HEMSKY AND KHABI LIKELY TO MOVE?

Robin Brownlee
January 26 2012 01:49PM

What are the chances Ales Hemsky and Nikolai Khabibulin are moved by the Edmonton Oilers by the NHL trade deadline? I don't know for sure, but their names came up in a conversation today between two people I trust, so I'm paying attention.

Of course, Hemsky's name has been the subject of untold speculation for months, some might say years, so hearing his name come up today as being moved along is hardly stop-the-presses material. Likewise, fans around here and elsewhere have mentioned Khabibulin, even if much of the talk falls into the category of wishful thinking.

But when long-time Ottawa Sun beat man Bruce Garrioch, one of a handful of people in the hockey writing business I consider to be in the know, mentions Hemsky and Khabibulin, as he did today in a segment on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED, I put considerably more weight in it than I do in garden variety what-if talk offered up by fans and outsiders pretending to have inside info.

Yes, Garrioch throws a lot of stuff against the wall to see what sticks – that's part of his mandate and comes with filling with his widely read weekend column – but I made and took enough calls from him over the years while working the beat to know he's got a pretty good grasp of what's going on.

Just one example of that came at the NHL Entry Draft in Nashville when Garrioch strongly suggested I look into the possibility all was not right between the Oilers and Mike Comrie – that was months before the crap hit the fan between No. 89 and then GM Kevin Lowe, but I digress . . .

MOST LIKELY TO MOVE

Today, Stauffer, who is more in the know than anybody in this town by a long shot when it comes to the Oilers, asked Garrioch who he'd list as most likely to move between now and the deadline Feb. 27.

Garrioch mentioned seven players, including Hemsky and Khabibulin on his list with Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Gleason, Jaroslav Spacek, Bryan Allen – Jason Gregor and I talked this quartet from the Carolina Hurricanes on his show at TEAM 1260 Wednesday – and Bobby Ryan of Anaheim. I'd also add Andy Sutton to that list, but neither Garrioch nor Stauffer brought his name up.

With Hemsky approaching unrestricted free agency, it's a no-brainer he's grist for the rumor mill. I have no doubt Tambellini will shop him. The only question is how aggressively, and who returns his calls.

What got my attention, given his age and what would seem a very limited list of teams in the market, was Garrioch's insistence Khabibulin will be in play, which leads me to believe he's heard something.

With 33 days until the deadline, the buzz, guesswork and speculation will increase once the all-star game is done. For fans, that means throwing out scenarios and wish-lists of acquisitions (often one-sided deals that will help their team). For reporters, it means working the phones and checking with agents to get an inside track on what's likely to happen. The scribes on top of things, like Garrioch, have already made a lot of those calls.

Stay tuned.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 Jonathan Willis
January 26 2012, 10:00PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

You're probably right. Columbus bet on Steve Mason based on one hot month, gambling that his overall numbers meant more than the fact he'd been crap outside of that month. It's a mistake that's been made before and probably will be made again.

Edit to add: And it's fine to imply that I'm parsing the numbers and the overall is all that matters, but Khabibulin was a 0.896 SV% goalie for his first two seasons as an Oilers, a 0.960 goalie for nine games, and he's been a 0.899 SV% goalie ever since. It's a far better idea to expect a performance in the 0.900 range than in the 0.920 range.

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#102 Time Travelling Sean
January 26 2012, 10:24PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Never gave that much thought to the Sabres. Would they at all be interested in adding in the next month. Have seen Tyler Myers name thrown around the last couple weeks.There's a kid the Oilers could sure use on their back end. Chris Pronger jr?

Tyler Myers gets paid 10M next year.

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#103 Devolution
January 26 2012, 10:30PM
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The Beaker wrote:

THEIR. READ IT IN A BOOK!!

I know I am just a snob, but I don't take anything full of spelling mistakes and all in caps seriously, sorry KINGOIL.

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#105 etownman
January 26 2012, 10:48PM
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Jonathan, Grant Fuhr would never have played on your team??

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#106 justincider
January 26 2012, 11:11PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Tyler Myers gets paid 10M next year.

Where did you get that number from? I see him tied up for the next several years at 5.5 M.

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#107 Jonathan Willis
January 26 2012, 11:29PM
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@etownman

It's a different era.

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#108 Jonathan Willis
January 26 2012, 11:31PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Fair enough.

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#109 Mike Krushelnyski
January 26 2012, 11:32PM
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Khabibulin this year has proven that he can be a stud goalie for an indefinite amount of time. Realistically, due to his contract, we need a playoff bound team's goalie to go down on a long term injury for Khabi to be a legitimate bargaining chip. I am in the camp that is incredibly restless with the Oilers' front office and management in general but one thing they have done well is ride Dubnyk lately and keep Khabi reasonably fresh should the outside chance of trading him come along.

With the injury gods clearly dumping a lot of negatives on the Oil lately, we've just got to hope that they see their way to injuring Jimmy Howard or someone to even things up.

