GDB 63.0: HAPPY TRAILS...

Jason Gregor
March 04 2014 04:07PM

Ales+Hemsky+Edmonton+Oilers+v+Phoenix+Coyotes+vZtV6nD2jdIl

Tonight will be Ales Hemsky's final game as an Edmonton Oiler. He will be traded before tomorrow's 1.p.m deadline. Hemsky played his first game as an Oilers on October 10th, 2002 against Philadelphia. He didn't score his first goal until his 26th game, January 4th, 2003 vs. Montreal, but during the past 11 hockey seasons his skill ranged from breathtaking to frustrating to dazzling and gutsy.

Hemsky made the playoffs as a rookie, but I'm sure he never dreamt that he would only play in the playoffs once during the subsequent 10 seasons. I can understand why Hemsky wants a new challenge in a new city, with new teammates and new fans. One post-season appearance in ten years would deflate anyone, and I fully expect Hemsky to play well on his new team.

I've always been a fan of Hemsky, but I also felt he could have been an even better player. The best players in the world work diligently to improve their game, and Hemsky rarely spent extra time in practice working on his shot or one-timer. I will always wonder how productive he could have been had he worked as hard as Ryan Smyth, or superstars like Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk and others.

Hemsky's combination of speed and fearlessness made him extremely exciting to watch. He never shied away from guys like Robyn Regehr, and all that punishment led to some extended stays on the IR. I never understood why people suggested he was soft. Hemsky went to the tough areas all the time, despite his smallish frame. Like most, I would have liked to see him shoot more, but that wasn't his game and it never will be.

I hope he plays well on his new team, and I'm sure he will get a big boost walking into his new team knowing he has a shot at the playoffs. Getting traded to a contender energizes every player.

Tonight could also be Ryan Smyth's final game of the season as an Oiler. I don't say final game ever, because I believe there is a chance the Oilers re-sign him this summer. Like Hemsky, Smyth has been to the Cup finals once in his career, and I know Smyth will sacrifice being away from his wife and four kids during the next few months for a shot at the Cup.

Here are some teams I feel Smyth could help down the stretch.

Smyth and Hemsky had very different styles, but when they played together they had excellent chemistry. I hope they find that on their new teams.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Yakupov
Hemsky-Gagner-Eberle
Hendricks-Gordon-Perron
Gazdic-Smyth-Jones

N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Fraser-Ference

Scrivens

Now that Scrivens has signed, I'd like to see the Oilers start him in 14 of their final 20 games. I see no reason in splitting the net. Ilya Bryzgalov has played well since Scrivens arrived, but Scrivens has a better chance of being a starter in the future, so why not give him more games now and see how he reacts.

Marincin is coming off his worst game of the year. Prior to Saturday's game vs. the Flames, the 2010 2nd round pick had played very well. Many players have off nights, but how they play the next game is what matters. Hopefully he brushes it off and plays like he had prior to Saturday. Eakins told me he plans to play him the same amount of minutes and in the same situations, but he also stated, "If Marty wants to play 20 minutes a night and in key situations he knows he can't make a play like he did on Saturday. He will learn from it," said the coach.

Marincin has been a pleasant surprise and I think he will respond with a solid game.

Due to the Bryzgalov trade the Oilers will dress U of A Golden Bears goalie Kurtis Mucha as the back up. 

QUICK HITS...

  • I spoke with Nick Schultz yesterday and he believes he will be moved. I feel Hemsky and Schultz are locks to be moved, while Smyth is about 75-25. If all three of them are dealt the Oilers will call up some players from OKC.

    Arcobello has 19 points in 9 games, and he'd be the obvious choice to replace Smyth at centre. I also think you will see Anton Lander (44 points in 40 games) and Oscar Klefbom at some point. You might not see all of them right away because the OKC Barons are in a playoff race.

    OKC is currently in 9th place, 3 points out of 8th and 5 out of 7th. The organization desperately wants their young players to get a taste of the postseason, so I doubt we will see a mass recall after the trade deadline.

  • I've said for the past two months that Pittsburgh could use Hemsky. They need a bit more speed in their top-six, and they haven't found a replacement for Pascal Dupuis. The Penguins don't have a 2014 2nd round pick, but I still think a deal can be had. Next year's draft is deeper, so the Oilers might be better off getting a pick from 2015.

