February 20 2012 08:34AM
Ales Hemsky's days in an Oiler uniform appear to be near the end. The 2001 draft pick has thrilled and frustrated and led the team offensively for a decade, but with the heart of the team 9 or 10 years younger it may be time to move on. Where will he go? There are two strong candidates and a sleeper.
Nashville needs offense and Hemsky can help in that area. The stats say Nashville is slightly above average in GF and PP GF, but the club is famous for having outstanding defensemen, great goaltending and a no name offense up front. Martin Erat is the most famous RW on the roster and the club does have some skill but Hemsky would certainly find a way into the top 6F upon arrival.
The pricetag for Hemsky is probably well short of Ryan Ellis--more likely D Jonathan Blum and a pick. Although I find the thought of dealing Hemsky distasteful, Blum should have an NHL career based on his current resume. The most impressive thing about Blum is that Nashville thought so highly of him. The Preds can find defensive talent at midnight in a snowstorm.
The Kings are incredible. I mean really. If hockey had phrases like 'punch and judy' the Kings would be the example. The NHL GF average this season is 159, and the Kings sit at 124. They are an extreme club, but that's good in one way: the Kings know what they need to do.
Their top wingers are Justin Williams, Dustin Brown and Simon Gagne (injured but coming back) and I'd think Hemsky could help them too. LAK have their line in the water on other fronts too, but young defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov might be in play after being a HS and then demoted earlier this month.
Glen Sather LOVES skill and this is the season (I believe) the Rangers have a chance to make the decade make sense for Slats. Rangers are a brilliant defensive club and have hired enough offense to stay in any game. Even if Hemsky only fills the Cliff Johnson role it might be worth it for the Rangers. Hemsky was outstanding in spring 2006 and despite a poor season in 2012 he could catch fire on Broadway.
I confess to not knowing what might be coming back in return, although Tim Erixon would be nice if only to piss Flames fans off. :-)
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Ales Hemsky's talents belong on the big stage but my guess is he's heading to Nashville. Why? The Kings will do business with Columbus and I believe the Rangers may feel they struck lightning in a bottle with Hagelin. The Preds have made the big splash in the past at the deadline (Forsberg, Fisher) and may give up Blum and a conditional pick based on getting 83 signed.
My guess is Ales Hemsky to Nashville a week from today. Or sooner.