Hurry Linus

Linus Omark may be the most qualified player in the Edmonton system to replace Ales Hemsky. 

At this point it is difficult to see what the Oilers have planned for RW moving forward. Some things are becoming more clear, however;Jason Gregor’s article yesterdaywas very revealing in regard to 83’s future with the team, the strongest indicator we’ve seen so far that the young Czech is headed elsewhere.

Which isn’t to say there is no time left to sign Hemsky. However, with the knowledge we have currently it is completely reasonable to suggest the Oilers management group have indeed sussed out their options at RW with Hemsky out f the picture.

What does that look like?

I’m not going to lie, it isn’t pretty. The Oilers RWers for skill lines sans Hemsky might look like this:

  • Jordan Eberle 47, 20-30-50
  • Ryan Jones 51, 12-10-22
  • Magnus Paajarvi 33, 0-4-4
  • Teemu Hartikainen 5, 0-0-0
  • Linus Omark 5, 0-0-0 (injured, likely back with OKC by next weekend)

You could argue Gagner can play that position but center appears to be his strength. So, if the Oilers offload Hemsky at the deadline, which of these young men will get the push?

Jones is the safest bet, an NHL player whose offense has vanished (he’s not alone) of late (0-2-2 in his last 10 games). Paajarvi performed well last winter when he got the push, but honestly keeping him in the AHL for the rest of the season might be the better plan. Hartikainen is an interesting option because he has size and is effective down low in battles but has not established himself in this year’s look-see like he did last season when recalled from the farm. 

Omark is an exceptional skill player, a slow start and an injury have him well down the depth chart. He’s an older player compared to someone like Paajarvi, and a Hemsky deal might be his last best chance.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

A year ago, all of the options we’re discussing (Omark, Hartikainen, Paajarvi) performed well at the NHL level. This season has been a different story for the three Euro’s and I think Edmonton may hold open auditions for 2line RW using all of them plus Ryan Jones after the deadline.

That’s if the Oilers trade Hemsky. Ryan Rishaug’s tweet last night in regard to conversations between the two sides offers some hope, but I believe Jason Gregor caught the spirit of the situation covered in his article on Oilers Nation yesterday.

Good organizations have viable options waiting in the wings when dealing off notable talent. I’m not certain the Oilers can say they have the ‘Hemsky slot’ covered from within at this time.

Nation Radio takes a break this week, but we’ll be back with Oiler talk and interviews from across the Nations before you can say ‘is that a one-piece?’

  • bazmagoo

    I’d take Pancakes over Hemsky right now, at least we’d have some size on our 2nd – 3rd line. Maybe Penner doesn’t like playing in LA, who knows what could be the reason for him not producing. Could be worth the gamble considering he’s going to be available as a UFA. Seems like a good guy in the room. Might be lazy but at least he makes guys laugh and lightens up the mood when/if necessary.

    If we could get Penner for two years at 2.5 million per in the off season would that change the dynamic of Hemsky being traded in anyone’s mind?

  • DieHard

    YOU are the Oilers GM regarding Hemksy.

    What is your bottom line for term and amount?

    I don’t think he’ll sign for anything less than 4 years and a cap average of 5.25M. Personally I think this would be fine if he played 90% of the games and showed more effort and commitment. I just don’t know if he can do that. Is it worth the risk?

    • DieHard

      Doubtful. Even if he doesn’t have the greatest last 30 games, he is still going to cash in on free agency. Other teams, unlike Oilers management, places a premium on top 6 talent.

  • 50 in 39

    Signing Hemsky before July 1 could be very precarious. He probably won’t take any sort of discount. This should be the most lucrative contract of his whole career and his agent probably thinks bringing 29 other teams into the mix won’t hurt his chances at a better deal. UFA’s have routinely been overpayed in recent history. Worst case scenario is a contract that can’t be moved.

      • You know this how?

        I don’t think Omark is a player without offensive ability, but, like Schremp, that trait comes wrapped in limitations and lack of other dimensions. Those limitations are less of a factor when a team is absolutely starving for offence and doesn’t have any high-end talent.

        While the Oilers are far from a powerhouse on the attack, they do have considerable talent in their top six in Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle, none of whom have the GAPING holes in their game Omark does.

        I’d suggest Omark is going to have to become a far more complete player — he’s older already than the previously mentioned three — before this coaching staff or any other will give him a long look.

        Maybe the heart and will you suggest will make a difference, although my guess is you don’t have the first clue if that’s true or not.

