FRISCO, Texas—Ales Hemsky is the newest member of the Dallas Stars and the veteran winger from the Czech Republic says there was one simple factor that led the former longtime Edmonton Oiler to sign in Dallas over three or four other teams.
"Because they have great players like Jamie Benn and (Tyler) Seguin and they have more guys than that. They showed it last year, even in the playoffs, they have a great team to compete for a Stanley Cup, so that was a big factor for me," Hemsky said in a Tuesday afternoon conference call with local media.
Hemsky, 30, is a name familiar to Stars fans because prior to March, when he was traded to the Ottawa Senators in a deal prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, he had been a fixture with Edmonton, who drafted him 13th overall back in 2001.
Coming to Dallas not only puts him back in the Western Conference after a brief stay out East, but is also allows him to play alongside former Ottawa linemate Jason Spezza, who was acquired by the Stars in a trade with the Senators on Tuesday morning.
"Yeah, it’s great news for me because I played with Jason and I know him really well," Hemsky said. "He’s a great guy and a great player. It’s a bonus for me to go there, so really happy about that."
It’s unclear on which line Hemsky will play, but the savvy winger who says he can play on either the right or left despite spending most of his NHL career on the right side, isn’t terribly concerned with which line he’ll play on or who he’ll be on that line with.
But the experienced winger does like the fact that the Stars under now second-year head coach Lindy Ruff like to play an up-tempo game, a game he became impressed with while watching Dallas face the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Even last year, they played great hockey, fast hockey. Even on their third line, they scored a lot of goals. So they have great depth. I watched them in the playoffs and they played great hockey. I really like their direction," Hemsky said.
The ex-Oiler admits he considered several other teams in free agency, but there was never any question about which NHL team was at the top of his list for where he wanted to go the most.
"We were talking with four or five teams or something like that, but I talked to Dallas a lot. Dallas was my first option, so I really wanted to get the deal done with them and figure it out. So that was the first option," Hemsky said.