Big Decisions: Signing Ales Hemsky

There are those who believe that the Edmonton Oilers made a mistake when they re-signed pending unrestricted free agent Ales Hemsky to a two-year/$10 million contract extension just under one year ago.

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Those people are wrong. The Oilers made the right decision.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

One of the more difficult parts of assessing a player is recognizing when a short-term trend is likely to continue or stop. At the time the Oilers re-signed Hemsky, he had played 47 games, scored just five times, and recorded 21 assists. He also had a minus-14 rating. The five goals quickly became a punch line, as pundits joked that the Oilers gave Hemsky ‘a million for every goal he scored.’

The problem was that Hemsky’s dismal performance stood in such stark contrast to his previous work in the NHL. The following are Hemsky’s basic statistics from the five years preceding 2011-12, as well as an average 47-game segment from that span. The last row has Hemsky’s numbers as of the date the Oilers re-signed him.

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The difference is striking. Hemsky’s shots were down by a third, the number of shots taken that went in were down by half, and his assist totals were down by one-third.

The reasons for the slump are open to debate. But the Oilers needed to decide whether or not Hemsky’s rough 2011-12 represented the new normal for him, or if it was a temporary lull after which he could be expected to return to his traditional levels of production.

Hemsky’s played 36 games since then; I don’t think the answer is 100 percent clear yet.

It’s Not A Choice, It’s A Lack Of Options

The other issue, one that was obvious at the time, was that somebody was going to play Hemsky’s minutes. At the time, it was not possible to know that the Oilers would end up drafting first overall and picking Nail Yakupov, but even if they had known that ahead of time it would have been folly to expect a fresh-faced rookie to step in and add the kind of scoring Hemsky is capable of.

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The free agent market was just as miserable. In terms of established offensive talent, there simply weren’t a lot of options. The Oilers could have gone hard after Zach Parise, or they would have been stuck trying to attract a Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr, Alex Semin or Jiri Hudler to town.

Right now, it looks like the 41-year old Jagr would have turned out pretty good. He got a one-year, $4.55 million contract from Dallas. The simple fact is that to replace Hemsky, the Oilers would have been forced to gamble that they could attract one of the few scoring options on the market, and they would be spending roughly the same money.

Alternatively, they could have let Hemsky go, and made a second line out of some combination of Ryan Smyth, Magnus Paajarvi, Teemu Hartikainen or Linus Omark (since at the time it seemed likely they would be picking after the Yakupov selection). While a possible choice, at some point the ‘dwell in the NHL basement and collect draft picks’ phase of a rebuild has to give way to a ‘make the team better’ segment, and keeping Hemsky was a necessary first step.

The Long Run

The Oilers opted to sign Hemsky to a bridge deal – they gave him money, but not term. His $5 million per season was a respectable figure, but the Oilers only committed to it for two seasons – allowing them flexibility if Hemsky failed to return to form, or if the combination of youth on expiring contracts/a falling salary cap (keep in mind that Hemsky was signed before the new CBA came into being) forced the team to shed dollars. It was a sensible choice at the time, and it looks pretty good in retrospect.

It seems likely that at some point in the near future, Hemsky will be a casualty of the salary cap, and the internal difficulties of keeping a trio of right wings – Hemsky, Yakupov and Jordan Eberle – in the system long-term. Hemsky’s the oldest of the group, and his injuries over the years have doubtless made the team hesitant to write him into the long-term plans. At this time next year, the Oilers will face the same decision they did a year ago – to sign Hemsky to a new deal, to trade him at the deadline, or to hang on to him and lose him for nothing in the summer.

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If and when Hemsky does leave, I’ll be disappointed. For years, he’s been far and away the most entertaining player on the team, a uniquely gifted forward and on some nights one of the few reasons to watch a team bound for another year in the basement. He’s been called soft, and it’s been suggested at times that he’s lazy, but he’s a guy who seemingly never hesitated to take a hit to make a play, or sacrifice his body to retrieve a puck in the corner, and to me that says more about his on-ice character and his willingness than hit totals, interviews, or what time he leaves practice ever will.

