HEMSKY IN LIMBO?

The trade deadline is 24 days away, and so far Ales Hemsky hasn’t heard anything from the Oilers regarding his future with or without the team. How is this possible? Does Steve Tambellini believe that top-six forwards grow on trees, and that it will be easy to replace Hemsky? I hope not, because it is very hard to find proven point producers.

People have been speculating for months about Hemsky. Does he want to be here? Is he happy?

I’m a fan of Hemsky’s abilities as a player. I’ve always liked his fearlessness, his ability to beat defenders one-on-one, and his elite level skill. I’ve always felt he could be even better, if he spent a bit more time after practice working on things, but in my eyes is a bonafide top-six forward, and for years he was the Oilers best player

You’d think they would at least approach him and gauge where is head is at regarding his future with the team.

Hemsky is a simple guy, and he is comfortable in Edmonton. He likes the city, he has lots of friends here and he’s essentially grown into a man in Edmonton. If he really wasn’t happy don’t you think he would have asked for a trade sometime in the past three years when the team was awful, and had no other legitimate offensive threats?

He never did, and now that the Oilers have three young guns coming up, I’d like to think the Oilers would look at the 28-year-old as a part of the future, rather than ship him off for prospect and unproven potential.

It is ridiculous that the Oilers haven’t approached him with anything significant to see if he’d be willing to re-sign. Maybe they will have differing opinions on terms of a new deal, but if the Oilers don’t at least approach him and his agent then they have failed big-time in trying to ensure that this team becomes competitive.

Hemsky didnt’ come out and say it’s a guarantee he would sign here, but he would at least like to hear from management.

Here are some of the things he said earlier on my radio show today.

"The future looks bright now. We have some great young players, but I don’t know what will happen. It’s not in my hands right now. I haven’t really talked to them, and it is up to them to come and talk to me. We have another three weeks, which really isn’t a long time to do something," said Hemsky.

Would you want to stay in Edmonton for another three or four year deal, I asked.

"Of course I would like to stay, but it depends on the terms. I can’t really talk about it because I haven’t seen an offer yet. I like the guys here, I like the city, the fans are great and I have lots of friends here. I’ve always been happy here so I’d like to stay.”’

How do you feel health wise? Are your shoulders finally better, do you think you can be like Marian Gaborik and stay healthy after a few years of injuries?

"I feel like I’m just coming into my prime. I don’t feel like I’m close to retiring, (laughs) I’m only 28 and I have lots of hockey in front of me. It (shoulders) was something I had to fix and there was no other way to do it, and I’m happy I did the surgery. I feel like I’ll be a better player now. Of course it was a struggle with the injuries for a few years, and this year has been a bit of a struggle offensively for me, but I’m feeling much better lately. I’ve had some pretty good years before and I’m confident I’ll be back there again."

Hemsky didnt’ guarantee he’d stay here, but it was clear he would at least like to see an offer from the Oilers. He also was confident that his best years are still ahead of him.

"Whoever gets me, the Oilers or another team, will be getting the best Hemmer yet."

From my vantage point trading Hemsky will be a step backwards for this team. They could likely get a late first round pick for him, but that player won’t be an impact NHLer for at least three years, if ever. Trading away a proven player who is 28 makes no sense to me, but it makes even less sense that the organization hasn’t even spoken to him about an extension.

If that doesn’t change in the next three weeks, and the Oilers end up trading him, then it is fair to say that the organizaton still lacks proper communication skills.

It is very possible the two sides won’t be able to come to an agreement even if they offered him a deal, but to do nothing would be a mistake. It would be a major slap to the face of Hemsky to not even offer him anything reasonable. Maybe he wants four years or more, and maybe the Oilers only want to offer him two, but at least find out exactly what he wants.

If he wants to be here, and you can agree on a reasonable contract why wouldn’t you keep him? Do people honestly think his best days are behind him? I sure don’t.

I repeat proven top-six forwards are hard to find. I know Hemsky is struggling this season, but many guys have had off years, only to rebound the next.

Are the Oilers willing to dispatch a player who feels that is best is yet to come without as much as a contract offer? I sure hope not.

Mr. Tambellini I strongly recommend that you or someone from the organization pick up the phone and talk to Hemsky’s agent. The Oilers have no one in the system who is close to putting up Hemsky-like numbers. I don’t see anyone who you can confidently say is able to be a solid 2nd line right-winger behind Jordan Eberle next season.

Before you trade Hemsky at least find out if you can keep him.

