More Kids in the Hall

Lowetide
February 21 2011 08:18AM

The Oilers already have their Jacks and Kings on the wing rolling over the next decade. They lack 6's and 7's and could use a complete defenseman and a workhorse 2-way C of the future. If they are to trade Hemsky and Penner, Steve Tambellini should be looking for a very specific return--young NHL players with a wide range of skills. 

  • GOALER: Oilers have Devan Dubnyk and he is enjoying a solid rookie season. They also have Nikolai Khabibulin under contract through the summer of 2013. However, goalie values have never been lower (there's an adequate goalie on almost every street corner) so picking up a goaler--even a highly touted one like the kind they grow in Washington--is probably an inadequate use of assets.
  • DEFENSE: The Oilers should have a couple of capable men from each of the veteran (Whitney, Gilbert) group and the department of youth (Peckham & Petry). Smid is a a dependable player (for the most part) who falls into the middle ground, meaning there are 5 names Tom Renney can look to next season. If they add Adam Larsson he'll get a long look, and the minor leagues/juniors boast some nice talents in Plante and Marincin. Kurtis Foster could also have a rebound season if the Oilers don't ship him off this week or in summer. Could they use a defenseman? Sure, but those young blue (like Bogosian) are so hard to acquire and the mid-level guys (like Teubert) aren't any more certain as prospects than guys like Peckham or Plante. Oilers already have those guys.
  • CENTER: This is an area where the club could really help themselves this week. The current big league roster boasts Horcoff, Cogliano, Gagner, Reddox and Fraser up the middle. A team that comes calling for Hemsky or Penner could be successful if they are able to offer a young C with a nice range of skills. Someone in the entry level contract but already an NHL player. Maybe someone who can win a faceoff and has a mean streak.
  • LEFT WING: Oilers look well set on LW. Hall, Pääjärvi, Jones at the NHL level and talents like Teemu Hartikainen and Curtis Hamilton on the way. Oilers might have to pick up a checker during the summer, but again that's an abundant talent. Edmonton looks good all day on LW. They could use some sandpaper here too.
  • RIGHT WING: If they trade Hemsky, this is immediately an area of concern. Jordan Eberle is gifted but very young and lacks experience; Omark is gifted but has not yet completely earned the confidence of his coach. Brule could help here but I'm not certain the organization can count on him for next season (based on this season's difficulties). You can move Ryan Jones over, but so what? If--as rumored--Wayne Simmonds is coming over from LAK then the depth chart on RW looks better (Eberle, Omark, Simmonds). If they draft that kid Landeskog then the position will be a strength in no time, but it would likely be a season of painful growth in 10-11.

That's the way I see it. If the club deals Hemsky, they need to replace him on the depth chart with an actual NHL right wing. Futher areas of need include a complete defenseman (or someone who will grow into that role); a quality 2-way C (or someone growing into that role now) and grit throughout the batting order.

Wide range of skills. Two-way players. They don't grow on trees, but then again neither does talent like Ales Hemsky.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#101 Mike Modano's Dog
February 21 2011, 05:38PM
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Forget about a 2nd or 3rd line RW. We can get a depth right winger in free agency in the off-season if needed.

What we need is a 1st line center!

We don't need 3 separate pieces of crap instead.

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#102 jaicee
February 21 2011, 05:39PM
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Clint wrote:

Good teams...Champions don't trade for futures. They draft and keep them. And then they steal your teams good players. Players like hemsky and penner History shows you keep your best players and trade for better ones. Trading for futures is a fools game

It just so happens that speculating on "futures (and forwards)" appears to be as risky in finance as it is in the NHL.

However, even the richest of men appear to be never satisfied with the status quo and they continue to make these risky investments in search of a reward that out weighs the cost.

The one thing that "self made millionaire" handbook on investing seems to leave out is that for every Warren Buffet there are millions of investors who lose big time.

I just hope we think about hedging our futures with appropriate NHL ready role players rather than continuing to rely on the NHL draft.

Maybe that means we hold on to Penner and/or Hemsky.

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#103 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 21 2011, 05:40PM
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9 Inches Uncut wrote:

YEah dude. Teuberts future is dim. Like you.

I'm actually against trading for futures as a general rule of thumb (stated so much in my first post in this blog).

However I'm realistic enough to know that trades for futures happen, all accross the league, and that when you've lost leverage you are more then likely going to get futures back.