But if Hemsky leaves town because it doesn’t make sense for the team to keep him, I’ll understand that. That could be the case a year from now. It certainly wasn’t the case a year ago.

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES


  • He is so fearless in the offensive zone. Not just in the traditional “going to the tough areas” sense but he tries so many different things as a puck carrier. To see him take the puck behind the net, come out around, and take a long skate around to the blue line brings a smile to my face every time.

  • I admit – i thought all of the negative mentioned above.
    You made me eat crow Hemmer, i am enjoying every bite.
    Keep it up bud. I stand and applaud you efforts this year.

    Just change the +/- please !
    Damn Rookies ! lol

    All out Tuesday OILERS !! 57 shots.
    Pound pound pound…

  • roughneck wrote:

    Shane O’Brien getting posterized warms the very essence of my being.

    Had lunch with my dad (a Canucks fan) today, and I ended up showing him the Hemsky goal.

    “He pulled the pants off that defenceman,” he said.

    “Yeah, that’s your old buddy Shane O’Brien.”

    He laughed and laughed.

  • striatic

    i applauded the Hemsky deal at the previous deadline, and yet i think the time to move Hemsky is at the deadline this year.

    a lot has changed since the last deadline, and i think the time to sell high on Hemsky is now.

    sell to a playoff bound team along with a depth defenseman [peckham, teubert, potter] for a young second or third pairing defenseman on a great contract. that kind of thing.

    • striatic

      if Dallas is bad enough, they’re going to be trading him somewhere this year.

      if Edmonton somehow miraculously manages to be in playoff position, and Dallas implodes following this Lehtonen injury, maybe we can get him this year!

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Not on that play, but as a Hemsky fan for years (and fan of his contract last year) I like to tell myself that a large % of the D in the league would have been pants on that move.

      Good article JW – the mgmt. gets a lot of flak for mistakes & inaction. Props deserve be handed out when due.**

      **please, please ST give us more reasons to sing your praises**

  • We need to trade him, while his stock is at a high.

    Let me begin by saying I am a huge Hemsky fan, but he is worth more now than he has in the last three years.

    Hands up who thinks we can sign Hemsky for less then what he makes now?

    We are going to have cap issues soon, Hemsky can bring a fairly good return.

    Yakupov should be ready next year.

    Add it up, Hemsky is the odds on favorite to be traded.

  • DSF

    Hemsky has played well. What if were 11th 6 points out on April 5th? Will a team like New York come calling with a deal that makes sense enough that Hemsky is traded? I am concerned that Tambo lacks the wherewithall to pull the trigger for fear of making the wrong decsion.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The best player during the darkest era ever of Oilers hockey. Have to wonder what he would’ve accomplished if he was drafted by the Wings. With a much stronger supporting cast he may have been a 7.5 per yr player.

  • Word to the Bird

    As much I love watching pretty goals, how many goals has our second line given up this year. Other teams are eating Hemsky and Yaks and Gagners lunch. If the second line can learn to stop the bleeding, then I’d be more for keeping Hemsky long term. The Oilers got to get bigger and more difficult to play against so I’m not sure whether signing Hemsky long term makes a whole lotta sense.

  • DSF

    Hemsky is scoring at an unsustainable 24%.

    Considering he only has 3 assists in 14 games, is -3 and is 146th in the league in SOG, pronouncing his contract a good one is ridiculous.

    Combine that with the likelihood that he will get injured, his $5M contract is an enormous overpay.

    I can understand why the Oilers re-signed him but $5M, based on his performance since the lockout, is dumb.

    There are only 3 forwards in the NHL who have contracts at $5M+ who have never scored 25 goals and the two of them play for the Oilers.

    Death by paper cut.

    Oh and JW, you are wrong.

    • Word to the Bird

      At least Hemsky is only on a contract for 2 years. Sure it might be an overpay in some eyes (not mine), but it’s a 2 year deal. The risk is minute. Meanwhile, you have Luongo, who’s signed for another 10 years at a cap hit of 5.33 million and Garrison whom after one good year you sign him to a cap hit of 4.6 million per year for the next 6 years. So whatever buddy you talk about death by papercut

      • DSF

        The short term is the only redeeming quality about his contract.