You owe it to him and your fans.

  • Milli

    Ya, I am not a huge Hemsky fan, but dear god why wouldn’t you be speaking with him and try and get something done. Make an offer, try and get a decent term with no no movement clause. It does seem nuts to let this guy walk without getting much in return

  • Wendy01

    I feel a great deal of frustration over the way Oiler’s management deals with their players. It isn’t just Hemsky. It is the perception that this is the way all players are handled by management. Point in case; we all knew there was no way in the world they were sending RNH back to junior in the fall after his nine games and yet they let the kid sweat to the bitter end. Is it Renney? Is it Tambellini? Does it go further up the food chain? Who would know?
    As to Hemsky…. well I’m not one to say the team should trade him but I think they should be finding where his head is at. On the other side of things… how does a guy go -2 and no shots on a night the team gets 8 goals? Is it his linemates? Horcoff is a bust as far as I’m concerned. It must be like skating with a boat anchor tied to your a** with him as a linemate. He’s either stepping on the puck or looking like Bambi on the ice! I digress! I like Hemsky. I hope they sign him and see where he goes next year. Top six guys are hard to come by.

  • Wow.

    I get the Oilers trading him if the return is right.

    I get the Oilers trading him if he doesnt sign by the Deadline.

    I get the Oilers trading him if he demands way too much money.

    What I dont get, and only adds to my ever growing list of reasons to turf Tambi, is that dialogue wasnt even opened about extending Hemsky at all. 3 weeks before the Deadline and this team still doesnt know what their options are because Tambellini is too incompetent to pick up a telephone and talk with Hemsky’s agent!

    At least Tambellini could pretend to have weighed all the options in front of him if the phone lines were open, but this is just another example of ST sitting around doing nothing.

    As badly as Hemsky has looked recently, you have to know what your options are. Tambellini looks to be putting all of his eggs in the Trade basket, and I have little confidence in him.

    • Oilers4ever

      Um, OK.

      So where in Gregor’s interview does it indicate that “this team still doesn’t know what their options are …” or is “sitting around doing nothing.”

      I see a quote in the interview in which Hemsky is saying that he hasn’t heard from Tambo on an extension, but I’m not quite sure how you could divine a lack-of-plan out from that on the Oilers’ end of things.

      Why can’t the plan be this: See how Hemsky plays in the months and weeks leading up to the deadline and entertain offers at the deadline. If one knocks your socks off, great. If not, c’est la vie.

      My guess is that you actually believe that Hemsky and his agent would seriously consider NOT testing the free agent market on July 1.

      If so, then, well … sigh.

      Did Curtis Joseph teach you nothing? Or any of the other unrestricted free agents who said all the right things before the trade-deadline but signed with a new team at 12:01 a.m. on July 1?

      I have no way of proving this, but I’m just going to go on a hunch and assert this anyway: Any offer that Tambo would make to extend Hemsky between now and Feb. 27 (or, if you like, between last fall’s training camp and Feb. 27) would be received thusly by his agent: Thank you for this, Steve. We’ll get back to you on July 1, yea or nay.

      The far more efficient and prudent move for right now – Friday, Feb. 3 – is to let the player and the trade market do their thing.

      But to misinterpret a lack of a contract offer as some sort of lack of plan, well, that’s a little naive coming from a fan base that’s been burned by plenty of unrestricteds over the years.

      Or, I not “getting” something?

  • Travis Dakin

    Mother of GOD!!!! This is madness!!!! Sign the damn guy. He’s put up with everything you’ve put him through. Now reward him for being a good soldier and the only reason we had anything to cheer about from 2007-2010. Dammit Tambo! TTTTTTAAAAMMMMMMBBBBOOOOOO!!!!

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    As far as his best days. They are over. Not saying he can’t be a solid top 6 player, but he’ll never play a full season and very doubtful he every plays at a PPG pace unless it’s over a 10 game season.

    • Jason Gregor

      You know this for sure? If so please tell me the lottery numbers this week. Many said Gaborik would never be healthy again either. Time will tell, but at 28 years old I’d say he is far from being done.

      Suggesting he has lost his skill due to one off year, is a big assumption. Coming off an injury, likely struggling with confidence has impacted his season.

      I find it strange who quickly people assume he is not skilled anymore because of 50 less-than-stellar games.

      • DieHard

        II find it strange that people think he can play healthy and play at a ppg. What evidence do you have that he can so this? I’m not saying he is done, I’m saying the odds of a healthy ppg eighty game hemsky are as likely as another eight point game by gagner.