        If it is, Omark will need it. Through his 56 NHL games Omark is scoring at a .48 PPG clip, which is pretty much what Schremp did (.47 through 114 NHL games) before heading for Europe.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Just from what I’ve seen Robin, Omark is a lot stronger on the puck and way harder to knock off the puck than Robbie was. And hearing about Omarks new found love for the gym tells me he really wants to work at his all around game to fix those gaping holes you state. I wish Hemmer would find a love for the gym, probably prolong his playing career.
          er

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      At this point an empty Bozo costume could play a more productive part on this team with more heart and compete than Hemmer. What Hemmer could be or was is not the point. It is what he is and I for one am sick of waiting for Hemmer to show up and play for the team in the role they need him to play. He is pouting and that look just doesn’t fit into the team concept. Steve Yzerman, Hemsky is not. Change his play for the betterment of the team, mentor the youth…I don’t see it in Hemmer’s play.

      Linus Omark is not even a close comparison to Shremp in terms of try and competitiveness. It wouldn’t take much of an effort to be more helpful than the current performance of a thumb-sucking Hemmer.

      Omark may fill the role to the end o’ season but maybe the Oil might come up with a top six foward who fits the bill. Might Evander Kane be a fit who could be available?

      Everyone wants Hemmer to succeed here but I don’t tink his heart is in it, regardless of what he told Gregor.

  • Wax Man Riley

    All I want to say is that Hemsky does not look like the same Hemsky. 2 major surgeries in 2 years have definitely messed with him and he is playing timidly because he doesn’t want to get hurt in a contract year.

    He is not done yet. Not over the hill, he is 28. He still has playing time left in him, and lots of it. Once he gets confidence in his shoulders and a contract again.

    The talk about Omark stepping in for Hemsky is LUDICROUS! To suggest a player that has 5 NHL goals and no real pro record to speak of, can step in for Hemsky’s 60-ish points a year is asinine.

    I’m not saying Omark CAN’T do it. I’m just saying that he has no history at all in the NHL and expecting him to “step in” for Hemsky is an exaggeration of his ability.

  • bazmagoo

    The Hemmer that is on the ice this season does not improve our team going forward, I’m not sure how you guys can defend that argument? In my opinion (and many others) the 2006 playoff Hemsky no longer exists. If he does, I’ll be shocked.

    This could very well come back to haunt us as many deals have in the past. But sending Hemsky to LA for Bernier makes most sense to me. Khabby is close to done, and having Dubnyk and Bernier battle it out for the starting goalie position moving forward sounds like a smart move. With Dubnyk – Bernier as a tandem, realistically we will only have 3 to 4 million each year tied up in our goalies. Both are definitely potential #1’s in my opinion.

    I think Ellis is too high end a prospect and with Nashville potentially losing Suter and/or Weber trading Ellis doesn’t make a lot of sense to me from a Nashville perspective. I’m not really interested in Blum, -14 this year, American from California, just doesn’t seem like a good fit to me.

  • bazmagoo

    Can we really afford to commit to a 4 or 5 year 5 million plus deal when within two years we are going to have to pay large for Eberle and Hall and then shortly thereafter RNH? I say no. I know Hemmer has great talent and is just trying not to get injured so he can get his next big contract. Who wouldn’t? I’m pretty sure that once he has signed a new deal you will see a brand new Hemsky(until he gets hurt again) but for now and the rest of the year he is going to play it quite safe. Let him go. Let some other team take a chance with his shoulders.Do we want another Horcoft contract? I think we could use a different kind of winger in our top six. Some size and grit would be great. I don’t have the answers as to where we get this guy I just know that someone with a little push back would look great with Hall, Eberle, RNH, and Gagner.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I think those suggesting Hemsky will sign with any team for $4 Million per year are being very unrealistic.

    He will be looking for about $6 Million per year.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I think it is laughable the assumptions that people jump to.

    We do not know what is happening between the Oilers and Hemsky, his agent or anything. All people are doing is speculating. One person wrote in these comments that “the writing is on the wall that Hemsky is as good as gone.”

    How do we know this?

    People from the media are promoting this thought because is getting over hyped that they do have any real information to go one. So more and more it is being speculated what COULD happen, but nobody knows what is happening in Oilers management.

    That bad thing about this is could be a self fulfilling prophecy and Oilers management will trade him from pressure that is not really there.

    A sad time for the Oilers indeed.

  • Here’s the language:

    PERFORMANCE BONUSES

    What players may earn in performance bonuses?