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#104 Deeg
February 21 2011, 06:23PM
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Do folks think Pitlick bubbles up on right wing (that's where he's playing in the Hat, right?) or center? Sounds like he might even be a bit closer than Hamilton to cracking the club with his performance last Fall. Those 2 sound like a great makings of a 3rd line down the ways -perhaps even with Lander in the middle?

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#105 John Chambers
February 21 2011, 06:30PM
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The Oilers are probably lucky that this flurry of trades has occured over the past few days. Most of the available quality talent has been moved, and our top talent remains up for grabs.

LA and Washington almost surely need to do something, while CHI, SJ, MTL, NYR, and others may add to their teams over the next week.

I think ON readers have hit the nail squarely: this is ST's opportunity. If he can pull of a deal that looks like Penner for John Carlson, or Alzner and Neuvirth, or Hemsky to LA for Schenn and a 1st - that deal becomes a major milestone of the re-build.

If ST is a bonehead and makes the move for the sake of making a move, and we end up with Thomas Hickey, I'll say that he's failed miserably.

We are in the driver's seat now. I hope the Oil keep one of 27 or 83, and deal the one least likely to re-sign for a top-flight prospect.

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#106 Dennis
February 21 2011, 06:54PM
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Zarf wrote:

First of all, you’ve asked for a few “really good” things Tambo has done since he was hired. OK... He drafted Taylor over Tyler. He signed Quinn ... which was obviously a mistake but then he made up for it by switching to Renney after one year with Quinn (I realize I’m spinning that, but don’t under-estimate the courage of that decision – that was a rather abrupt change of horses). Uh ... what else? He found Ryan Jones on waivers. He cut loose a bunch of dead weight last year, including Staois. He took a principled stand on Sheldon Souray (I’m spinning again, but that’s still a ballsy stance he’s taken and he hasn’t waivered on it). He’s made a commitment to playing the kids, come hell or high water. He’s recognized the value of a strong AHL club and he’s building something there.

The mistakes – signing Khabby, originally picking Quinn as coach, signing Fraser, failing to find (or even search for) a faceoff guy – are regrettable but certainly not firing offences.

Interesting that you would assume that “Lowe has so much power in YOUR city.” I don’t live in Edmonton. I live in Grande Prairie. And I only make that distinction because it’s a central tenet of all this speculation on what Kevin Lowe does and doesn’t do in the organization. The thing is, none of us really has a friggin’ clue how it works in the background because NONE OF US WORK IN THE OILERS FRONT OFFICE.

However, let’s take it as granted that Kevin Lowe is in on hockey decisions. Is his title not “President of Hockey Operations?” Player transactions, scouting, contracts, coaching decision – all of those would seem to fall under “hockey operations,” no?

Surely you can’t think that Kevin Lowe is in charge of ordering sock-tape and overseeing the minor-league system. Of course he’s going to be in on decisions. I have no idea – like I say, I’m up in the sticks – but if I was working in that office, I’d assume that he’d be in on moves. I’d expect it.

The days of Glen Sather holding three or four different titles (coach, GM, president of hockey operations and majordomo), are long-gone. Teams are absolutely run by committee nowadays – perhaps not all of them, but many of them. And I don’t think Edmonton’s is run any worse than the others that are.

if I'm wrong then I'm mistaken but I'm pretty sure I said what good has Katz done in reference to your believe that he wouldn't support a dedundancy or that he's made a lot of good decisions since he's taken over.

and also I just assume everyone's from edm or alberta and it's a default setting.

I'm from NF so I guess I should know better.

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#107 Dennis
February 21 2011, 06:55PM
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Deeg wrote:

Do folks think Pitlick bubbles up on right wing (that's where he's playing in the Hat, right?) or center? Sounds like he might even be a bit closer than Hamilton to cracking the club with his performance last Fall. Those 2 sound like a great makings of a 3rd line down the ways -perhaps even with Lander in the middle?

I have been wondering about this but if Pitlick is playing wing than I have to ask why.

You can always convert him to the wing when he gets to the bigs but right now he should be at pivot.

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#108 Dennis
February 21 2011, 06:57PM
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John Chambers wrote:

The Oilers are probably lucky that this flurry of trades has occured over the past few days. Most of the available quality talent has been moved, and our top talent remains up for grabs.

LA and Washington almost surely need to do something, while CHI, SJ, MTL, NYR, and others may add to their teams over the next week.