        If you want how about a friendly wager? 200 hundred bucks? I win you donate to stollery you win I donate to ms?

        • Jason Gregor

          Who said anything about PPG. If he is a 60 point player in an 82 game season that would put him in the top-50 scorers in the league, which would clearly make him a top-six forward.

          Hemsky doesn’t need to be a PPG player to be effective.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I think the big assumption is on your part Jason, what fortune teller are you using that says Hemsky is going to come back & at the very least duplicate what he’s done in the past? He hasn’t shown anything to date this year & are the Oilers supposed to put the rebuild on hold for a year to give Ales his shot? Aren’t the Oilers trying to get bigger with this rebuild, Hemmer doesn’t fit the bill & has looked very tentative this year! My opinion is trade him, Omark can fill his boots a lot cheaper & probably the point total won’t be too far off! What about Paajarvi, he scored the same points as Hemsky at the same age & if there’s a player that deserves quality ice time to prove his talent it’s Magnus! We know what Hemmer’s about & I personally don’t think the drive & durability is there to warrant a new contract with the Oilers!

        • Jason Gregor

          Omark can fill this year’s version of Hemsky, but what makes you think he can duplicate what Hemsky has done in the past?

          Paajarvi is a left wingers, and I see him as the guy replacing Smyth, who isn’t a top-six forward anymore.

          Did anyone ever question is willingness to play hard until this year? I’m perplexed why so many think he suddenly doesn’t care. He’s having a brutal season, that is clear, but many players have had a bad season and rebounded back to their normal production in following seasons.

          If Hemsky was 33 or 34 and having this type of year, I’d be more concerned that he was starting on the downside of his career, but he is 28 my man. He’s got many years of solid hockey left.

          Trading him is a major risk, and one the team likely will lose in my opinion.

          • Rogue

            I’m projecting just like you are Jason with Hemmer. Omark just turned 25 & has had success offensively in every league he’s played in & that includes the Oilers last year. He’s dominated at the AHL level. He’s tough (for his size), gritty & cocky & I like those qualities on the Oiler team. Yes I understand Ales has played a big role in the past for the Oilers but I truly believe it’s time to cut bait & move in a different direction. Believe it or not, Ilike Hemmer but it’s time.

            I’ve followed MPS through his SEL & national team participation & he has played both wings regularly. He’s even manned the point on occasion which he did with the Oil last year. There’s talent to be mined there, just needs a chance to play (which i’m happy he’s getting in OKC now). At some time there’s got to be a place for this talent on the Oil. Just my thoughts!

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Try a paragraph break once in awhile.

          Who says it isn’t a risk to re-sign Hemsky? I didn’t hear that from Gregor. It’s a risk to sign anybody to anything. The relevant question is which risk is a better bet:

          1) trade Hemsky for something like the Penner trade last year and hope one or both of the prospects/picks turn into something down the line (3-5 years)

          2) keep a consistent scorer who is coming off back-to-back injury savaged seasons and is playing a rough and tumble kind of season.

          I agree with Gregor that the second bet is far safer. And I also agree that to cut your GM legs out from under you by simply ignoring one of the two options is criminal.

          If you are going to play stats champion… try to do it honestly.

          MPV stats last year 80 15-19-34
          Hemsky rookie season 59 6-24-30

          So by your tally “scored the same points” means scoring 4 more points in 21 more games??

          There is good reason to assume MPV will become a legit LW and rack up points. BUT

          that is no reason to throw away a top-6 RW.

          You realize you actually need 6 players… and that means real NHL players. Omark may prove himself… but you don’t option the farm on those odds… unless you have the gambler’s twitch… in which case all you want is the sweet feeling of transactions (win or lose, who cares! make a deal!!! I’m thirsty!!)

          • DieHard

            RA, I suppose next you’ll be looking for indents to improve my grade!

            In my opinion Gregor is the one assuming a lot in regards to Hemsky. Other sources (Rishaug via twitter) are saying there has been conversations regarding a new contract! Who to believe? I truly believe the Oilers are going to protect this asset, one way or the other but to drum up hysteria by opinionating the Oilers don’t care about Hemsky is wrong!

            Pretty much (break, happy(?), no blurring from wobbly pop consumption) all the Oiler fans I know & have talked to about Hemsky all agree that Hemmer is one good Steve Ott hit away from IR!

