The easy way to stop all the Ales Hemsky trade rumours out there would be for him to sign a contract extension. Pending free agent Tim Gleason, regarded as one of the best available defensemen at the NHL trade deadline, signed a four-year extension with Carolina earlier today, instantly putting a halt to a litany of rumours suggesting various destinations for him.
Until Hemsky signs a similar pact, or is traded, the rumours will continue.
Sportsnet’s Gene Principe, a familiar face for Oilers’ fans, got into the discussion today, tweeting the following:
Ales Hemsky-Andy Sutton to Det.for Tomas Jurco and 1st round pick. Hemsky and pick to Nash.for Jonathan Blum and 1st round pick #justrumors
It’s worth remembering that Detroit’s first round pick is probably going to fall in the 25th – 30th range, and that Nashville’s top pick isn’t likely to be a whole lot better. They’re nice pieces to have, but these proposed deals would hinge on the prospects involved.
Tomas Jurco is an interesting prospect – a 6’2” winger the Red Wings added with a second round pick last season. He’s scored 25 times in 36 QMJHL games and added 29 assists. Those are impressive totals but they come with a caveat: Jurco’s team, the Saint John Sea Dogs, are the second-most potent team in the QMJHL. On the roster are last year’s third overall pick, Jonathan Huberdeau, who is averaging a hair under two points per game. Another first rounder from last year, Zack Phillips, leads the team in scoring. 20-year old Danick Gauthier has scored 37 times. So while Jurco is scoring a lot, the question is whether he’s helping drive the bus or whether he’s a beneficiary of his teammates. In last year’s drafts, scouts ranked Huberdeau and Phillips above him.
Still, Jurco’s a very interesting prospect, and despite those cautions I think most NHL teams would love to have him in the system.
Blum’s probably a more interesting piece, however, simply because he’s closer to active duty in the NHL. He’s already played more than 50 games in the world’s best league, and has almost 150 in the AHL. In his AHL time, Blum has proven to be a potent offensive contributor –over an average 82-game segment he produces 11 goals and 35 assists.
He’s still struggling to make the NHL jump, however. His minus-14 rating this season was wholly deserved and indicative of his defensive struggles in the major leagues. For the Oilers that may not matter – it all depends on what their goals are for next season. If the Oilers are planning on slow improvement, maybe they don’t mind letting Blum learn in a depth role, making mistakes now at the NHL level in exchange for a future payoff.