I think ON readers have hit the nail squarely: this is ST's opportunity. If he can pull of a deal that looks like Penner for John Carlson, or Alzner and Neuvirth, or Hemsky to LA for Schenn and a 1st - that deal becomes a major milestone of the re-build.

If ST is a bonehead and makes the move for the sake of making a move, and we end up with Thomas Hickey, I'll say that he's failed miserably.

We are in the driver's seat now. I hope the Oil keep one of 27 or 83, and deal the one least likely to re-sign for a top-flight prospect.

The Oil probably do have to move one of them in order to address a need and the truth is that if either or both of them don't want to stay here than that makes Lowe's job even harder.

But it's one thing to move them and it's another thing to see the most connected guy in the city laying out what you'll probably get in return.

Matheson's plugged in so you listen when he speaks and as soon as you hear about deals where the other team won't give up their best prospect?

well that sounds like the stuff Lowe always falls for.

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#109 Deeg
February 21 2011, 07:07PM
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@Dennis

I imagine that's the junior club's call... perhaps with a logjam at center and/or it being his 1st season in the dub? But it would be nice for him to develop as a right handed center.

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#110 madjam
February 21 2011, 07:09PM
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Making next years squad with all our present AHL'ers and especially our recently acquired rookies this last season and even this year seems rather unlikely any will make the grade up beyond Plante or/and Chorney . Newbies will have to be better than Omark to make the transition to forward . Gagner , Cogs and Brule the forward( newbies) will have to be better than just to make the squad ! I doubt RNH , Landeskog or Couture if drafted would be part of next years squad to be honest- more like a couple of years down the road . Same goes for all this years draftees beyond Hall of course ! Will Landers , Hamilton , Pitlick advance far enough in next year to uproot any present forwards out of a job ? I very much rather doubt it .

Defensively Larsson and /or Musil might stand a chance of transitioning early because our defence is not great to begin with .

Oilers probably hoping ON comes up with some trades that they might seek out and call their own at this stage where actually we might win a trade ! So keep the trade talks coming, keeping in mind we have to win them clearly !

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#111 Archaeologuy
February 21 2011, 07:36PM
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I wonder if Pittsburgh tried to offer Goligoski for Hemsky to Tambo before he went to Dallas.

I'm with the others who think the Stars got fleeced.

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#112 Dave
February 21 2011, 07:56PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I wonder if Pittsburgh tried to offer Goligoski for Hemsky to Tambo before he went to Dallas.

I'm with the others who think the Stars got fleeced.

Couldn't agree more and I would argue that the Blues did the same thing to the Avs. James Neal and Chris Stewart are untouchables IMO and I'm stunned they both moved.

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#113 John Chambers
February 21 2011, 07:56PM
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@Archaeologuy

I would be happy if that deal was offered to ST and he turned it down. Goligoski would've been a poor return ... not awful, but not nearly enough for Hemsky.

With WAS and LA still not having made a move, I wonder if final details of a Hemsky or Penner deal are being worked out.

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#114 TonyT
February 21 2011, 07:57PM
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Clint wrote:

Good teams...Champions don't trade for futures. They draft and keep them. And then they steal your teams good players. Players like hemsky and penner History shows you keep your best players and trade for better ones. Trading for futures is a fools game

"Good teams" are generally buyers this time of year, last time I checked the standings the Oilers were neither, but I digress.

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#115 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 21 2011, 08:02PM
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Dennis wrote:

The Oil probably do have to move one of them in order to address a need and the truth is that if either or both of them don't want to stay here than that makes Lowe's job even harder.

But it's one thing to move them and it's another thing to see the most connected guy in the city laying out what you'll probably get in return.

Matheson's plugged in so you listen when he speaks and as soon as you hear about deals where the other team won't give up their best prospect?

well that sounds like the stuff Lowe always falls for.

I really can't believe people are still bringing up trades from 4 years ago.

Do people honestly think those were "hockey trades" when a teams hand is forced, they recieve 50 cents on the dollar, that's the way it works.

I'd also like to point out that one of the pieces from that trade looks like it has deliverd us a quasi all-star for the next 10+ years, so I really don't know what people are complaining about.

