This is Ales Hemsky. Despite clear and obvious skills, he is another player that leaves the fanbase divided. Some see him as an electric offensive talent, others see him as a turnover machine whose plodding decision making impacts every powerplay.

Oilers Nation has done this forever, by the way. I well remember Paul Coffey hearing the boobirds at Northlands in a game he was dominating against Chicago and Murray Bannerman. Slats had just gone public about money and contract, with the smooth skating offensive defenseman becoming public enemy number one on a team so talented observers were spoiled at puck drop.

People used to call Hemsky "no balls" (actually it was Kyle Woodlief from Redline report) but that bias is long gone and any fool can see #83 is fearless to the point of routinely putting himself in real danger. His list of injuries reflect that tendency to take on challenges that a lesser man would avoid at all costs.

The Oilers powerplay is addled, it’s been that way since Hemsky arrived (with some exceptions). I tend to blame the coaching staff but do understand that we as fans point the finger at the most talented offensive players. I sometimes think that PP failure–along with the turnovers at the opposition blue–are the real reasons so many people are anti-Hemsky.

Hemsky’s 5×5 numbers (equal strength) have always been a strength:

  • 06-07 5×5 per 60m: 2.09
  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.36
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 2.08
  • 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 2.85

  • 10-11 5×5 per 60m: 3.08

That number–the 10-11 number, ranks him 5th in the entire league. The chart is here. My thanks to Oiler Mag for pointing it out.

If Steve Tambellini does trade Hemsky, he needs to get exceptional value in return.

  • O.C.

    Wisniewski injury is bad. Check the photos online, including his zuckerburg page, so…

    The number of key injuries to defense to challengers like canuckleheads or Habs is creating hyper demand for D, so…

    The price of any d man is going to be far exaggerated over the next three days, so…

    If the oil are looking for a stud D man, it will cost plenty…NOW, but the same player will be much cheaper after the season.

    Stuart in Boston is available for a pick or low contract… They need to make room for Kaberle.

  • EasyOil

    I think it would be a huge mistake to trade Hemsky or Penner, BUT if the return was outstanding (as with any trade) I would probably pull the trigger. My issue with trading Hemsky (despite the fact he’s been my absolute favourite Oiler since getting into hockey) is the same as has been pointed out on many blogs, but none so bluntly and straight to the point as Pat at BDHS: “Keep good players. Get more good players.” Couldn’t. Agree. More. Penner and Hemsky are outstanding NHL players and are vital to this team.

    Unfortunately it is easier said than done and you do need to give up something good to get something good in return, hence why most people are saying we need a proven player coming back in return.

    Can people explain to me whats the deal with Wayne Simmonds? I understand he’s a pretty good 3rd liner who’s having a tough year on the scoresheet, but many rumours seem to have him pegged as the centrepiece to a deal with LA? I agree with most fans who say “hell no” to him as the centrepiece, but “yeah why not” to him as a throw-in with a better player/prospect. Like I say though, I don’t know much about him, can anyone shed some light on him? Scouting reports/projections etc.?

    Oh and LT, I know your sick of being asked, but any word on the Nation Radio Archive?

  • Golden Seals

    I was talking with my dad last night. He’s never been the strongest Hemsky supporter which is why last night it suprised me when he said “if the oilers trade Hemsky they are nutz. There is no way they get the same type of player back.”

    I agree 100% if the returen isn’t schenn, forbert, bernier and their first I don’t want to see hemmer go.

    I know that is way more than any GM would pay. But that is what he’s worth to me. On any given night Hemmer is one of the few reasons to watch this team. If we trade him we are going to spend the next couple years trying to find the same player.

    The guy loves to play and I love watching him.

  • Bi-Curious Gord

    Damn, I’d hate to see Penner or Hemmer go. Collecting high draft picks/prospects is great but a quality veteran presence is also valuable. If we do flip either the deal has to include an established NHLer. Deep down I hope both are willing to resign here. They would make a pretty decent 2nd/3rd line a couple years down the road.

  • Jeremy S.

    The thing is at the deadline is where you get prospects. People willing to sell the future to win right now.

    There hasn’t been a big player moved at the draft in a while…

  • If Hemsky Gets Traded it must NOT be for prospects alone. I would love to see him with talented vets on his line. Not that we dont have talent but “elite” veteran talent where he is not the focus of other teams checkers.
    He could still be so scary good yet. Maybe we wait until the youth become men. This is one trade i would fear making, but his return could also be oh so good. You dont trade him unless you know you are going to lose him to FA or just for the sake of making a trade. Im scared ! dont ask me !!

  • I know hindsight is 20/20, but the to use the Smyth trade as presedence (sp) would be horrible.

    Nillson was IIRC a potential top 6, but a longshot, O’Marra at the time had top 9 written all over him, and 15th doesn’t get you a game breaker (normally)

    1 for 3, sure, but those three should be a ultra-high end prospect, a 1st rounder, and an “established” NHL player (bottom 6 who can put people through the boards)

    i.e. Voynov (sp), Simmonds, LA’s 1st.

    Throw in a 3rd rounder if you have to.

  • fuck off

    I have to admit, that even though I’m the founder of Team Hornsky, I still think he’s too great a commodity to trade off. Unless Hemmer goes to the East and stays there, the Oil will begrudge the move that sent him out of town.

    Only question left: Does Hemmer want to tough it through the rebuild and give up some of his PP time over the long run?

    • I think it was Gregor who pointed out that good teams succeed by sticking to one primary principle – collect and keep good players. Every team needs good checkers, good faceoff men, good skaters, good goal scorers, good 4th defencemen etc. Hemsky is a very good player, the perfect age, and has a unique mix of a high ‘skill’ level with a high ‘compete’ level. The Oilers would be foolish to let him go at this point. One of the more frustrating things for me over the past decade has been the constant turnover of players. I don’t know who I am cheering for anymore. And then we get caught up in the trade talk simply for the sake of it. The Oilers have finally put together an excellent nucleus. We need a good defenseman with swagger (we would love Subban on this team), a big tough minutes centreman, and a few tough checkers. The rest of the script writes itself.

  • Jeremy S.

    I’m with you… When i watched the game last night, i felt bad thinking about trading Hemskey for any return.

    Thankfully when you make a trade like this you do it with your brain, and put other things aside.

    If he goes everyone will still remember him as a long time Oiler.

    • ClosetGM

      So we should trade hemsky for a robert nilson, ryan omarra, and a draft pick. Good thing you are not running this team. The only way Hemsky goes is for a legit prospect ala Bogosian or Schenn, thats it. If not we keep him and let him play with our young stars. Hemsky has serious talent and we desperately need that.

      • Aitch

        Well, I don’t proclaim to be a ClosetGM, but I think a similar deal is what we’ll see. Obviously, in hindsight Nilson, O’Marra and the pick didn’t pan out (with exceptions made for Plante.) What I’m talking about is two former firsts and a 1st round pick. If Smyth with only two months left on his contract can fetch that, than Hemsky with more than a year left, should be able to bring an equal or better return in theory.

        Now, last time I checked Schenn would be a former first rounder. So, we’re not exactly that different in our requests. If the Oilers could get Bogosian out of ATL and he pulls a Pronger and turns into a d-man on his second team, Hallelujah! But I’m not counting on Dudley falling and hitting his head anytime soon.