        Comparing him to Luongo is ridiculous since one of them is an elite goaltender.

        Garrison has been a great shutdown defenseman for 3 years (look it up) and took a discount to play for the Canucks.

        Have you checked the standings recently?

        • otter2233

          @DSF

          What exactly are your criteria for a “great shutdown D-man”? Considering prior to this season Garrison has only played 2 full NHL seasons prior to this one and had a combined +4 in those two seasons that doesnt scream “great” to me…

          • DSF

            Garrison was playing on a very bad Florida team that was -24, -34 and -36 in his 3 full seasons there.

            That he finished +13 in his 3 seasons there tells you pretty much all you need to know.

            He’s currently +7 with the Canucks which would translate to +42 over a full 82 game season.

            The best Oiler defenseman who has played 10 games is Justin Schultz who is currently -2 which translates to about -10 over a full season.

            Huge difference.

          • otter2233

            So Hemsky being just under a point a game player on bad Oiler teams is meaningless but Garrison having an average, at best, +/- on a bad Florida team means greatness?

            Extrapolating Garrison’s +/- for a full season is just a lazy agrument. BTW, I do agree $5 mil per year for Hemsky was an overpayment as well, I just don’t see the “greatness” in overpaying players on other teams that you always manage to find a way to defend…

          • otter2233

            Good gravy… Garrison played only 2.5 seasons there and was +9… You are basing his playing against toughs on what data exactly??? I may give you last season when the Panthers made the playoffs and therefore can’t really be considered a bad team as season he played against most top lines but the previous 1.5 seasons, not so much… And the Oil have actually made the playoffs twice with Hemsky…

        • The Oilers hands were tied, what did you expected the management to do in that situation? he was worth nothing on the open market then.

          It’s a good signing in that the Oiler were banking on Hemsky returning to what he was capable of.

          I think it was one of the very few correct signing the Oilers management has done.

          • DSF

            I agree they had little choice but to re-sign him although I believe, had he been healthy, the best thing would have been to trade him at the deadline.

            Paying him $5M over 2 years though is nonsense based on his production.

            If they are smart, they will trade him at the upcoming deadline but I expect they won’t.

          • I think were talking the same language here, tough spot for the Oilers, I honestly think they would have unloaded him too.

            I’m not upset at the money, might make it hard to trade him but I doubt it…..There is really no other option but a trade.

            The Oilers would be going backwards if they extended him.

  • Word to the Bird

    What makes me smile is this quote by Jaromir Jagr (yes, that Jaromir Jagr):

    “He’s got talent, if he goes to a different team, it would be like a new start. Maybe he could get 100 points. He’s that skilled. Sometimes staying in one place won’t help players. Maybe that’s what he needs.”

    Crazy to think where Hemsky’s career would be if he didn’t have injury issues or played on an awful Edmonton team for the bulk of his career.

  • OilersBrass

    When I think of the Oilers Hemsky is the first person that comes to mind. He’s one of my favourites, and I hope the Oil are able to keep him around for a long tim.

  • DSF

    I hope the Oilers can keep Hemmer til he retires, the only thing that scares me about him is if he does stay injury free(nothing major) and he stays on the pace he’s on for the next 2 yrs, what will he want $$ wise? cant keep him if he wants more than 5mil per.

    Same could be said about Gagner too.

    Big decisions for Dithers indeed!! dont Fcuk this up tambo!!

  • RexLibris

    The Hemsky contract could be dumb, by some metrics, and let us say that it is, for the sake of the argument. However, taking that as a benchmark, the Parise contract would appear to be something well beyond the pale of stupidity.

    I seem to recall an official tweet from the Flames at the time of the Hemsky re-signing mocking the signing.

    The returns are still early, but it would be very rewarding to see those comments come back to haunt them.

    • DSF

      Nonsense.

      Since the last lockout, Parise has scored 202 goals and and 422 points and is +57.

      Hemsky has scored 113 goals and 377 points and is -28.

      Not even close.

      • I think Parise’s a better player than Hemsky, and I’d rather have him on my team, but your use of statistics remains hilarious.

        You omit points per game, even though Hemsky eclipses Parise in that department since the lockout.