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#110 dougtheslug
January 26 2012, 11:47PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

With Carter on the move again it looks like it could be the Bluejackets with two lotto picks this coming summer. Add to that what they'd get for Nash if he wants out as well. What a start to their rebuild that would be. Watch Scott Howson do in one month what is has taken Tambellini 3 yrs to do.

I'd be very surprised if a team in line for a lotto pick trades it. Few teams do that intentionally ( the Leafs thought they were trading at best a 10-15 for Kessel). Why would an intelligent GM risk it?

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#111 Benhur
January 26 2012, 11:54PM
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Sign Hemsky otherwise lose him for next to nothing. Tah if he wanrts a 3 or 4 year contract fine and he's young. If his health holds out he will be a real gem for the team. If his shoulders cave then it may mean an early end to his career. Once Hemsky is signed you then have the luxury of trading him for a better deal when the time is right...if ever. Don't let him go/

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#112 Chris
January 27 2012, 06:25AM
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Benhur wrote:

Sign Hemsky otherwise lose him for next to nothing. Tah if he wanrts a 3 or 4 year contract fine and he's young. If his health holds out he will be a real gem for the team. If his shoulders cave then it may mean an early end to his career. Once Hemsky is signed you then have the luxury of trading him for a better deal when the time is right...if ever. Don't let him go/

Agree 100%

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#113 Souby
January 27 2012, 08:35AM
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justincider wrote:

Where did you get that number from? I see him tied up for the next several years at 5.5 M.

The cap hit for Myers is 5.5 M, but according to capgeek.com, his actual salary for next year pays him 12 M. I'd still trade for him in a heartbeat though.

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#114 Souby
January 27 2012, 09:01AM
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Chris wrote:

Agree 100%

I like Hemsky, but signing him will be easier said than done. Everyone assumes that he will accept whatever table scraps the Oil throw at him. His last contract was a bargain considering his talent and potential output....injuries aside of course.

I don't see Hemsky taking a deal for a cap hit less than 5.5 M/year. Maybe if the Oil give him a NMC, and he will request one, then maybe his cap hit comes down to around 5 M/year. If the cap hit for Patrick Elias is 6 M (.855pts/game career) and Mike Ribeiro is 5 M (.751pts/game career), I feel Hemsky (.787pts/game career) will slot somewhere in between here on his next contract.

Yes he has been injured and yes his numbers aren't great this year; I just think that there will be other GM's that would offer Hemsky more than the Oil are willing to.

Just my two cents....

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#115 geoilersgist
January 27 2012, 09:16AM
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@shanetrain

Thats funny because Calgary doesn't have anything anyone would want and there is no cap room to make a deal unless you were to trade Iginla for picks. Good luck with that

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#116 shanetrain
January 27 2012, 09:28AM
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@geoilersgist

I have absolutely no inside knowledge, but I am confident Uncle Feaster is working the phones harder than LoweBelinni.

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#117 Shawn
January 27 2012, 09:48AM
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@shanetrain

I believe the new GM moniker is he is called Dumbellini

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#118 misfit
January 27 2012, 10:28AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Souby:

Khabibulin's overall numbers are great this season, but that's only because he was lights out for nine games. He has been sub-average ever since.

I agree with all of your opinions on Khabibulin here. A good GM probably doesn't give up assets to aquire him, but he is a Stanley Cup winning goalie who's had periods of amazing play this year.

And if there's one thing that NHL GMs have proven time and time again, it's that reputation goes a long way. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see a team make a trade for him at the deadline without Tambellini having to take back an undesireable contract.

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#119 Romanus
January 27 2012, 10:29AM
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shanetrain wrote:

Calgary will make a blockbuster and Edmonton will once again be found in the corner sitting on their hands.

Painfull.

Why is it important to make a blockbuster? optics? To make you feel like Tambo is trying?

The time for blockbusters is off season. You aren't getting anything big from a contender now.

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#120 Romanus
January 27 2012, 10:40AM
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I love the criticism of management without really knowing what is going on. Or does all of Oilersnation except for me have the the phone tap and webcam address for the oilers office? For all we know Tambo has been working like crazy trying to make trades, and not been able to get anything of value without giving up one of the big 3. or maybe he is just taking naps in his office. We don't know.

How may big trades have happened this year in the NHL? The closest is the Camelieri for Bourque, which was more of a "take my problem child off my hands, and I will take yours" trade. Spacek for Kaberle - same type of deal. Everything else has been prospects for prospects. So criticize every GM for doing nothing.

Its too late to do anything now, all you get is more prospects which means we continue to wait for a competitive team. If he wants to be competitive next season, and want the coveted top d-man, we need to part with one of our treasures or wait patiently for some of the D prospects to develop.

The bickering of management reminds me of the workplace and typical banter from the ranks.

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#121 shanetrain
January 27 2012, 11:06AM
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@Romanus

I didn't mean making a blockbuster is important. I believe teams need to gel and have chemistry. Look no further than Detroit.

I guess my point is Calgary gets things done and our beloved Oil .. well .. just don't.

@Shawn

Ouch!

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#122 Time Travelling Sean
January 27 2012, 08:34PM
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Calgary doesn't get things done, unless trading your first for Olli Jokinen is what you had in mind.

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