February 03 2012 02:47PM
The trade deadline is 24 days away, and so far Ales Hemsky hasn't heard anything from the Oilers regarding his future with or without the team. How is this possible? Does Steve Tambellini believe that top-six forwards grow on trees, and that it will be easy to replace Hemsky? I hope not, because it is very hard to find proven point producers.
People have been speculating for months about Hemsky. Does he want to be here? Is he happy?
I'm a fan of Hemsky's abilities as a player. I've always liked his fearlessness, his ability to beat defenders one-on-one, and his elite level skill. I've always felt he could be even better, if he spent a bit more time after practice working on things, but in my eyes is a bonafide top-six forward, and for years he was the Oilers best player
You'd think they would at least approach him and gauge where is head is at regarding his future with the team.
Hemsky is a simple guy, and he is comfortable in Edmonton. He likes the city, he has lots of friends here and he's essentially grown into a man in Edmonton. If he really wasn't happy don't you think he would have asked for a trade sometime in the past three years when the team was awful, and had no other legitimate offensive threats?
He never did, and now that the Oilers have three young guns coming up, I'd like to think the Oilers would look at the 28-year-old as a part of the future, rather than ship him off for prospect and unproven potential.
It is ridiculous that the Oilers haven't approached him with anything significant to see if he'd be willing to re-sign. Maybe they will have differing opinions on terms of a new deal, but if the Oilers don't at least approach him and his agent then they have failed big-time in trying to ensure that this team becomes competitive.
Hemsky didnt' come out and say it's a guarantee he would sign here, but he would at least like to hear from management.
Here are some of the things he said earlier on my radio show today.
"The future looks bright now. We have some great young players, but I don't know what will happen. It's not in my hands right now. I haven't really talked to them, and it is up to them to come and talk to me. We have another three weeks, which really isn't a long time to do something," said Hemsky.
Would you want to stay in Edmonton for another three or four year deal, I asked.
"Of course I would like to stay, but it depends on the terms. I can't really talk about it because I haven't seen an offer yet. I like the guys here, I like the city, the fans are great and I have lots of friends here. I've always been happy here so I'd like to stay.'''
How do you feel health wise? Are your shoulders finally better, do you think you can be like Marian Gaborik and stay healthy after a few years of injuries?
"I feel like I'm just coming into my prime. I don't feel like I'm close to retiring, (laughs) I'm only 28 and I have lots of hockey in front of me. It (shoulders) was something I had to fix and there was no other way to do it, and I'm happy I did the surgery. I feel like I'll be a better player now. Of course it was a struggle with the injuries for a few years, and this year has been a bit of a struggle offensively for me, but I'm feeling much better lately. I've had some pretty good years before and I'm confident I'll be back there again."
Hemsky didnt' guarantee he'd stay here, but it was clear he would at least like to see an offer from the Oilers. He also was confident that his best years are still ahead of him.
"Whoever gets me, the Oilers or another team, will be getting the best Hemmer yet."
From my vantage point trading Hemsky will be a step backwards for this team. They could likely get a late first round pick for him, but that player won't be an impact NHLer for at least three years, if ever. Trading away a proven player who is 28 makes no sense to me, but it makes even less sense that the organization hasn't even spoken to him about an extension.
If that doesn't change in the next three weeks, and the Oilers end up trading him, then it is fair to say that the organizaton still lacks proper communication skills.
It is very possible the two sides won't be able to come to an agreement even if they offered him a deal, but to do nothing would be a mistake. It would be a major slap to the face of Hemsky to not even offer him anything reasonable. Maybe he wants four years or more, and maybe the Oilers only want to offer him two, but at least find out exactly what he wants.
If he wants to be here, and you can agree on a reasonable contract why wouldn't you keep him? Do people honestly think his best days are behind him? I sure don't.
I repeat proven top-six forwards are hard to find. I know Hemsky is struggling this season, but many guys have had off years, only to rebound the next.
Are the Oilers willing to dispatch a player who feels that is best is yet to come without as much as a contract offer? I sure hope not.
Mr. Tambellini I strongly recommend that you or someone from the organization pick up the phone and talk to Hemsky's agent. The Oilers have no one in the system who is close to putting up Hemsky-like numbers. I don't see anyone who you can confidently say is able to be a solid 2nd line right-winger behind Jordan Eberle next season.
Before you trade Hemsky at least find out if you can keep him.
You owe it to him and your fans.