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#116 Team Hall
February 21 2011, 08:14PM
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I hope ST is ready for a lynchmob in this town if he trades our best player. He wasn't here when KLowe traded Smytty. He'll be run out of town. Fans in this town are very sensitive to their best player being traded away for prospects, its happened too many times. It rarely turns out well. A warning Steve. An open letter to you. Do Not Trade Hemsky, or its your funeral as GM.

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#117 Archaeologuy
February 21 2011, 08:31PM
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@Team Hall

When this team switches modes from basement seller to playoff/cup contender do you think ST will still be here anyway?

I dont.

The guys in Pittsburgh and Chicago are prime examples of GMs who ran out of rope after puting together the teams that eventually won cups. Whatever I think of the guy, he's better off trading Hemsky than watching him walk away for nothing next summer.

The fact is Tambellini might HAVE to trade Hemsky, whether it's this year or next. His choices might be fewer but better prospects this year or more but lesser prospects next year.

If he has been given any indication that AH isnt thrilled about signing long term as an Oiler then he better be fielding calls for Hemmer.*

*And this is from a huge Hemsky fan and supporter

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#118 Hemmertime
February 21 2011, 08:38PM
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God I hate this deadline. Normally I like deadline day, but this one's torture. Checking ON and TSN every once in awhile with dread

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#119 OilFan
February 21 2011, 08:47PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

God I hate this deadline. Normally I like deadline day, but this one's torture. Checking ON and TSN every once in awhile with dread

I'm with you on this one. Trading Hemsky is a lose lose situation!!!!!

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#120 stevezie
February 21 2011, 09:11PM
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Hat trick of people who feel that way.

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#121 Zarf
February 21 2011, 09:32PM
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I have to admit, I still haven't figured out what is the right move, vis-a-vis Hemsky and Penner.

I think they could both be keepers because there are compelling cases to retain both of them.

Hemsky's the skilled one. Penner's the big guy with hands. Both would be considered cornerstones on a lot of other NHL teams ... and given that all of the other NHL teams are ahead of the Oilers in the standings, then the Oilers should be keeping them.

But here comes the "but..."

Curtis Joseph. Doug Weight. Todd Marchant. Bill Guerin.

All either bolted via free agency or had to be traded because the Oilers know there was no friggin' way they were staying once July 1 rolled around.

The Oilers have a perfect record on unrestricted free agents either leaving outright or making it clear that they were gonzo the first chance they had. We've all got to remember that: When the time comes for them to leave, they'll go.

I suppose there's a chance that the string could be unbroken, but who wants to chance it?

Do we want to have our hearts broken yet again?

That's really what it's going to come down to: Do we have the stomach to go through free agent angst again?

I just don't know what the answer is.

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#122 Romanus
February 21 2011, 10:27PM
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All these guys thinking we should trade Hemsky are nuts. We finally have a point a game player, of which there are approximately 15 in the league, and everyone wants to ship him out for a prospect we hope will be someday. Hes entering the prime of playing years, now is the time to sign him.

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#123 Archaeologuy
February 21 2011, 10:34PM
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@Romanus

For the record, my 1st option is sign Hemsky long term on July 1st at a fair rate of pay. Moving him is only predicated on Hemsky not wanting to sign.

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#124 Kodiak
February 21 2011, 11:28PM
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Romanus wrote:

All these guys thinking we should trade Hemsky are nuts. We finally have a point a game player, of which there are approximately 15 in the league, and everyone wants to ship him out for a prospect we hope will be someday. Hes entering the prime of playing years, now is the time to sign him.

As pointed out by RCN we can't sign him now as per the CBA, he's not a point a game player, he's averaged 54 points/year since 2006, and he's only signed through next season and can walk away. We can't stop him from walking away. Would he be great to have for 5 more years? Sure, but wishing and wanting it isn't going to make it so.

If he's in play, which the main sources say he is, I'm thinking Tamby has an idea he may not resign. If that is the case, he should be gone. His value is way higher now having a year left than it will be this time next year. Moving him now would also give whoever we pick up (Simmonds, Clifford, Loktionov) an extra year to gel and grow with this team. I don't see any advantage to waiting if there is an inkling Hemmer is undecided about resigning.

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#125 Archaeologuy
February 21 2011, 11:35PM
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@Kodiak

He's pretty damn close to a point per game since 2005-2006:

77P/81G, 53P/64G, 71P/74G, 66P/72G, 22P/22G, 40P/42G

Not exactly a PPG, but about as close to it as you can come.