  • The Detroit Red Wings are playing six left-shot D-men and some in Edmonton have speculated that Corey Potter could go there because he shoots right and has a connection with Tom Renney. Florida has two right shot D-men in Mike Weaver (just traded to Montreal) and Tom Gilbert. I'm sure they'd look at the Islanders' Matt Carkner before Potter. I'm sorry, but I don't see why a team would add a D-man who isn't a regular on the 29th place team. Potter was put on waivers today, so if the Wings are interested they can pick him up for nothing. I don't see it.

  • Anton Belov is out a few weeks with a torn oblique muscle, and Philip Larsen was put on waivers yesterday leaving the Oilers with six defencemen. When Nick Schultz gets moved we could see Taylor Fedun recalled. He shoots right so they could put him on the 3rd pair and put Ference back with J.Schultz.

    TONIGHT...

    leven-rambin-premiere-the-hunger-games-04

    GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will be hungry (Leven Rambin reference) for a victory after Saturday's brutal effort. The Senators, however, are in a fight for the playoffs and they need the points. Ottawa wins 4-3 in OT.

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nugent-Hopkins picks up two points. He had two goals and as assist in the Oilers 3-1 win over the Senators.

    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky scores his first career goal vs. the Senators leaving Washington and Edmonton as the only teams he has never scored against. 

    RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

    Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
    One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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    #1 Geoff
    March 04 2014, 04:13PM
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    I always loved Hemsky. He was the best back when we had no elite level skill players.

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    #2 27Ginge
    March 04 2014, 04:14PM
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    I've never been a Hemsky fan but that dude deserves to go somewhere less inept. Been a good soldier through a lot of god awful seasons.

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    #3 Dog Train
    March 04 2014, 04:22PM
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    Hemsky has been healthy basically all season. Fingers crossed that he can make it through at least one more freaking game. I'm a Hemsky fan but I'm resigned that it is time for the team and the player to move on. We've failed him for much of his career and he's been a good soldier so it's time for us to move him. I will miss his skill and willingness to go to the tough areas. I won't miss him putting us offside a few times each game though!

    If Smyth is dealt, then I will be cheering for his new team to win it all. He's another guy that we have failed and he deserves one last shot to compete for the cup.

    At least we will likely be active tomorrow. Say what you want about Mactavish, but he does not dither around.

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    #4 Towersofdub
    March 04 2014, 04:24PM
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    Just bring us out of our seats one last time Hemmer, then we'll let you go.

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    #5 VK63
    March 04 2014, 04:25PM
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    Anyone else enjoy the snippets from Nick Schultz brothers (now closed) twitter account from last night?

    I howled!!

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    #6 toprightcorner
    March 04 2014, 04:29PM
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    I would love to see Hemsky play with Crosby and Kunitz, on that line he could end up being the most productive deadline pickup this year.

    Good luck Hemmer, I hope you show the east the talent you possess.

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    #7 tileguy
    March 04 2014, 04:31PM
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    For the conspiracy theories crowd, Hemsky will leave the ice with a fake injury and will become untradeable. That will keep the heat off MacT, and he will make a trade this off season of either Yak or Eberle and resign Hemsky for the 2nd line RW.

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    #8 Alsker
    March 04 2014, 04:33PM
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    Towersofdub wrote:

    Just bring us out of our seats one last time Hemmer, then we'll let you go.

    And please,please don't get injured!!! Not sure if i would play him tonight or not, if he twists a knee or takes a head shot this could turn ugly towards MacT. Been a pleasure watching you over the years and good luck in the future Hemmer!!

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    #9 Bparsonsproject
    March 04 2014, 04:36PM
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    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky scores his first career goal vs. the Senators leaving Washington and Edmonton as the only teams he has never scored against.

    And in his first game against Edmonton he'll make the list smaller by netting a hat-trick!

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    #10 Danger Pay
    March 04 2014, 04:37PM
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    Only two more offsides caused to go.

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    #11 toprightcorner
    March 04 2014, 04:39PM
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    If Hemmer and Smyth are traded, I would prefer to see Lander called up to play 4th line center so MacT can get a good idea if he can produce at the NHL level.

    I would also prefer they call up Pitlick or Horak instead of Arcobello, only in hopes Arco continues his torrid streak and increase his value this summer. 45 pts in 30 games in the AHL will look better than 3 points in the last 20 on the 4th line in the NHL. His small stature just doesn't fill a need on this team and could be a great add on in a package for a dman this summer.