            Yes RA, I would take MPS’s upside (15 goals opposed to Hemmer’s 6 in their rookie season’s)!

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Like Diehard said… it’s just easier to read. It was hardly a grammar tourettes moment.

            Ok… two things then:

            1) which is the better predictor of Hemsky’s future performance: a) his career up to this season; b) this season; c) some combination of the two.

            2) how are we to interpret Hemsky’s remarks in light of Rishaug’s reporting and Gregor’s follow-up with the Oilers…

            RE: 1) Seems like a lot of Hemsky’s detractors are convinced that this year’s performance is the only factor that matters when performance is in question; or only the last two years if health is in question.

            The second however… that someone points out that he’s performed very well outside of this year… either the goalposts change or they decide prior history is irrelevant. Or if someone points out that up until his major shoulder injuries he was a consistently healthy performer… again same story.

            My take is the guy is a flawed player like everyone else in the league. He’s a risk and he is in a downslide and he has injury issues. These are real problems. However, I still think these issues need to be

            * weighed against the totality of his career. And

            ** weighed against the possible return for a trade

            In both cases I see the upside on the side of keeping him

            RE: 2) It seems that the fair interpretation of all this is that the Oilers have had minimal contact with Hemsky and agent – enough to say “yea, we forwarded him a video of a cat falling off a chair” but not enough to say that they actually sat down and tried to come to or even discuss terms of a deal.

            Also, I don’t think the issue is that the Oilers don’t care about Hemsky… the issue is more: is there a pattern of

            * poor communication from the office. And

            ** poor decision making from the office

            That is what concerns me. If Hemsky gets traded without having been offered a legit deal it will be IMO another symptom of rot in the system.

            Do you know who else is “one good Steve Ott hit away from IR!”?? every healthy player ever! Have you watched this season? Sutton out for stepping on the warm-up ice; RNH out for skating on the ice; Hall out for being stepped on on the ice… etc, etc, etc. People lose games for a lot less than a bruising hit from a guy like Ott.

            You completely missed my point on MPV. Why is it either/or? and why do you think the Oilers are so potent that they can do with only the one? Are you satisfied that we are potent enough offensively that we can start shedding scoring?

            And another thing… since you are so wedded to Hemsky’s poor performance this year… I find it odd that MPV’s poor performance this year seems to make no impression on you.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Let me ask you this what has Hemsky showed since 07-08 that would led you to believe that he’ll be a PPG player over 80 games? Heck make it 70 as he played 74 that year.

        • Lofty

          So whats your point? That he isn’t a PPG player so therefore is no good?

          In 2010-2011 if he got 69pts he would have been 25th in entire league scoring.

          There were 7 PPG players in the entire league. SEVEN.

          So you are saying that because he isn’t in the top 7 in the entire league he should be turfed for some other teams AHL castoff prospect?

          Even if he got 60pts he is still a top 6 fwd on ANY team in the NHL. Any.

          If you think Omark can be a top 10 NHL player in this league I’d like some of what you are smoking.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Well according to Rishaug they’ve talked to the agent about whether or not he is interested in coming back. Whether or not they talked about a contract is a different story.

  • Clyde Frog

    Especially if we are trying to end the rebuild and become a competitor.

    At some point you need to actually keep talent and build on it, trading points for magic beans that may generate points is the bad habit teams have to break to leave the basement!

    Auditioning half the roster every year is how you become the islanders, not the wings.

    Just saying.

  • book¡e

    Mega props Gregor for asking him the question of weather he wants to be here instead of looking at an injured guys body language and concluding he wants out. Hemsky has said repeatedly season over season that he likes it in Edmonton and wants to stay.
    Could not agree more, you do not just let a scorer like Hemsky walk, especially without making every effort to make it work.
    Failure to approach Hemsky is another mind boggling move by Oilers management, who could have guessed that…..

  • book¡e

    Hemsky is pouting, if he really wanted to stay here then he would say so¡

    On that note – I believe that the team should have talked to him. This seems to be an ongoing problem with this management group. They fail to communicate with players effectively. Regardless of one’s position, you need to come across as cordial and respectful of those you deal with. It empowers you in a lot of ways to do so. It makes no sense to not be talking to him.

    • Eddie Shore

      “Of course I would like to stay, but it depends on the terms. I can’t really talk about it because I haven’t seen an offer yet. I like the guys here, I like the city, the fans are great and I have lots of friends here. I’ve always been happy here so I’d like to stay.”’

      Sounds like he would stay if a reasonable contract was tendered…