        • DSF

          PPG is silly in assessing Hemsky.

          He’s had a long history of injury and one of these players also knows how to play defense and the other doesn’t.

          Your use of averages while ignoring reality is hilarious.

          • Eddie Shore

            Actually, ppg is the stat the normalizes the two players performances so that you can accurately compare the two on that single metric. It makes total sense precisely because he’s had more games lost to injury. Good grief.

            Parise > Hemsky. Call me nostalgic though; I’d still love to see the Oilers hang onto him so he can enjoy some long drinks from the fountain after years in the desert. I guess that’s why I’m not a G.M.

            Wait, neither is anyone else here.

          • DSF

            Good grief.

            Common sense will tell you that a player that has been injury prone througthout his career will be injury prone in the future.

            It’s why Gillis wouldn’t sign Salo, Mitchell and Ohlund to long term deals.

          • Good grief.

            Don’t change the lens now. We weren’t talking about that. We were talking about points totals of Hemsky and Praise post-lockout, and Willis correctly elected to counter your argument by raising the ppg fact.

            If you’d like to talk about signing injury-prone players we certainly can, but let’s not and say we did. Try staying on point.

            Good grief.

          • They absolutely do, of course.

            Wait, what results are we talking about here? Here’s a stat: both players have zero Stanley cups. That’s a key one.

            Oh and Parise has had knee surgery to address a meniscus problem. Minny’s signing of a player prone to a knee injury (we all know how fast one knee injury becomes a chronic problem) certainly merits a ‘good grief’ as well.

            I need a Charlie Brown avatar.

        • Good topic Willis.

          Your use of statistics could also be called into question especially the article on cult of hockey referring that Yakupov would be better off on another line is inaccurate.

          89-and 83 are the reason the second line is floundering, both Hemskys and Gagners numbers both are better when playing with Yakupov then without him.

          The WOWY numbers for both 89 and 83 are BETTER with Yakupov than without. If you want references I will get them.

          Also let’s not forget about RNH…………………….Still to soon to let it go Willis. 😉

          • On the WOWY numbers… had a long discussion on that here earlier today. One of my comments:

            I’ve seen the WOWY numbers with and without Yakupov, but what keeps me from putting too much trust in them is usage. Vic’s site isn’t up yet, so it’s impossible to check, but I suspect we’d find that 83-89 without Yakupov are playing more difficult minutes than they are with him. The fact that Yakupov’s at 55% ozone starts while Hemsky/Gagner are just over 50% is suggestive, though hardly definitive.
            By eye, I’ve actually been really impressed with Hemsky in the defensive zone, though like you I have mixed feelings about Gagner’s work there. I really don’t mean to put all of that line’s struggles in Yakupov’s lap, either – but I do think he’s the weakest link and would like to see how they perform with a guy like Smyth.

            You can disagree, but that’s how I see it. By eye and by number.

      • wiseguy

        Glad this was brought up. Hemsky only has 55 less points over 7 years but here’s the startling statistic: he’s -28 on a team that was -297 over that time. Parise is +57 on a team that was +87. Seems to me, Hemsky was outperforming his teammates by a significant margin and while Parise was underperforming, his stats being elevated by his team.
        It amazes me how a player can only be -28 when his team got outscored by 297 goals in that span. I agree with all others who’ve wondered just how good Hemsky would’ve been on a decent team.

        • Jeff

          Beauty response… I eagerly scrolled scrolled down to see the comeback, but, shockingly, there wasn’t one.

          No name calling, or passive agressive insults, just using his own numbers against him… left him speechless.

          I guess sometimes a guy is so dead set on trolling, that he doesn’t clue in his own numbers completely contradict his arguement.

          Well done.

  • It was a nice change of pace to see us keep the guy who made this team watchable during some absolutely awful seasons. Unfortunately, he likely won’t be around to see this team reach it’s potential. I definitely have time for a player like Hemmer who has more try than he is given credit for and has carried the load for many bad teams over the years.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    We treat Ryan Smyth like god around here. So much uproar when people started cutting him up after his horrible start. Hemsky’s been getting murdered around here for years now. Time to show him the same respect Smyth gets. After all, he can do so many things that Smyth can’t. He’s also done one thing Smitty will never be able to do, Hemmer never left town.

