February 11 2014 06:21PM
If the Edmonton Oilers do in fact plan to move veteran right wing Ales Hemsky at this year’s NHL trade deadline, the Phoenix Coyotes may well be a good fit as the team on the other end of that transaction.
Why it Works for Phoenix
According to the Arizona Republic Coyotes general manager Don Maloney hopes to improve his team’s scoring but faces a marketplace that offers little in the way of affordable options. Most of the problems come at even-strength. Phoenix presently ranks tied with Chicago for sixth in the NHL in goals scored five-on-four but tied (with Florida and Detroit) for just 15th in five-on-five offence.
Hemsky might be able to help with that. More to the point, he’s exactly the kind of player the Coyotes have traditionally added to their team. Phoenix has built a reasonably competitive team on the cheap thanks to good drafting and development, smart free agent contracts and trades for underappreciated players. Hemsky fits the latter bill right now, and may qualify under the second this summer.
Hemsky is also a reasonably responsible defensive forward, and has been used of late on a designated defensive line. That’s the kind of thing that makes him a natural for a Dave Tippett-coached team.
Why It Works For Edmonton
It seems a nearly foregone conclusion that Hemsky’s time in Edmonton is nearly over. It’s seemed that way before, but now with both Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov playing ahead of the veteran Czech on the right wing a move makes more sense today than it ever has in the past.
Phoenix has a lot of assets that might be of interest to the Oilers, too. Looking just at prospects, the Coyotes system is well-stocked. It’s been widely speculated for years that the Oilers would love to add gritty centre Henrik Samuelsson to their organization and would have taken him over Mitch Moroz in 2012. Big prospects like Lucas Lessio, Chris Brown and especially right-shooting rearguard Connor Murphy (one of three excellent defence prospects in the system) are also likely to appeal to the Oilers.
There is a lot here for Edmonton to be enticed by, if the Coyotes are looking to add a little more scoring as they push for a playoff spot.
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