It’s not often you will find NHL props during the summer, but Sports Interaction offers one on Montreal Canadiens new addition Ales Hemsky for the 2017-18 season. Let’s examine it.
One of the top free agents on the market this summer in the NHL was former Montreal Canadiens winger Alexander Radulov. The Habs wanted Radulov back after he put up 18 goals and 36 assists last year. However, it was always unlikely that Radulov was going to return to Montreal because the team wasn’t going to be able to afford him. That’s exactly what happened as Radulov signed with the Dallas Stars on a five-year contract worth $6.25 million per season.
The Stars took one of Montreal’s top forwards, so the Habs returned the favor by signing free-agent Ales Hemsky to a low-risk, high-reward one-year deal worth $1 million. The 33-year-old Czech isn’t a star, but he’s a productive right winger when on the ice. Why that latter disclaimer? Hemsky has never played all 82 games in his career. His best year was in 2007-08 with Edmonton when Hemsky had 20 goals and 51 points in 74 games. Hemsky had 39 points (13 G, 26 A) as recently as 2015-16 with Dallas.
Last year, Hemsky suffered a hip injury in the World Cup of Hockey and was forced to undergo hip surgery. He played one NHL game on Oct. 22 with the Stars before going under the knife. Hemsky wouldn’t return to the ice until early March. He finished with four goals, three assists, a negative-1 rating and 30 shots in 15 games.
Hemsky is likely to skate on Montreal’s third line most nights with Tomas Plekanec as his center and Paul Byron on the left wing. At best, the Habs can likely count on around 15 goals from Hemsky and 20 assists. That would be well worth $1 million. Hemsky has produced 1.75 points per 60 minutes over the past four seasons, the same as much higher-paid players such as Artem Anisimov, Jakub Voracek and Sean Monahan.
The Sports Interaction prop isn’t on Hemsky’s production in the 2017-18 season but his total games played. The number is set at 60.5, with the ‘over’ a -130 favorite. I believe it’s always wise to bet on a guy heading into free agency, as Hemsky will again next summer, to stay on the ice because it’s in his best interests to do so. Obviously you can’t predict a major injury like Hemsky suffered in the World Cup of Hockey, but free-agents-to-be tend to play through minor injuries. Hemsky did play 75 games for the Stars in 2015-16 and 76 the year before.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, are +1600 on NHL futures to win the 2018 Stanley Cup.Free NHL Pick: ‘Over’ 60.5Best Line Offered: Sports Interaction