    Performance bonuses will only be permissible for the following types of players: (1) players on entry-level contracts; (2) players signing one-year contracts after returning from long-term injuries (players with 400 or more games who spent 100 or more days on injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract); and senior veteran players who sign a one-year contract after the age of 35.

  • RexLibris

    I have been arguing that any return for Hemsky should be for high-end winger prospects like Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar because as it stands, the minute we trade Hemsky we’re going to start asking the question: where can we find a solid, playmaking right-winger willing to go into traffic?

    The organization has more depth in the prospect pool at defence than they do at wing right now, despite what external observers might say (I don’t consider Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins as prospects). As well, if this year’s draft position ends up being outside the top two overall we could be adding another defensive prospect to that group.

    I believe Omark is a decent replacement for Hemsky at this time and that in two years we’ll be discussing his future in the same terms that we are with Hemsky. I don’t believe he will be a long-term solution and my hope is that the Oilers are in a position to leverage a high-level of performance on Omark’s part into some more assets to assist in not only reaching a Stanley Cup but maintaining a significant post-season presence for a few more years. If you want to view it as managing assets in the most productive fashion, then eventually trading Omark (a 4th round pick) for even a first round pick would be an appreciation of value for the franchise as a whole.

    I think Omark can play the second line right wing and bring some elements to it that can help. He can work the second-unit powerplay, he has shown an ability to cycle the puck along the boards and control a pace of play, and his propensity for turnovers, if I recall correctly, isn’t substantially higher than Hemsky’s of late.

    Terry Jones used an excellent analogy the other day on 1260 when he said we need to figure out which players here today are going to be in that Stanley Cup photo that we all want. I don’t think Omark will be, but I hope he becomes a very shiny bauble that the management can then parlay into someone who will be in that photo.

    In the meantime, you have to admit that the man is fun to watch.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I agree that Hemsky deserves at least a conversation with the brass. To not even talk to the man, is just not right. He’s getting his game back on track, and seems to have a fire in his belly again. Replacing him with PRV? Remember someone said” PRV will have trouble scoring goals”? Yep. You have to have guts to score in this league. He doesn’t have any.

    At the very least, have a conversation with Hemsky. Signing him would be a good move by mgnt.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I was thinking a lot about Hemsky during the Red Wing game. He setup the one timer for Whitney which resulted in the Gagner rebound goal. Hemsky also took that big hit from Kronwall and bounce back up. First real big hit I’ve seen Hemsky take this year. I wondered if this was what was holding him back. Seeing Hemmer take a big used to be common place back in the day. I wondered if the constant shoulder problems and his durability was getting in his head. Taking the Kronwall hit and not having to go on IR, maybe that will convince him that he can play the way he used to.

    I’m not in Hemmer’s head, so I don’t know what’s going on up there. But if he plays like he did against Detroit, it will be difficult to replace Hemmer’s abilities with picks and prospects. History suggests that Hemmer likes Edmonton, but that would be something Tambo needs to determine over the next few weeks while also evaluating his play. If he wants to stay, it should take a significant offer to move him.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I really don’t know why everyone is suddenly saying we should keep Hemskey, and how will we fill his spot and all this. He has been abysmal this year, and though he’s been a point per game in previous ones, when you only play 40ish games in a year, that isn’t too good either.

    I done with trying to be sold that Hemsky is an elite level talent in the NHL, because on the Edmonton Oilers, that doesn’t seem to be the case. So trade him already, let him go to another team and prove he’s ‘elite level’. Watching him glide around the ice, not putting effort into his shifts, turning over the puck again and again, trying to make the impossible play only to give the puck away, getting beat defensively always, enough!

    As for filling his spot, He only has 22 points in 39 games. The same as Jones, but Jones has 10 goals in his points category compared to Hemskey’s 4. Considering the Nuge and Gagner are fine play makers, why do we need a passing winger on the second line. Wouldn’t a hard playing, energy winger that drives to the net be more effective for winning games?

    Finally, Hemsky doesn’t fit with the rebuild. He just doesn’t. It is called a re-build because after tearing down the house, a completely new one springs up in its place. So trade him for the best damn defensive prospect or player we can possibly get. Package him with someone else if it means getting a legit top 2 or 4 d man. I see the oilers defense being less about a big time name like weber and more about 6 really solid members. Whitney, Smid, and (I never thought I’d say this) Gilbert make three, now lets get three more.

    On an unrelated note I personally think our recent success has primarily to do with Whitney and Barker returning to the lineup. Before then, we struggled to make a good pass out of our own zone. Now we’re able to play our game and break out on the rush.