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#126 smiliegirl15
February 22 2011, 08:27AM
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LT do you know something we don't? Why isn't Penner on your list of LW? Is there a trade coming for Penner?

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#127 Kodiak
February 22 2011, 08:46AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

He's pretty damn close to a point per game since 2005-2006:

77P/81G, 53P/64G, 71P/74G, 66P/72G, 22P/22G, 40P/42G

Not exactly a PPG, but about as close to it as you can come.

True, he's close. He's also only averaged 54 points/season since 2006. In that time an average of 90 players every year have put up 54 points/season. Averaging 90th in scoring the last 4+ years doesn't scream difference maker.

His skill is undeniable but his durability/availability diminishes his impact and value.

I'm going to look it up today, but I'm betting Horcoff in/out of the lineup had a lot bigger impact on our winning % than Hemsky being in/out of the lineup, and if that's the case is Hemsky really a difference maker?

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#128 Peterborough
February 22 2011, 09:01AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

He's pretty damn close to a point per game since 2005-2006:

77P/81G, 53P/64G, 71P/74G, 66P/72G, 22P/22G, 40P/42G

Not exactly a PPG, but about as close to it as you can come.

hard to argue those numbers and he's a plus player on the worst team in the league one of only four on the whole team.

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#129 positivebrontefan
February 22 2011, 09:20AM
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Just my two cents but if we put a all round playmaking/goalscoring big body center between Hall and Hemsky, we have a world class line. Watching Hemmer feed Hall on Saturday I don't think we see him go anywhere, and I don't think he'll want to go anywhere.

I like Penners 30 goals a year but dammit dude, show some tenacity!!!!

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#130 GCW
February 22 2011, 09:32AM
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Me thinks you underestimate Omark. He has chemistry with Paajarvi and that's worth a lot, I think, in bring Paajarvi along.

And even if you keep Hemsky, a RW depth chart of Eberle, Hemsky, and Omark is too small and too weak defensively, so you are going to have to do something.

I could live with a depth chart of Eberle, Omark, and some solid 3rd line RW like Simmonds, or Chris Clark, Scottie Upshall, Arron Asham, or equivilent.

I am also happier if my 3rd line LW and or C is one or two of the following FAs this summer: Brooks Laich, Curtis Glencross, Brian Sutherby, Eric Belanger, Jeff Halpern, or Michael Rupp.

You gotta give to get, and the Oilers have some pretty big "gets" they need to make happen.

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#131 Zamboni Driver
February 22 2011, 09:53AM
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Okay...

I must have freezie brain...

Did someone just say "Cornerstone" and "Dustin Penner" in the same sentence?!

Good

Blessed

Lord.

The LAST thing two-tonnes-of-fun either WANTS to be, or is CAPABLE of being is anyone's cornerstone.

(See: Oilers, Edmonton, LAST FRICKIN' PLACE)

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#132 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 22 2011, 10:09AM
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Steve, we're hoping you to step up to the plate and knock this one outta here for us this week, can't afford to have you bunting on this one.

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#133 positivebrontefan
February 22 2011, 10:47AM
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Hey LT,

What's the deal with Matt Puempel? He was one of the standout rookies in the CHL, in fact was CHL rookie of the year ahead of RNH and curently has 69 points in 55 Games. Yet he is ranked at only 29th on the NHL scouting rankings? What's the story on this kid? Could he be a good pickup late in the first round? Not sure why his stock has dropped off so badly? That being said RNH has 86 points in 59 games and is a little taller although not as solid as he is a good 15 pounds lighter.

Never mind, I just looked on the Petes website and he is a Minus -33 on the season. Albeit on a team with a bad record.

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#134 Kodiak
February 22 2011, 11:53AM
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Are we really going to miss Hemsky that much? Is he really that much of a difference maker?

With Hemsky in the lineup we are 12W 25L 5otl for a 0.345%. W/O Hemsky in the lineup we are 7W 7L 3otl for a 0.500%.

With Horcoff in the lineup we are 15W 16L 4ot for a 0.486%. W/O Horcoff in the lineup we are 4W 16L 4otl for a 0.231%.

For most of the season anyway, Hemsky hasn't been carrying the team or Horcoff, it has been the other way around. Of course Hemsky has sick skill and is a solid player, but his presence in the lineup hasn't equated to team success consistently.

Hemsky has been on a tear the last 4 or 5 games and I don't think it has been a coincidence his stellar play has coincided with trade rumours flying and scouts in the building either. Showcasing himself to get moved to a contender me thinks.

