It is a somewhat unlikely line, being that one of the wingers may be on his way out of town and the center spends much of his time on the wings these days. Having said, that Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall are burning opposition defenses at a torrid pace.

The Edmonton Oilers have rolled some stunning lines over the years: Gretzky-Tikkanen-Kurri, Messier-Simpson-Anderson, Weight-Smyth-Guerin and a few others along the way. Lately, the Gagner-Hall-Hemsky line has been the best Oiler line (hey, I know that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement) and seem to have some chem.

Dennis King scoring chances (EV)

  • NJD game: Hall 6-4; Hemsky 6-3; Gagner 5-2 (TEAM: 11-12)
  • DAL game: Hall 2-6; Hemsky 2-4; Gagner 3-9 (TEAM: 9-21)
  • STL game: Hall 1-4; Hemsky 3-5;  Gagner 3-6 (TEAM: 8-17)
  • BUF game: Hall 5-5; Hemsky 5-3; Gagner 5-3 (TEAM 14-15)
  • CHI game: Hall 5-4; Hemsky 4-4; Gagner 7-3 (TEAM 12-11)

In these games, Edmonton’s even strength scoring chances are 54-76, meaning they are getting about 41.5% of all the scoring chances at even strength. The ASH line is getting 19-23 (.452 for Hall); 20-19 (.513 for Hemsky) and 23-23 (.500 for Gagner) if my math is correct. Basically, that line over the last 5 games is about .500 and the rest of the team is well behind.   This doesn’t account for quality of opponent or zone start, but by eye and by math this line seems to have some good things going on.


When the Nuge and Eberle return, the club might assign Ryan Smyth to their portside once again. A season that has seen this team (at times) ice only one solid offensive line should be able to ice two offensive lines and (what’s more) all of them could be made available for next season too.

Ales Hemsky’s injuries are galling and frustrating, but the Oilers need skilled men. Even with all of these first overall picks and incredible kids like Eberle the Edmonton Oilers aren’t scoring enough goals to contend.

This little run from the Gagner-Hall-Hemsky line might just be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.



What’s that old line? "So you’re saying there’s a chance?" I think that’s it. Ales Hemsky has had a nice stretch here of late with this makeshift line of the ’07 disappointment (for some) and the #1 overall from 2010. Here’s hoping they continue the fine play, the right people notice and the Oilers choose wisely this deadline.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Tambellini: Just tell it to me straight Tom. What are the chances that a girl like me…and a guy like you…can lead this team to the promised land?

    Tom: Honestly? I’d say about one in a million.

    Tambellini: So you’re telling me there’s a chance!!!! *Beaming*

  • Wanyes bastard child

    What does it all mean?

    1) Re-sign Hemsky stat! We have the making of two solid scoring lines, a checking line and an energy line, don’t mess with it.

    2) Defence help can be found in the off season if Tamb’s has the gonads to do it.

    3) Anne Hathaway is one damn fine looking women 🙂

    LT, are you guys going to be changing the ON link to your new site? I’m a bit computer challenged and never use bookmarks, the gf set me up with an ON task bar thingy so I just always use ON to get to your site eh, just wondering.

  • justDOit

    I think that if Hemsky was open to re-signing in Edmonton, those discussions would have become public. I saw an interview with him several months ago, and the look in his eyes said it all when he was asked about re-signing.

    I think the Lombardi apology has some suspicious motivation behind it. Maybe not that he wants to trade with the Oilers, but I think that he’s trying to show his good side to all the GMs. And I applaud him for making a public apology.

    Now how about Feaster? He doesn’t like big, tough wingers who can score and are hard to play against? He prefers to overpay for a smaller forward with some good offensive abilities? I really don’t get that one.

  • Jason Strudwick

    The blog reference needs updating:

    Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere’s shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at He is also the host of NationRadio on Team 1260 in Edmonton.

  • Talbot17

    I just can’t shake the sense that if we resign Hemsky he will just continue to have a poor work ethic and never really improve. I’d trade him unless he resigns for a reasonable price

  • RexLibris

    Thank you, LT.

    Anna Hathaway is….well…yeah. I could live in that smile and those eyes.

    Anyway, about hockey, I think Ales is the kind of winger that we’ll be shopping for the minute after we trade him. He’s also the kind of player that teams in our situation need to move in order to add some more balance to this developing group. I’m not in the “trade him for a 3-4 d-man who can step in right away” camp. I think the UFA route will be the best way to pursue that because if I’m moving Hemsky I want to maximize the return by getting a very good prospect that another team deems expendable due to immediate concerns. I’d still like to add to our winger and centre depth, but those might be addressed at this draft, so the Voynov idea certainly has some interest.

