The Stars rank third in the league in goals per game, but they’ve been largely dependent on Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and newcomer Jason Spezza offensively. Along with Spezza, Dallas made one other big addition over the summer by signing forward Ales Hemsky to a three-year, $12 million contract, but so far he’s been unable to help the team.
Through nine games, he has just an assist and a team-worst minus-six rating.
“It’s a new city, new surroundings, new coaches. That takes time,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said in Hemsky’s defense, per the team’s website. “You go around the league and look at players that have switched teams. I can probably give you three or four right away, and you’ll say, ‘Man, that guy hasn’t scored yet.’ It’s not easy.”
Hemsky did spend 652 games with the Edmonton Oilers compared to just nine with Dallas, so it’s not unreasonable to believe that he’s still adjusting. Shawn Horcoff, who made the leap to Dallas last season after spending more than a decade with Edmonton, can sympathize with that.
“It took me a long time. He’s in a similar situation. Twelve years on a team for him is a long time,” Horcoff said. “We play a totally different system here than what we were used to there. It’s a different role for him, we are a lot deeper here.”
Of course, Hemsky isn’t making the transition straight from Edmonton to Dallas. In between he had a 20-game detour in Ottawa and excelled on a line with Spezza during that stint. There was some hope that that chemistry would travel with them to Dallas, but instead Spezza has primarily played with Benn and Seguin. That trio has formed one of the best lines in the game, but it’s also made the team top heavy like it was last season, which is something that the additions of Spezza and Hemsky was supposed to cure.
Ruff appreciates the work Hemsky is doing and thinks he should get rewarded and for his part, Hemsky has felt good over his last few games. Perhaps it won’t be long before he breaks out of his slump. That would certainly help take some pressure off Dallas’ first line.