Trading the Pardubice Prince

In Jim Matheson’s Hockey World column today he raises the idea of trading Ales Hemsky. I’d mentioned it a long time ago (but can’t find it–Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis was the target) but that was as part of a complete rebuild.

Matheson’s idea is reflected in the following item (from the article): If the Oilers could get two front-line players for him, at least one a bigger, stronger body like winger Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and retrieve hard-nosed defenceman Matt Greene, too, would they consider it?

The deal (or one like it) does make sense for the Oilers on a few levels. First of all, the stated goal this summer is to get bigger everywhere, but specifically in the top 6F. A player like Brown makes that happen, and a player like Hemsky may be enough to pry him from Los Angeles (I don’t know that they’d trade him, though. He appears to be one of those captain, Dave Taylor-types) with Greene an added bonus.

Secondly, it immediately makes Sam Gagner the replacement option for the PP. Hemsky and Samwise have duplicate skills in many ways, and specifically quarterbacking the powerplay is an area where they’re eerily similar. This also paves the way for Gagner to take the 1line minutes at center (probably a soft parade 1line ala Selanne’s line in ANA) and makes Horcoff the option for shutdown center (he’d play Keon with secondary linemates to Ullman who got the scoring wingers). Also, trading Hemsky doesn’t mean the Oilers can’t get a similar winger. Nikolai Zherdev in New York has some issues but he’d be a nice fit here should the Oilers feel a need to add skill after losing 83. Injury concerns with Hemsky are also a consideration.

Finally, it’s a chance for Tambellini to put his stamp on this club. He can make a groundbreaking deal that gives fans a brand new day and ownership some good press that’ll be needed when the arena strong-arming gains traction.

I don’t like the idea. Hemsky is entering his prime and trading him now means the Oilers will have suffered through the growing pains without cashing in on the riches. Losing organizations do this sort of thing. Oiler fans would have to count on the management team getting back more than they’re sending away.

Recent events suggest that’s unlikely.

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