  • OilersBrass

    Why is it were so quick to sell Hemmer? Been our best player past ten years and looks rejuvenated if anything they should talking extension. Hall, Eberle, Schultz, Nuge, Yak and Hemmer can be attainable at 5-6 million per year. The cap will be at 90 million in a few years.

    • Word to the Bird

      While I do agree that Hemsky is the most likely to be traded off the Oilers, I fail to see how that has any relevancy to Hemsky being traded, unless they plan on getting Kadri. Also, Kadri is a young stud, so it’s hardly a fair comparison. Hall is outscoring Ovechkin right now and his cap hit is 3.775 million a year.

      • DSF

        Good GMs find value.

        Because Ovechkin looks like a mistake doesn’t mean Hemsky is any better value.

        Hemsky does NOT provide value and when you consider his shooting percentage is ridiculous, he’s pretty pedestrian.

        • Word to the Bird

          OF COURSE Kadri has more value right now, he’s 22. However, you can’t overlook Hemsky’s performance at the moment. His value is much higher than it was this time last year. It doesn’t matter if YOU don’t think so, other GM’s are taking notice.

          • That’s it…right in your post.

            He is performing at the moment, his value is probable as high as it will go, so now would be the best time to trade him.

            I like Hemsky, but he’s not going to get us anymore value then he would right now.

            I think we can all agree that someone has to go.

          • Why would you want to trade a player when he is one of your best players on the team at the moment? For what reason? Boredom?

            Hemsky’s value isn’t what he gets in a trade. Hemsky’s value is measured in his point production and the things he does for his team.

            You could trade two 1st round picks for an 1st line centre, but the value isn’t in that trade, the value is the results from it.

          • So explain then, how you are going to re-extend Hemsky’s contract, and get other essential players onto the team?

            I said I like Hemsky, has nothing to with the player it has to do with the numbers.

            Hemsky WILL start to decline in the next couple years; you want to extend a declining player?

            This is about the team and the future.

          • I would re-extend Hemsky’s contract just like any other, by negotiation.

            I don’t know what other “essential” players are exactly needed or whom exactly you are reffering to. At the moment, re-signing Hemsky is only a bad idea in your head. I don’t know why you feel that way.

            I believe Kevin Lowe and the Oilganization know what they are doing. I also believe that Hemsky would even take a pay cut(if necessary) to stay here. I don’t believe that is it, or ever was, the best idea for the Oilers or Hemsky to send him away.

            Hemsky is signed for another year, and then who knows.

            How do you know Hemsky is a declining player? What do you know that we don’t? What stats and percentages did you use to come up with that conclusion? Please explain.

            What exactly is about the team and the future? What exactly is the problem here and with Hemsky?

          • DSF

            IF Hemsky was shooting his career shooting percentage of 11.6% he would have 3G and 3A.

            6 points would have him around 200th in NHL points.

            Don’t think NHL GM’s can’t see he’s riding the percentages.

        • LOL? Really? What kind of grown ass man that is trying to get his valued opinion across uses LOL? What are you 12 years old?

          Kadri is 22. When Hemsky was 22, he was almost a PPG player that took his team within one victory of the Stanley Cup. At 22. Hemsky had already played over 200 NHL games, Kadri about 50.

          Kadri isn’t, never was and never will be a better player than Hemsky, just like you never did and never will have an opinion of your own.

          Your ego is too little to admit or even risk being wrong, so you just use tired ass stats that have nothing to do with nothing to push other peoples opinion you heard or read somewhere else.

          Get a clue, then, use that clue to find an opinion. I enjoy comments just as much as you do and the worth of them is the same to both of us-nothing.

    • DSF

      DSF I know you are just looking for an argument but ya great comparison… sounds like you sure know your hockey. Hemsky’s contract is fine and he is an excellent skilled player that brings fans out of there seats.

        • Eddie Shore

          What’s wrong with that? Hemsky is playing well and is helping the team win and makes some amazing plays? 2 years for 10 million ain’t bad… there are worse over pays. Hemsky is already signed… nice comment it sure added a lot to this forum.