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#135 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
February 22 2011, 12:06PM
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Hey LT,

Question about the Neal/Goligoski trade:

Since this seems to baffle most, I was wondering what your take is. Is Goligoski THAT underrated? Neal THAT overrated? Or is it just a weirdly-timed salary dump?

Dallas could not have packed it in already. This is a head scratcher.

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#136 Coco Crsip
February 22 2011, 12:29PM
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What happens if Oil get Schenn in a deal with LAK? Who do we draft? i would say couturier still...

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#137 Archaeologuy
February 22 2011, 12:38PM
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@Coco Crsip

I would be happy with that scenario. All of a sudden the Oilers' future at C wouldnt look so grim.

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#138 Drago
February 22 2011, 12:45PM
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What has become abundantly clear is that Steve Tambellini HAS NO intentions of actually trading Ales Hemsky.

Hemsky is playing motivated and his best hockey in a while and being the best offensive player remaining on the market there is considerable interest in him.

It has been reported that Tambellini is asking for the world from other GM's to trade them Hemsky. This is a smart ploy, if a team is willing to pay this steep asking price then of course Tambellini would pull the trigger but its highly unlikely a team would give up that much with cap restrictions and Hemsky's injury history.

A scenario I can see is that Tambellini has made Hemsky seem so expensive that the person he is really trying to move, Dustin Penner, would be seen as a cheaper acquisition by comparison but would still net a favourable return for the Oilers.

Just my two cents.

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#139 positivebrontefan
February 22 2011, 12:53PM
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Drago wrote:

What has become abundantly clear is that Steve Tambellini HAS NO intentions of actually trading Ales Hemsky.

Hemsky is playing motivated and his best hockey in a while and being the best offensive player remaining on the market there is considerable interest in him.

It has been reported that Tambellini is asking for the world from other GM's to trade them Hemsky. This is a smart ploy, if a team is willing to pay this steep asking price then of course Tambellini would pull the trigger but its highly unlikely a team would give up that much with cap restrictions and Hemsky's injury history.

A scenario I can see is that Tambellini has made Hemsky seem so expensive that the person he is really trying to move, Dustin Penner, would be seen as a cheaper acquisition by comparison but would still net a favourable return for the Oilers.

Just my two cents.

I like how you think.

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#140 positivebrontefan
February 22 2011, 01:36PM
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How about Gagner and Smid for Stastny. Like Gagner he had a great rookie season but tailed off since. Maybe a change of scenery for both would be what's needed?

I'm a dreamer...I know.

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#141 FastOil
February 23 2011, 10:47PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Are we really going to miss Hemsky that much? Is he really that much of a difference maker?

With Hemsky in the lineup we are 12W 25L 5otl for a 0.345%. W/O Hemsky in the lineup we are 7W 7L 3otl for a 0.500%.

With Horcoff in the lineup we are 15W 16L 4ot for a 0.486%. W/O Horcoff in the lineup we are 4W 16L 4otl for a 0.231%.

For most of the season anyway, Hemsky hasn't been carrying the team or Horcoff, it has been the other way around. Of course Hemsky has sick skill and is a solid player, but his presence in the lineup hasn't equated to team success consistently.

Hemsky has been on a tear the last 4 or 5 games and I don't think it has been a coincidence his stellar play has coincided with trade rumours flying and scouts in the building either. Showcasing himself to get moved to a contender me thinks.

Your well taken point shows that a proper centre (which Horcoff is) has far more value than a skilled winger usually. Gagner has miles to go, Cogliano is rounding out faster (despite not having the pampering of Gagner) but will likely never be better than a serviceable #2 or good #3.

Addressing the #1 C thing is the biggest priority if this team is ever going to capitalize on the talent that has arrived, more so than a #1 D. We have enough talent aboard back end and in the system to see the D stabilize over the next few years without an acquisition.

We can win with a balanced if unspectacular D as Vancouver does. We will not win with what we have at centre, so if moving Penner or Hemsky brings that, even with the #1 pick and both wanting to stay, it has to be done.

Even if we draft a centre none of the top 3 this year (or anyone coming up) are sure fire elite so ST should be ready to pull the trigger if the chance arises. Trading for a top D would be a quicker route than drafting at that position and can come after - we'll have offensive D and forwards to trade - the chips are there.

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