Former NHL GM: “I don’t know if they can get [a second round pick] for Hemsky”

Craig Button, the one-time general manager of the Calgary Flames, does not believe Ales Hemsky has much in the way of trade value. Barely any trade value at all, in point of fact.

The Quote

Here’s Button, as quoted by the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson:

I don’t think there’s a market for him … I shouldn’t say there’s no market. But the salary cap is coming down to $64.3 million. He makes $5 million for one more year. Would the Oilers pick up half of that to trade him, 50-50 (with another team)? That would still free up $2.5 million in cap space for the Oilers. I don’t know if they can get something tangible in return for Hemsky. Andrew Cogliano got the Oilers a second-round draft (pick). I don’t know if they can get that for Hemsky.


So, in Button’s scenario, the Oilers eat half of Hemsky’s salary and deal him to a team that will pay $2.5 million per season, and they can’t land a second-round draft pick?

For starters: if the Oilers somehow couldn’t get a second-round pick for a guy making $2.5 million who scores like Hemsky, than they may as well fire the general manager now because he’s hopeless. This link has a list of active players with similar scoring rates to Hemsky over the last five seasons (Hemsky, by the way, ranks 59th among NHL forwards over the last five years in points-per-game which is well above the pace of most second-line forwards).

It’s not a great list, but it really isn’t a bad one either. Joffrey Lupul was dealt in 2011 as part of a package for Francois Beauchemin; the Maple Leafs liked him enough to sign him to a five year extension worth more than $5 million and including a limited no-trade clause. Martin Erat was considered enough of a return for the Capitals to give up star prospect Filip Forsberg. There are other examples, too; Jaromir Jagr earned more of a return as a rental player at the deadline than Button is suggesting Hemsky would fetch at half his salary and for a full year.

Hemsky isn’t going to fetch a massive return – he likely won’t bring in a top-pairing defenceman or a power forward for the second line – but it’s lunacy to think he can’t fetch a second-round draft pick at a $2.5 million cap hit.

Recently around the Nation Network

There has been a lot of talk in Edmonton about the possibility of drafting Sean Monahan, but one of the problems for such aspirations is that the Calgary Flames pick before the Oilers, and he’s certainly a potential fit for that club as well. In Flames first round target: Sean Monahan, Kent Wilson looks at the numbers and the scouting reports; here’s part of what he had to say:

In some ways, Monahan’s scouting reports sounds a lot like recent CHL graduates Gabriel Landeskog and Sean Courturier, both of whom were considered more or less "NHL ready" right out of the draft because of their size and the completeness of their games. Neither guy has set the world on fire offensively in the NHL at this point, but both are already playing tough competition and surviving/thriving in the show as kids.

 Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some recent pieces here at Oilers Nation:

  • horndog77

    There has been a lot of talk in Edmonton about the possibility of drafting Sean Monahan, but one of the problems for such aspirations is that the Calgary Flames pick before the Oilers, and he’s certainly a potential fit for that club as well. In Flames first round target: Sean Monahan.

    Suits me fine, as I’m hoping the Oiler’s pick Elias Lindholm. PLEASE DON’T TRADE THAT PICK MR IMPATIENT & MR KNOWS ABOUT WINNING, JUST SHUT UP PLEASE.

  • DSF

    At $.50 on the dollar , Hemsky remains with us till trade deadline when his value goes up markedly if he’s having a good season . Chances are , a talent like that should considering our other blossoming talents . We need an upgrade for Hemsky and we are not going to get it dealing him before next trade deadline .

    Oilers will probably go for Ribero and someone like B.Sutter . The rest (other 4) will probably just be promotions from the farm club . Will it be enough to be competitive ? Probably not unless we get an additional defenceman of note .

  • Romanus

    You all seem to be basing your low opinions of team and Oilers on the last 8 games of season , when unhealthy Hopkins and Hemsky were basically out ! Might be better and more accurate to put more weight into the first 40 games .

