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2008 Final Grade: Milan Hejduk

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2008 Final Grade: B-

2007 Grade: B

Links:

{{hejduk}} (hockey-reference page)

2007 report

2008 ITCS (aka highly unofficial) Hejduk game log

Season Stats: 77gp 29g 25a 54pt +8

Minutes: 1,489.8 total (1st), EV 13:60, PP 3:41, PK 1:41, ATOI 19:21

1st Half: 36gp 15g 15a 30pt -1

2nd Half: 41gp 14g 10a 24pt +9

Playoffs: 10gp 3g 3a 6pt -6

Best Month: December (15gp 7g 7a 14pt -2)

Positions: RW (77)

Lines: 1st (53), 2nd (19), 3rd (4), 4th (1)

Linemates: Hejduk season log

LW: Smyth (33), Brunette (17), Wolski (12), Hlinka (8), Forsberg (6), McLeod (1)

C: Stastny (51), Hlinka (12), Hensick (5), Sakic (5), Arnason (3), Guite (1)

Season: Hejduk's 54 points represented his 3rd worst season in the NHL (he had 48 points in his rookie season and 44 points in 62 games in 2001-2002). The .7 points per game is his lowest season average since his rookie year (.59 points per game).

Report: After seeing a bit of a career resurgence last year (especially in the 2nd half), Hejduk seemed to take a step back again in 2007-08. He dropped from 70 points to 54 points even though his minutes were almost identical (in fact, no Avalanche forward played more minutes this year). Why? Well, not having Stastny around for a healthy chunk of the season didn't help. Of Hejduk's 38 EV points, 32 (16g 16a) came with Stastny. That's a pretty healthy clip - an EV point ever 1.5 games. When Stastny wasn't around, though, Hejduk disappeared - just 6 EV points in 26 games, or a point every 4.3 games. Hey, I like having Stastny around too, but that's just an unacceptable drop. Hejduk, of course, has a terrific wrist shot, is great at finding an opening in the slot, is a good passer and is a very good defender. Unfortunately, he also has the ability to turn invisible (23 games with 1 shot or 0 shots) and he had too many of those nights this year. What stands out for me is that stretch in early February when the Avs were without Sakic, Smyth, Stastny. Instead of kicking it into a higher gear to carry the depleted team, Hejduk disappeared, scoring just 4 points (less than guys like Hensick, Guite and Hlinka). In the first 12 games that month, Hejduk was scoreless in 11 of them (and, oh yeah, the Avalanche lost 8 of them). I don't expect 50 goals, but I wouldn't mind seeing a little bit better consistency. His powerplay production has been dropping drastically - he had 24 PP points in 2006-2007 and just 15 this year. That's just dismal - 4 players (Kovalev, Gonchar, Malkin, Datsyuk) had more PP points this year than Hejduk has in the last 2.

Fast Fact: Hejduk and Sakic had no evens strength points in the 5 games they skated together.

2007-2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $4,000,000 ($3,900,000)

2008-2009 Status: Hejduk is under contract for two more seasons.

Outlook: That Rocket Richard season of 2002-2003 (50goals, 98 points) is looking more and more like a fluke. Take out that season, and Hejduk's season averages are 31g and 35a. 66 points is certainly nothing to sneeze about, of course, but that one huge season really stands out in comparison. 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.