Darren Dreger’s lastest column suggests “the Oilers are looking for a roster player for Ales Hemsky, which is too steep for many given his struggles.” I imagine “roster player” means someone under contract moving forward and who will be useful as part of the rebuild. The Oilers are going to need a forward to replace Hemsky next season (there’s no obvious candidate for offensive results against good competition) but it’s understandable that a team adding for a playoff run isn’t likely to offload something useful for a rental.
It’s interesting to see the men who have come to the aid of 83 over the last while: Horcoff, Hall and Gilbert (although there may be others I’m not aware of). Hemsky’s possible replacements (basically adding a fourth to Hall, Eberle and Smyth) includes Gagner (who is more comfortable at center) and a large group of question marks. Ryan Jones, Ben Eager, Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen are all miles from being able to deliver at Hemsky’s level, and in fact none of them ever will.
It’s a huge deal–I’ve received a few emails this week suggesting massive overreaction on my part to the Hemsky situation–because of the enormous hole it puts the 12-13 team in. If the Oilers trade Hemsky for just assets–a 1st rd pick and a prospect, for instance–they’ll have assets but lose one of their best offensive players. An offensive player who can make a difference against tougher competition.
We’re beginning to hear rumblings that Hemsky has softened his stance and will accept a shorter term (2-3 year) deal from the Oilers. That combined with the knowledge that Hemsky’s unusual season (he is not at the top of his game, although trending toward the median) has caused interest and offers to recede, should tell Mr. Tambellini all he needs to know about this situation.
Protect your asset. Sign the man.