about Mikhail Grabovski’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Initial reports indicated that Grabovski was looking for a long term deal that would see him make upwards of $5 million per season, which seemed out of line at the time.
Now, with Hemsky getting a boatload of cash to remain in Edmonton, one wonders if Grabovski might fetch the same type of deal, or dare we say, even more than Hemsky fetched.
Both Hemsky and Grabovski are 28-years old, both are offensively gifted players and both have a measure of upside, but are either of these players really worth $5 million per season?
Through 537 career games Hemsky has amassed 119 goals and 302 assists for a total of 421 points, or an average of 0.78 points per game. Comparatively, Grabovski has 80 goals and 110 assists for a total of 190 points through 300 career NHL games, or an average of 0.63 points per game.
While Hemsky has a slight edge in points per game, he also comes with a reputation of being fragile suffering from a number of knee, groin and most recently shoulder injuries. Grabovski (who is currently in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.9 million this season) has remained relatively healthy throughout his career and is thought to be on the cusp of finally reaching his full potential.
While Hemsky is a talented player when healthy, one must consider the entire package these days. His injury history suggests he is a fragile bird and, while he has two 20-goal seasons to his name, 119 goals in 537 career games is hardly super-star status, at least not in my books.
Hemsky had a career high 23 goals in 2008-09. He has failed to hit the 20-goal mark since that season and has just five goals and 21 points to his name this year….five goals….five goals??? Really???
Grabovski hit a career high with 29 goals last season and is on-pace for about the same this season with 18 through 55 games thus far.
Grabovski averages more goals per game, has just as much upside as Hemsky, has a better health record, and is a plus six compared to Hemsky’s minus -14 in his career. Grabovski also plays a more valuable position (centre) where Hemsky is a winger.
With all this in mind, it would appear as if Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke wants to re-sign Grabovski it will have to be in that $5 million neighborhood, which may be too much when you consider both Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel will be in need of new contracts next summer.
One things for sure, it appears as if it is a good time to be a marginal player in need of a contract, especially if the team that wants you has a hard time signing free agents as Edmonton has over the years.
Is Grabovski worth $5 million per? In light of Hemsky’s new deal one could argue that he might just be worth $6 million plus, but Burke isn’t stupid enough to make that kind of deal.
Stupid is as stupid does; good thing Bukie isn’t stupid, or we’d be reading about a five-year, $30 million Grabovski deal Monday morning.
Until next time,