          • Yes he is playing well, and no it’s not a bad signing now……….what about next year?

            what happens if he gets hurt in a contract year?

            What are you going to get next trade deadliine when teams know he’s a UFA at season end?

            Would you extend his contract?

            Fact is, he is at his peak now, and would be a great asset to use.

          • You remind me of sad people in the mall-if your outlook is going to be so negative, keep it at home and to yourself.

            What if? What if? What if DSF had common sense? We can only hope.

            But why do you hope and invision the worst?

            There are problems in today’s world that cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.

          • Well, I don’t visit malls, if you read my post’s I like Hemsky, seems to me you’re the one being confrontational.

            I’m debating on keeping Hemsky vs. trading him just like the article say’s, what are you doing? Cutting me down for my opinion,Class.
            As to your other post explain to me when the last person took a pay cut to stay on the Oilers?

            If you can’t see what other essential players the Oilers need then I’m just wasting my time having this conversation, the Oilers have many holes in the lineup, how do you propose the Oilers fill them?

            I know Hemsky is a declining player because there are mountains of stats that say players decline after 30, that’s the nature of getting old.
            As for Hemsky having another year and “who knows” your right, who knows, maybe he gets hurt in a contract year…..then what? Keep on signing him.

            http://capgeek.com/oilers

            please explain how the Oilers are going to fit under the cap in 3 years?
            You want to keep him then tell what players go?

            Who is going to replace the players leaving while fitting in Hemsky and his 5 million dollar cap hit.

          • I’m not being confrontational, I’m being inquisitive.

            I asked you why you want to trade Hemsky and for whom. You didn’t respond to my questions. You went on to tell me your negative outlook that has nothing to do with nothing.

            If you care to debate, then answer my questions so I can see where your coming from and where you going. All your giving me is you pessimistic visions.

          • I’ve reconsidered my position. You’re still wrong, but so was I.

            Nothing isn’t negative – it is like zero, which implies the complete absence of something. The same way you can’t “extra-zero” something, you can’t “intensify” a nothing.

            Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Oil.

          • I’m just DSFing you. To be honest, English is my 4th language and I don’t even know if what I was saying really made sense.

            Speaking of impasse-I refuse to play chess with that stupid rule.

            I also hate the agree to disagree statement, it is made for people who aren’t very stern on their stances. I like to argue until you agree with me.;-‘)

          • It doesn’t really make sense, that was/is the problem.

            There are two types of impasse – one wherein you accept that your opponent has equal skill and without agreeing to an end you are resigned to chasing each other around the board (ie. a king v king or king v king + knight scenario).

            The other type of impasse is the one where you recognize the opponent is never going to get it, and it isn’t worth continuing. If you are secure enough in your knowledge and convictions, you don’t need to beat others over the head with it – not unlike trying to prove a point to a fish. They’re never going to understand, but I can be pretty sure I’m right, even so.

            🙂

            I can DSF with the best of’em.

          • Word to the Bird

            What do you think we would get for Hemsky if we traded him? I would not extend his contract until the end of next year around the same time we extended it before. Why get rid of Hemmer when he is playing well… its not like we are going to trick another GM into giving up a 3-4 defenseman or a big centre. Wait till the trade deadline and if there is a good offer then make the decision. I say we roll with this team and see if we make the playoffs, if anyone I would trade Hartikanen… he’s soft and has no hands. What could we get for him?

          • Word to the Bird

            The sad reality is that you have to trade players while they’re playing good if you want fair value out of them, just ask scott howson. If I was Steve, I’d trade some of our pipe dream defensive prospects in a package for a roster defenseman, and not a depth d, a top 4 please.

          • That’s what you got? I did send you the link to capgeek correct?

            RNH might, sign for 5 flat as might Schultz Jr, I doubt it very much, but ok, you then have Hemsky at a lower rate than he is signed for at the moment that would be incorrect, he will not go down. So call it 5 again.

            Let’s assume Yakupov signs for 5. That’s 32 committed in two years.

            But you haven’t signed.

