You can predict some of this Oilers season by what’s being discussed in the media, and predict a lot more by what isn’t making news.

No NHL team likes to reveal too much about their personnel and for the most part that makes good sense. Injuries, maturity issues (these are very young men) small dents in the local infrastructure and infighting are far from the news of the day and for good reason. It’s nobody’s damn business, and Oiler fans know that once something becomes public knowledge the implications often go in a bad direction (Jason Arnott, anyone?).

The Oilers organization has doled out the news stories in predictable fashion but so far I haven’t been able to find a published answer about Ales Hemsky’s contract situation. In a perfect world, the conversation might go like this:

  1. Where is the Ales Hemsky contract situation? (answer: no discussion).
  2. Why is there no discussion? (answer: it isn’t a priority).
  3. Why isn’t it a priority? (answer: because the organization wants to make sure he’s healthy).
  4. What is the priority? (answer: the arena. WHERE have you been?).
  5. When he shows he’s healthy, then they’ll sign him? (answer: maybe).
  6. What else could it be? (answer: other teams might want to make sure he’s healthy before trading for him).
  7. Why would the Oilers trade Hemsky? (answer: salary and term, plus all the expensive kids coming along who will need contracts soon).
  8. Are they seriously going to trade him? (answer: maybe).
  9. What would give us an indication they are serious about keeping him? (answer: aside from a press conference announcing the signing, any kind of media report that the two sides–GM and player–are talking about a contract).
  10. Has anyone asked the question? (answer: maybe).
  11. Has anyone talked about Hemsky’s contract in the MSM lately? Jim Matheson discussed it here and there may have been references I’ve not seen. Most of the conversation about Hemsky has focused on his health–understandable, and yet the contract is also a worthy story.


It’s important to examine everything closely. Since the Paul Coffey trade, Edmonton Oiler fans have learned to take any news involving contracts very seriously. Oiler fans closely examine the issues, parsing every word for meaning. Even when there are no words, Oiler fans tend to interpret  the silence.

My interpretation? I don’t think Ales Hemsky is going to be here after the trade deadline. I’d love to hear about initial contract discussions but the crickets are deafening.

  • VMR

    I think we’re running into the problem of too many prospects not enough players. It’s one of the toughest tasks for a GM but we need to find a trade where someone is willing to move the better talent to us for multiple pieces.

    Like a Vishnovsky for Stoll and Green type deal.

    • shanetrain

      Right, or Hemsky and a prospect or lesser player. The key is getting enough quality back to justify trading a player as good as Hemsky, even with injury concerns.

      I think Hemsky would re sign. He’s a career Oiler. It’s still better to pay him market value than make a poor trade or lose him. Sign him and if contracts become a problem move him later.

  • Hemmertime

    Love the player overall but he needs to score more goals for my liking.

    If Hemsky is looking for big money (5.5 – 6.5M) per, long term, what # of goals should you expect out of a guy like this? Is this Hemsky?

    Maybe they made an offer noonone knows about.
    Maybe Hemksy will be the one walking away from very good money if his camp is balking on an offer already given. Assest management from an Oilers standpoint, yes, but the oft-injured Hemsky needs to consider career management. To be a fly on a few walls. Time will tell.

    • positivebrontefan

      Joe Thornton has scored an average of 22 goals the last three seasons.

      I’m not saying Hemsky is Thornton, I’m just saying that there’s more than one way to be effective and control a game.

      • I agree. Too many people are focused solely on goal production by individuals. Guys like Hemsky are providing chances for others to score that wouldn’t exist if the playmakers weren’t there to create the chance. Omark also gets a bad wrap for not scoring enough, but if he creates a great chance for someone else, then who cares if Omark didn’t score if the eventual goal would never have happened without his play making ability??

  • positivebrontefan

    Good point jake. I commented somewhere about Doughty. To my way of thinking, players in the top salary range gain a lot from a longer term contract. Yes, there may be more money available in a few years, but how much more?

    Every player is one bad or unlucky hit away from becoming less valuable as well, so guaranteed money at that level may not be a bad thing. They can always ask for a trade if they want out later, which teams seem to grant – what good choice do they have? Keep an unhappy camper at big dollars to prove a point?

    Geting a rep as a prima donna may not be good career management either.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hemsky’s just one injury away from walking for nothing at seasons end. If he spends some/most of this year on the LTIR, the Oilers will get nothing when he walks July 1st 2012. Tambellini will be left holding the bag on this one. Bringing in his MVP goaltender, the way he handled the Souray fiasco, and now there’s a possibilty the Oilers will lose 83 for nothing. With it being time for an extension for Steve, we’re fortunate there will be no tribal council type decision made at that meeting.


    If i had my say I would be more then kapopy to drive Hemsky to the airport.As what has he done? Nothing Every season they look for someone to play with Hemsky can’t they see it’s not the other players it’s Hemsky. I never liked him and now it’s time to trade hbim if you can find a sucker to take him>As he is so soft it’s not funny. I don’t know why our media all stick up for Hemsky I don’t get it at all?He is hurt or skates all over the ice dip and spins and the looses the puck.Please trade him for anything we can get.Maybe a starting Goalie would help.I don’t believe for a scond habbyboozing and the Devan Dubnyk are 2 starting goalies.I would buy out Nikolai Khabibulin. They need a good starting goalie more then anything else on this team. I hope they can find one to play along with back up Devan Dubnyk.Unless he can prove himself as a starter then we will still need a back out.Either way we need a goalie and see you later Hemsky don’t let the door hit you on your way out the door.

  • Oilers Craig

    Ask Horcoff who likes to play with? I think Hemsky is a big part of the reason Horcoff was signed to such a big contract. When healthy Hemsky is the best and most exciting player on the ice and Horcoff benefitted from playing on his line. Ever notice the way Hemsky wears a black hat in interviews… show your Oiler colors man. This gives me reason to suspect he might want to leave.