    A little off-topic, but let’s say, for the sake of the argument, that the Oilers 1st pick is either Grigorenko or Murray (not first overall, I don’t think we can be that bad compared to our competition) what do you think about Henrik Samuelsson were we to get another 1st round pick for Hemsky? I know most of this attention he’s getting is from the Oil Kings connection, but a big centre with hockey pedigree sounds like something the Oilers traditionally trip over themselves trying to get.

    Now I return to my regularly-scheduled ogling…mmm-Hatha-rrific…

  • Crash

    There are a handful of us who have wanted Gagner to center a line with Hall and Hemsky for quite awhile…

    Having Gagner (a skilled player with hockey sense) centering 2 dynamic players such as Hall and Hemsky is a no brainer and has been for awhile now….

    They have looked good together in the past…if I’m not mistaken they were put together for the first time this year in the 9-2 blowout of Chicago and then played together the next game in a 5-1 loss to Dallas. The problem is that Renney didn’t have the patience to keep them together…it seems that if they have “ONE” game that they don’t produce that Gagner gets moved away from Hemsky and Horcoff gets back in there….Horcoff is given rope to continue to fail beyond belief while Gagner’s rope is very short.

    I hope they sign Hemsky and make this line a fixture going forward, now and in the future, while the RNH/Eberle combo can make up 2/3rds of the other top line going forward.

    I like Horcoff, but please Oilers, no more Horcoff on a top scoring line….stick with RNH and Gagner as 1 and 2 and let Horcoff play checker from here on out.

    • Talbot17

      Is there is one thing i do not like about Renney is exactly what you are referring to. One bad game, and he changes the lines up. Frankly how can players develop their linemates tendencies when they are always being shifted around? Keep the lines together for more than one game, let them figure it out for themselves.

  • stevezie

    There is no way Hemsky will sign here…..what do we offer a player with greater offensive talent than Horcoff?

    Horcoff gets 6mil and we resign Hemsky for what he is worth. …say 2 milion?

    If Tamby signs him for anymore he is not very smart. Better we trade him for draft choices…….there are always desperate GM’s looking for rentals at trade deadlines.

    • I think you need to look up players that are paid 2 mil. I’m one of the people who believe trading Hemsky would be a good thing but even I’m not so delusional as to think he’s going to get 2m in today’s world where the cap keeps going up. He’ll get much more than that somewhere. The key is length of term over $figure.

      Sure he isnt going to get 6 mil but hes going to get way more than 2 mil.

  • RexLibris

    Hemsky is the kind of top 6 forward we will have the best chance to replace.

    In the short term we have this kid called Omark who deserves a look. If he fails, we have this other kid called Hartikainen who also could fill a role on the top 6. Surely one of theme could generate 3 or 4 goals and 20 points in the second half, which is Hemsky territory this season.

    And come draft time there is a good chance the Oilers draft yet another forward, and if they do then they need a slot for that forward to play. I am hoping they draft Murray, but outside of him a forward is just, if not more probable.

    But I will be seriously pissed if the return for Hemsky is not an NHL defenceman, or one that is damn close to NHL ready like Voynov or Despres.

    • Talbot17

      totally agree with you here. Omark is younger and has enough upside to be efficient in replacing Hemsky. Harti is right there too. We need D, and i think if we got Voynov We would be set to draft Murray or another high D at the draft

    • Talbot17

      Wow. So we are now sold on two guys who have a combined 32 NHL points to replace a guy who has 410 career NHL points. Omark and Hartikainen have not proved that they could be dependable top 6 forwards on a contending team. No where near it.

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t trade Hemsky (I am one of the few who would like to see him stay), but to say a couple of guys with “potential” could replace a career .8 – .9 PPG player is a huge stretch. These types of players don’t grow on trees.

      • I do believe he said that if they were playing where Hemmer is playing currently (top 6) then they would produce just as much as he has so far this year.

        That would be indicated by his statement “in the short term” I dont think he ever said “we should dump off players who have produced a bunch in the past and then replace them with prospects and we’ll be winning like Emilio Estevez” (oh wait…)

        • I agree that Hemsky hasn’t played well this year. Even his most ardent supporters (Again, I’m one of them) can’t refute that claim. But he is playing relatively well now. Even his 15 points in 29 games is above the pace of Omark’s career numbers…which is abysmal as far as Hemsky numbers go.

          All I am saying is that Hemsky has proven he is a top 6 NHL forward, and if he keeps on playing well, then the points will come back as well. No guarantees Omark or Hartikainen will ever be top 6 forwards.

          • And I wasnt disputing that. Was just pointing out that he didnt imply that Omark was an immediate and long term solution for Hemsky. I actually am inclined to find out if he can do it though. Give him some extended time with some firepower around him and see what happens?

      • John Chambers

        Trading Hemsky is a tough move, especially for fans that have been as starved as ourselves.

        But really what’s he going to give you over the back half of his NHL career? Do you see the guy being a 70+ point player in more than one or two seasons?

