Dallas Stars 2014-2015 Season Player Grades: Ales Hemsky

The biggest free-agent signing of Jim Nill's summer didn't quite work out as planned. Come and tell us what you think about that.

Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more games this season (and finished the season with the organization) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.

Regular Season Statistics:








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Key Stat: 22 Games - that was how long it took for Ales Hemsky to score his first goal for the Dallas Stars. As for assists, Hemsky potted one in his first game (on the power play, if memory serves) before going pointless in the next 14 games. Yes, you've signed a three-year deal, but a good start can go a long way toward establishing a good reputation with your new team and its fanbase. Hemsky did the opposite of that. There are horses that bolt right out of the gate and try to get an insurmountable lead, and then there are horses that hang back just enough to stay within range for a late push. Then, apparently, there are horses that sort of jump when the bell first rings before going back to nuzzling the suddenly fascinating soil beneath their hooves before breaking into a somewhat brisk canter as the pack fades into the distance.

The Good: We'll come back to this one.

The Bad: 0.42 Points per Game was the lowest such mark in Hemsky's career, and it is safe to say that this was a big reason for Hemsky's average ice time likewise plummeting to the second-lowest in his career (only his rookie year in 2002-03 was worse).

The Good: I need just one more minute. Could someone else order first?

The Bad: Ales Hemsky was outscored by Trevor Daley this season in both goals and assists. We've already covered Daley's high-scoring season and all that went along with it, but probably if I had told you this would happen back in September, you would not have been super jazzed about that.

The Good: Okay, here we go: he was not a negative possession player, technically...I mean, he was fairly sheltered in zone starts, and yeah, "not negative" isn't the same as "positive," but hey, it's good not to be a liability, right?

The Bad: Hemsky was brought in to provide top-six scoring depth, and he responded with one of the lowest-scoring seasons of his career. However...

The Good: Hemsky was actually tied for 4th on the team in assists by a forward behind the big three, so he did rebound somewhat from his capacious first quarter numbers (as in, there was plenty of room for more numbers to be there) and contribute later on, and that despite battling a hip injury throughout the season. He also proved wrong many naysayers from the Edmonton media who disparaged his two-way play by skating hard to get back on the play and even fill in for a pinching defenseman on more than one occasion. Hemsky backchecks, and he's pretty good at it, actually.

Bottom line: While getting acclimated to a new team, Hemsky was never really given the ice time with Benn and Seguin that the Stars had projected for him back when he was first signed . This meant that Hemsky was put alongside Spezza (when Giggles wasn't being yanked up to the Basket Line with 14/91) as both of them tried to learn a high-octane system with a random assortment of left wingers rotating through their midst. It's reasonable to say that Hemsky was not put in a position to succeed in a number of ways, and that's not even taking the shaky defense and goaltending into account.

For $4 million a year, though, the Stars needed more. You overpay for free agents because you think you know what you're getting—an established player who can bring a predictable range of contribution to a team while the younger, cheaper players learn and benefit from his presence on their line and in the room. You overpay for certainty when you go to the free agent supermarket, and the Stars opened their box of Hemsky cereal and found a surprise inside. It was not a great surprise.

Even assuming some bounceback, Hemsky is likely not going to be more than a 40-50 PPG player over the remaining years of his contract, but this season still managed to disappoint the most measured of expectations. The only question you really have to ask yourself is: how much of that was due to Hemsky himself?

What did you think of Ales Hemsky's season?

A - for Ales, of course! :) :) :)6
B - Backchecking--he did that!33
C - "Circling around the net..."275
D - Dearth of scoring early on231
F - Frankly, it stunk88