    Only call up guys you need to get a good read on otherwise I would rather the Barons have the best lineup possible to make the playoffs

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    #12 ThatButthurtOilersFan
    March 04 2014, 04:40PM
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    R.I.P Canucks 1970-2014 No hockey fans will miss you, except DSF.

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    #13 A-Mc
    March 04 2014, 04:41PM
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    I could see Smyth going to a team for a 5th, to replace the 5th we sent to ANA for Fasth. Could NSchultz get a 3rd? (Defensemen worth more than forwards).

    Hemsky = 3rd
    Schultz = 3rd
    Smyth = 4 or 5

    I wonder if there is a team that would take both Hemsky AND Schultz for a 2nd and a 5th or something like that. It would be nice to get a 2nd round pick somehow.

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    #14 toprightcorner
    March 04 2014, 04:42PM
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    Danger Pay wrote:

    Only two more offsides caused to go.

    If players would hit the line with speed or not dipsy-doodle at the line it wouldn't force him offside. Offsides are usually the fault of the puck carrier, not the other players

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    #15 Quintana
    March 04 2014, 04:44PM
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    I have a feeling Mact will get a first for Hemmer! He will be missed.

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    #16 toprightcorner
    March 04 2014, 04:46PM
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    A-Mc wrote:

    I could see Smyth going to a team for a 5th, to replace the 5th we sent to ANA for Fasth. Could NSchultz get a 3rd? (Defensemen worth more than forwards).

    Hemsky = 3rd
    Schultz = 3rd
    Smyth = 4 or 5

    I wonder if there is a team that would take both Hemsky AND Schultz for a 2nd and a 5th or something like that. It would be nice to get a 2nd round pick somehow.

    If the Oilers keep half of Hemsky's salary, they could probably get a 2nd, though I would prefer it be a 2015 2nd.

    Also, the 4th we got for Bryz is the Sabers 4th so is the first of that round basically making it a 3rd round pick. Probably only 6 spots after the pick they gave up to get Scrivens!!

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    #17 Bob Cobb
    March 04 2014, 04:49PM
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    Don't worry, Hemsky will score in his first game back against the Oilers, thats how it goes, and we'll wonder why we traded him. I like Hemsky, always have, those dirty hits he took from Regher took a lot out of him. To me he was the non-superstar superstar, all the talent, but lacked finish.

    I hope him the best, he's been a good soldier for the Oilers.

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    #18 NsxZero
    March 04 2014, 04:50PM
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    Maybe Smyth and Hemmer will both go to the same team to win a cup? One can dream...

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    #19 ThatButthurtOilersFan
    March 04 2014, 04:52PM
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    Quintana wrote:

    I have a feeling Mact will get a first for Hemmer! He will be missed.

    Sorry to break it to you, but I seriously doubt it.Our old buddy Dustin Penner got picked up by the Caps for only a 4th rounder. Penner has 8 more points than Hemmer and Hemmer has played 5 more games than Penner. Most MacTavish squeezes out for Hemsky is a late second-rounder.

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    #20 Wax Man Riley
    March 04 2014, 04:54PM
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    VK63 wrote:

    Anyone else enjoy the snippets from Nick Schultz brothers (now closed) twitter account from last night?

    I howled!!

    What did he say?

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    #21 Spydyr
    March 04 2014, 04:57PM
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    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky gets hurt.Sit him tonight.

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    #22 Czar
    March 04 2014, 04:59PM
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    @Wax Man Riley

    Check out Lowetides site, he's got it covered.

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    #23 kale
    March 04 2014, 05:06PM
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    Hemsky was always my favourite Oiler up until we started drafting our 1sts, he will be missed

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    #24 yulep
    March 04 2014, 05:11PM
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    Quintana wrote:

    I have a feeling Mact will get a first for Hemmer! He will be missed.

    I have a feeling you have indigestion....no way he brings back a first rounder...

    Take some Pepto-Bismol, then give your head a real big shake.

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    #25 BobbyCanuck
    March 04 2014, 05:15PM
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    As an aside, atleast no Oilers on this list

    http://www.therichest.com/sports/hockey-sports/top-10-current-worst-contracts-in-the-nhl/

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    #26 srelio
    March 04 2014, 05:16PM
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    I hope smith wins a cup, he deserves it

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    #27 Dave
    March 04 2014, 05:23PM
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    Favorite player when I was younger, sad to see him go but super excited to see what he can do in the playoffs

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    #28 wellsy
    March 04 2014, 05:31PM
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    srelio wrote:

    I hope smith wins a cup, he deserves it

    Stoney Plain Seniors are looking for some help on the PK, send him our way!