        Meanwhile you could have Slava Voynov for a decade … a decade in which we’ll have all the core pieces in place.

        In my less-than-humble opinion (Your comment was appropriate SteveZ), Hemsky doesn’t fit in to the timing of our next legitimate challenge for Stanley.

        … I also think there’s a shortage of quality wingers on the market this trade deadline, so he might just fetch a decent return.

        • Crash

          Just wondering, does Slava Voynov come with some sort of guarantee that he is not magic beans and that he will indeed be this big time high end d-man the Oilers need?

          As far as Hemksy goes, if he was to stick around, stay healthy going forward and play alongside Taylor Hall for the next 6 yrs, I could see him easily being a 70 point player and 70 points in today’s game is hard to come by.

          This along with the continued development of RNH, Eberle, Hall, Gagner, PRV and others could very well lead to Edmonton in becoming more of a destination of choice for already established higher end UFA d-men rather than trading our already proven 28 yr old guaranteed top six players for yet another prospect that we hope will turn out to be great.

          At only age 28 Hemsky could very well be part of our next legit challenge for Stanley if he wants to stay.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I’ve noticed you keep playing the “guranteed” card.

            Of course Voyonoz isn’t guaranteed to be a top defensemen…. Unfortunatly though, Hemsky isn’t guranteed to sign here, stay healthy, or produce 70 either.

            Weak, weak argument on your part.

          • KatzKidsJewFro

            Get a clue sometime. I’d rather not trade one of our top 4 forwards for a guy who is a question mark? The only way is if hemsky wants out and that’s the best they can do.

            The oilers will know whether he wants to be here or not. Voynov isn’t guaranteed to be healthy either. We know how good hemsky is but voynov? We don’t

            Nothing weak about wanting to keep one of our best players at age 28 over more magic beans

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I actually agree with your premise (trade Hemsky if a resonable contract can’t be worked out… and prefferably for proven talent), what is weak is that you think their needs to be some type of guarantee on the other end, when theirs no guarantee on yours.

        • melancholyculkin

          Where does this idea that Hemsky doesn’t fit into the age cluster come from? He’s 28. He is not old in any way, shape or form. This team can’t keep getting younger forever.

          Zygotes can’t play hockey.

  • Crash

    So here is a thought I would like to throw out there. Van is likely looking for a deal to trade Cory Schneider as they believe he won’t be signing again with Van as long as they have Lou in net. So would it make sense to send Dubynk in a package to Van for Schneider? Then next season you could give the backup job to Danis. They would only move him for the right deal so what would that be. They want size in the bottom six. Would Dubynk + Hordi/Eager + a draft pick make it happen? Is that too much from the Oiler point of view?
    Just curious.

      • Bulin and Hemsky to DET. Not likely to happen but it is an option. I think the oil still would like to find a way out of Bulin’s contract for the last year. Bulin started off hot but since the first 15 games hes been back to his old self and if the team is serious about making the playoffs or close to it next year Bulin shouldn’t be in the picture.

        Trading Hemsky is a hard one because his is such a unique and good player but I think if your not going to play him on the top line then he should be moved and I don’t see how he can take a spot from Eberle, Hall, or RNH. If he’s not the top go to guy, Hemsky gets disinterested and is not effective.

    • Dutchscooter

      I think you’re dreaming if you think Vancouver is going to trade Schnider within their own conference. Not going to happen. He’ ll go out east, as far from vancouver as you can get.

    • bazmagoo

      Schneider is in Vancouver for as long as Vancouver wants him, he’s a restricted free agent.

      I could see Vancouver moving him to add a substantial piece for a playoff run, but Eager/Hodri + Dubnyk & a draft choice do not equal a substantial piece.

      They know Lou is a head case and they need Schneider as his back up for the forseeable future.

    • Do you think they would find Bulin a little too expensive of a backup? I know they have expressed interest in Hemsky since last years trade deadline so they are probably willing to make a deal there but Bulin is a ?

    • John Chambers

      I dunno. That ’10 Draft was the tits. Hall, Seguin, Skinner, Burmistrov, Gudbrandson … they’re all impact players.

      Connolly and Neidereitter (sp) were wedged in there and their teams elected to season them for longer in junior. I guess what I’m saying is that Connolly is still a high-calibre talent, while Schneider like many goalies has performed well bc he’s on an elite team.

      Toss in Vancouver’s 1st rounder or a high-pedigree prospect and you MIGHT have the basis for a deal.

  • KatzKidsJewFro

    Anyone else think that Hemsky could really benefit from a lockout year. Kind of like Teemu Selanne did in 04-05. Just a year to get fully healthy. For all those saying Hemmer is only 28 and would be around for a run, I really don’t see Hemsky playing very far into his 30’s with his current injury pattern.