            1) Gagner-next year…… 2) Smid-next year…… 3) Jones-next year….. 4) Paajarvi-next year …….5) Hartikainen -next year……. 6) Petrell-next year or replacement…….. 7) Whitney-Next year or replacement top pairing defensive player! ……8) Sutton-next year or replacement…… 9) Fistric-next year or replacement……. 10) Vandevelde-next year or replacement……. 11) Peckham-Next year or replacement ……..12) Khabibulin-next year or replacement…….. 13 )Denis-Next year or replacement

            Potter–N.Schultz—Eager–Belanger–Lander–Petry–Dubnyk–Smyth ALL the year after.

            This is without Horcoffs contract as well.

            This constitutes the bulk of your team that needs to be signed; your math is no good.

            Not to mention your non-roster players, who next year can’t be placed in the minors any longer, as they will count against the cap. Someone has to go.

            I don’t want Hemsky to leave, it’s not about what you or I want, it’s the reality of the cap system. I don’t care who we get for Hemsky, you seemed to think I want Hemsky traded, I don’t, but reality suggest he will be the one traded.

          • How high can Hemsky’s trade value be? He has 10 points in 14 games… what could he get for him that would make the Oil a contender… we have the cap space right now so I would not be in a rush to ship him out. I say we trade Kleffbom (spelling) for a hard nose defenseman, he seems softer then Petry and comes with a pretty good resume so maybe we can trick the Islanders for example to giving up some grit for him. Hopefully the Oilers know what they are doing but a couple our pro scouts I think are one of the Sutters and Semenko so maybe we should stand pat for a while.

          • Word to the Bird

            A scorer who actually has a solid playmaking reputation could bring home more than you think from a contending team. As I said before, if a GM thinks his team is good enough for a legitimate cup run, they’ll make a move for Hemsky. Part of me wants Hemsky to stay with Edmonton for his entire career, but I know deep down that our core is sitting between the ages of 19-23, aka fab 5

          • Hartikainen is hurt so not much, even then not much when he’s healthy unless you package him.

            Not that what you’re saying is wrong, so please don’t take this the wrong way, but what happens if Hemsky gets hurt next year?

            All I am saying is that his value is at a peak right now, he is worth more on the open market now, he could be even more so next year but do you take the chance?

            I don’t see how the Oilers re-sign the players they need to, players that have to fill replacement players spots, re-sign RNH-Yakupov-Schultz and keep Hemsky….it’s not going to happen.

          • Word to the Bird

            I don’t think we should trade Hemsky, in the same way I don’t think we should trade any of our top 6 players, unless an offer too good to refuse is offered. Personally, the only completely untouchable players on our team are Hall, Nuge and Schultz.

  • Word to the Bird

    Besides, GM’s with contending teams aren’t as conservative as you once it gets down to crunch time. They want to build a team that will push them to the Holy Grail, and Hemsky can be looked at as that piece of the puzzle.

  • Word to the Bird

    Besides, GM’s with contending teams aren’t as conservative as you once it gets down to crunch time. They want to build a team that will push them to the Holy Grail, and Hemsky can be looked at as that piece of the puzzle.

  • Chuckpuck5000

    Ya i like hemsky , always have , he is entertaining to watch . Can have the sickest dekes and perfect passes. Im sure he will continue to light it up with all the other boys and we will make the playoffs this year and go on a solid run. I feel like i need oilers playoff hockey this year . Lets go oilers. (throws on nation hoodie and runs around neighbourhood screaming lets go oilers lets go )

  • I love the idea that the Oilers should have traded Hemsky at the deadline (if he were healthy), but since he wasn’t should definitely have signed him (but not for $5 million/year for two years), laughably assuming that he would have settled for less money with UFA status ahead of him. Even coming off a lousy year, I’m pretty sure Ales Hemsky’s agent knows how to interpret Tuomo Ruutu (never hit 60 points, hit just 34 points last year) signing a four-year deal with a $4.75 million cap hit.

    The Oilers made the best of bad options: they signed Hemsky to a short-term deal, keeping him in the system while avoiding the significant risk inherent in a long-term deal and avoiding trading him in a year where his value was at an all-time low. I’m not shy about criticizing the team, but I try to wait until I actually think they’ve done something wrong.