    We would only play him 8-9 minutes a game...promise!

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    #29 Al Low
    March 04 2014, 05:34PM
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    Hemsky never really got his due for how well he played for us in the 06 run. He never became elite here but he was excellent, at times. Anybody in his shoes would not be as motivated with the past 8 years being a complete circus in Edmonton. I hope he gets to play on a contender and gets a chance to compete the way he did in 06. He deserves it.

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    #30 sizedoesmatter
    March 04 2014, 05:36PM
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    Hemsky was one of the few reasons to spend over half a grand to go see an Oiler game. I hope he ends up in Pittsburgh so he has a decent shot at the cup will miss him a lot

    edit went online bought ticket for for one last chance to see hemmer live

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    #31 Joy S. Lee
    March 04 2014, 05:41PM
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    Personally, I have loved (mostly) and hated Hemsky during his time here, but I have to say, it is time to move on. I do wish him success wherever he goes, would love to see him win a Cup or at least get close. I just don't think he is best-suited to this team, at this time; he is a potentially fantastic support player, if he is with talented linemates who know the game inside out and aren't learning on the job.

    Agree with one commenter who said he may bring the best value of the deadline. However, he does have warts to his game, and here, there wasn't the support system to recover from it. He needs a deep team to support his freelancing ways, and it sounds like he is going to get it. He hurt us far more than he helped us, over the past year or two, but I certainly will miss his incredible displays of skill. Timing is everything, and I think we are about to get a taste of that truth once more. Take the lumps, and draft a helluva player with the pick. That's really the only way we can deal with it, unless a prospect comes back instead. See ya, Hemmer, its been fun, but mostly not. Offsides and turnovers will be down, but flair will also be down. Hardly a determined and heart and soul guy, it isn't that he is soft per se, but he is soft in his determination, as that seldom seems to change. He wants to win, but not like a Ryan Callahan who wills it. Gregor is absolutely correct to question what might have been, had this guy had Matt Hendricks heart in his chest. Possibly a Jagr-like career, and I am not kidding. The talent level is extraordinary, but he is obviously missing some parts of that. Many have posted as to his dedication to this team, and that is absolutely correct. That is why he deserves so much of our respect, as he was very respectful of Edmonton, during less than successful times. He did alright money-wise. But he also endured a lot of mental and physical pain, and kept coming back. Kudos to Hemmer. I am glad to see him go. But I hate to see him go. Never have I felt so convoluted about an Oiler player. But it is time, and the atmosphere (obviously) has to change.

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    #32 Ivan Drago
    March 04 2014, 05:43PM
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    @toprightcorner

    Hemsky is the puck carrier dipsy doodling at the blue line.

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    #33 Richard
    March 04 2014, 05:55PM
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    Why play him ? and has a deal been made? Edmonton has showed their hand. They will take anything.

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    #34 Tuningout
    March 04 2014, 06:01PM
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    Have a bottle of rum, may actually watch a whole Oiler game tonight. I'm curious to see what will be more saddening. The game tonight. Or watching Hemsky and maybe Smyth go tomorrow. Good luck MacT. Good job so far by my eye.

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    #35 Sammy D
    March 04 2014, 06:05PM
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    (Every hockey prediction I have ever made has come wrong, so I hope I continue the tradition with this one...)

    I have this feeling deep in the pit of my being that says that Hemsky doesn't get traded by the deadline.

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    #36 Joey
    March 04 2014, 06:08PM
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    Richard wrote:

    Why play him ? and has a deal been made? Edmonton has showed their hand. They will take anything.

    It makes no sense that Hemsky is playing tonight if Oilers are trading him for sure.

    I expect Hemsky will not be in the lineup.

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    #37 Danger Pay
    March 04 2014, 06:14PM
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    toprightcorner wrote:

    If players would hit the line with speed or not dipsy-doodle at the line it wouldn't force him offside. Offsides are usually the fault of the puck carrier, not the other players

    You obviously do not watch the Oilers.

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    #38 bwar
    March 04 2014, 06:18PM
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    I think Hemsky brings in a better return than Penner. Anaheim was trying to dump salary for whatever other moves they make before the deadline. I expect them to make a substantial offer for either Vanek or Moulson which hopefully ends up driving up the price for a guy like Hemsky . I think we could get a 1st in return although it is unlikely. If the return is a 3rd I would rather just keep him around for the rest of the season.

