Midseason Grade: B+
Final Grade: B+
Joined Team: Drafted in the 4th round of 1994 Draft
MHH Nicknames: The Duke
- 1st (70)
- 2nd (12)
- RW (79)
- LW (3)
- Smyth (60)
- McLeod (7)
- Tucker (4)
- Wolski (4)
- Arnason (2)
- Stewart (1)
- Willsie (1)
- Stastny (35)
- Wolski (24)
- Galiardi (10)
- Hensick (6)
- Arnason (4)
- Sakic (3)
- Svatos (3)
- TOT 19:55 (1st)
- EV 14:24 (2nd)
- PK 1:40 (3rd)
- PP 3:40 (1st)
*Rank is based on total minutes, not average per game.
Best Month: February (12 points in 13 games)
Career Highlights: Hejduk scored his 300th NHL goal this year in the same game as teammate (and fellow '94 draft alumnus) Ryan Smyth.
Hejduk needs 49 points to pass Peter Forsberg and move into 2nd on the Avalanche all-time scoring list (Foppa also has 50 points with the Nordiques).
He's also just 358 behind Joe Sakic for the all-time lead (again, post-move only). If he was to play for 6 more years at his current scoring pace...
Report: I went around and around with this grade, vacillating between a B and a B+. I've always had trouble evaluating Hejduk, and I think it stems from that 50 goal season. But as I pointed out last night, I'm trying not to grade based on role or potential but based on results. With that in mind, I've bumped Hejduk up from a B to a B+. I'm sure he'll be absolutely thrilled.
I like Hejduk. While his offensive numbers have remained fairly flat (actually they are declining slightly), he's really picked up other parts of his game over the years. For example, his scouting report says that he struggles in the defensive zone and against physical forwards. Neither are true today; he's been one of our best defensive forwards for the last couple of seasons and, while he's never going to get confused with Dustin Brown (um...), he's surprisingly proficient at initiating a little contact. He's also a more consistent scorer (he only went more than 4 games without a point once last year, and check out those splits up above), has good chemistry with a number of Avalanche forwards (Smyth, Stastny and Galiardi) and he's amazingly durable (he's only missed 37 games in 10 seasons). AND, he inspired the Drinking Game segment of these grades. Well, co-inspired (with Ben Guite).
It's all great, right? Pretty much, but I'd still like to see a bit more scoring out of Hejduk. Even with all the turmoil on the team, Hejduk was one of the few guys with stable linemates (60 games with Smyth and Woslki / Stastny). Without any depth, this line played against the other team's best night in and night out, but I still think Hejduk had opportunities to put up more points. No matter what, though, this was a solid season.
Fun Fact: 4 players drafted by the Nordiques in 1994 are still active in the NHL: Hejduk, Wade Belak, Chris Drury and Tim Thomas.
The Milan Hejduk Drinking Game: Drink when Hejduk is offsides on a play Drunk potential: Significant
What I Said Last Year: "Barring injury, I'd expect Hejduk to be in mid-60 range for points next year. Even though I'm disappointed a bit with his performance, $4 million for Hejduk is a great deal."
2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $4M ($3.9M)
2009-2010 Status: Hejduk is entering the final year of a cap-friendly deal. He has a NTC.
Outlook for 2009: Barring something unforseen, Milan Hejduk will be back for his 11th season in a Colorado Avalanche uniform, playing right wing on the first line.
I'm curious to see what happens with Hejduk and the Avalanche next summer when his contract expires, but that, I suppose, is for another show.
Next Up: Ruslan Salei