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    #39 Tuningout
    March 04 2014, 06:23PM
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    One thing I like and is barely talked about as a plus on MacT. The Bryzgalov signing and trade. If through the Tambo years when the Oilers sucked if he did that with a player or two (P.Thoreson for example). It either would have worked, or given an extra pick for an asset to be used. Really quite brilliant.

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    #40 toprightcorner
    March 04 2014, 06:34PM
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    srelio wrote:

    I hope smith wins a cup, he deserves it

    I assume you mean Smyth?

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    #41 Mason Storm
    March 04 2014, 06:46PM
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    toprightcorner wrote:

    If the Oilers keep half of Hemsky's salary, they could probably get a 2nd, though I would prefer it be a 2015 2nd.

    Also, the 4th we got for Bryz is the Sabers 4th so is the first of that round basically making it a 3rd round pick. Probably only 6 spots after the pick they gave up to get Scrivens!!

    It's not basically a 3rd round pick. It's literally a 4th round pick.

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    #42 nuge2nail
    March 04 2014, 06:55PM
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    Oiler Domination To Follow

    MacT has made a handful of solid trades in his first 6 months.

    1. Horcoff Trade

    2. Perron Trade

    3. Dubnyk Trade

    4. Scrivens Trade

    5. Bryz Signing and Trade

    6. Fasth Trade

    Its a shame most Oiler fans associate him with the uselsss management that has been running the team for the last decade.

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    #43 Harry
    March 04 2014, 07:03PM
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    nuge2nail wrote:

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    MacT has made a handful of solid trades in his first 6 months.

    1. Horcoff Trade

    2. Perron Trade

    3. Dubnyk Trade

    4. Scrivens Trade

    5. Bryz Signing and Trade

    6. Fasth Trade

    Its a shame most Oiler fans associate him with the uselsss management that has been running the team for the last decade.

    Agree except.for the Horcoff trade. Would have been nice to have another vet center and we basically got nothing for him.

    But he sure is doing a hell of a better job than Snow. The islanders are so screwed its sad.

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    #44 Oilers89
    March 04 2014, 07:22PM
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    Mason Storm wrote:

    It's not basically a 3rd round pick. It's literally a 4th round pick.

    I hear that New Jersey has to forfeit their 1st rounder this year. Which means there are 29 first rounders and if Buffalo finishes last their fourth rounder would be the last pick of the 3rd round in any other year. So it is arguably a very late 3rd.

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    #45 Oilcountry30000
    March 04 2014, 07:28PM
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    I hope the whole arena chears the heck out of Hemsky today!!

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    #46 Oiler Al
    March 04 2014, 07:29PM
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    Dont feel to sorry for Hemsky. He collected $38 million of Oiler pay cheques. He was more thaN well paid for what he accomplished here. Time to move on. There once was a bigger star than him traded by the team.

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    #47 Mason Storm
    March 04 2014, 07:33PM
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    Oilers89 wrote:

    I hear that New Jersey has to forfeit their 1st rounder this year. Which means there are 29 first rounders and if Buffalo finishes last their fourth rounder would be the last pick of the 3rd round in any other year. So it is arguably a very late 3rd.

    I love this argument. I'll stick to my guns tho and say that instead of being the 91st overall pick in the 4th round, it'll be the 90th overall pick in the fourth round. I'll concede that this player will be a 3rd round talent tho.

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    #48 RexHolez
    March 04 2014, 07:37PM
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    Jason. I just want to say that you are one of the greatest hockey minds of this generation. Your predictions always seem to be bang on. You're welcome.

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    #49 Johnnydapunk
    March 04 2014, 07:47PM
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    Harry wrote:

    Agree except.for the Horcoff trade. Would have been nice to have another vet center and we basically got nothing for him.

    But he sure is doing a hell of a better job than Snow. The islanders are so screwed its sad.

    Actually the Horcoff trade got rid of 4 million in salary cap hit so it wasn't so bad. Contracts like that are never easy to move and getting Larsen who was relatively low risk and only signed to the end of this season is still a win for MacT.

    Avatar
    #50 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
    March 04 2014, 07:48PM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    11
    cheers

    Thanks for the memories, Hemmer. I'll never forget your last second goal after Stefan whiffed the empty netter. To quote the announcer, DO. YOU. BELIEVE. WHAT. WE. JUST. SAW.

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