  • Eddie Edmonton

    Button is out to lunch, no wonder he is unemployed.

    How does TSN think that having a pannel of nobodies counts for something or even a worthy opinion.
    Who does that ex Calgary backup goalie know at TSN to get a job there. Who is that guy anyway?

    Who at TSN thinks people want to hear Kulios? or whatever his name is? The man seems emotionally and mentally unstable for most of the boredcast.

    GTFOH with TSN and their poor opinions and insider information.

    • DSF

      Button is a tool, but he is right in that the market for Hemsky, just like a number of other players with higher salaries, is limited this season due to the cap roll back. This is also a summer that will be bad for a lot of the UFAs as well………

  • Romanus

    Button is always out to cut down the Oilers, all the talking heads at TSN go out and undervalue a guy like Hemsky and yet they were making huge deals involving guys like Dominic Moore a few years ago. I remember watching Tradecenter and all of them making different scenarios and trade proposals for Moore. If Hemsky played for Toronto they’d be talking a Hemsky for Weber deal.

    Hemsky has had a few years with a wonky shoulder, his best seasons are a memory right now. I wouldn’t say his value is less then a draft pick. His comparables are Havlat, Hossa and Gaborik and when’s the last time any of these guys scored more then 30 goals and 70 points? Havlat got traded straight across for Heatley and Havlat is injured as much as Hemsky is! Gaborik is just as much a band aid as the aforementioned two. I hate this constant undervaluing of our players, if you asked Button right now he’d put the five core players valued at a second rounder at best.

    When Hemsky is on the guy is ON! He can break the game wide open and I feel he’s been playing with a broken body the past few years. I’d give him the first 20 games to see what kind of hot start he can come up with. Hemsky had been the lone highly skilled player on this team for the past six years before Hall, Eberle and Nuge showed up. He constantly had to make the players around him better, he did it admirably but one man cannot run a ship.

    • DSF

      You couldn’t get a second round pick for Heatley or Havlat either.

      Both have toxic contracts which were traded for each other.

      Gaborik is a different beast entirely.

      In 2011/12 he scored 41 goals and 76 points.

      He’s in an entirely different area code than Hemsky.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    So, everyone who has a low opinion of the Oilers, is off their rocker eh, he’s a bum and not just being truthful about most of the Oiler players.

    Maybe if the Oilers had someone who faces this reality in management, we wouldn’t have to watch this ship year after year after year.

    Good on Button for calling a spade, a spade.

    • DSF

      Shooting the messenger is the raison d’etre of Oiler fans.

      If you have to pay half of Hemsky’s contract just to get rid of him, you need to be asking “who signed him to that contract?”.

      It rhymes with Devin Blowe.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        How much blame should Blowe take for that Horcoff contract. At the time, Katz had just taken control of the Oilers, and wanted to stop the exodus of the Oilers better players leaving town. So he wanted to make a statement with Horcoffs redonkulous extension.

        Who takes the blame on that one, Blowe, or Katz. 65-35 Katz?

        • Eddie Edmonton

          That all depends on how much blowe you do.

          Imagine all the blowe lowe could do if lowe wanted to do blowe. Imagine the high he gets, being the head cheese of an NHL team. An NHL team, he got drafted by, scored their first goal in the league, became their first player to coach, then a GM and then today. His best friend is the owner of the team. I wonder if Ma$e and Brandy are there with him.

      • Eddie Edmonton

        What message? Who is the messenger?

        I thought this article was about some hasbeens pisspoor opinion.

        Hemsky with the current contract is easily worh a 2nd round pick to a play-off team.

        The Oilers dont have to pay half of Hemsky’s contract to get rid of him. They dont even need to get rid of him.

        No matter how hard you imagine you will never be Kevin Lowe.
        AND, no matter how hard Button tries, he will never have another GM job in the NHL.

        • Eddie Edmonton

          So DSF and a former GM who may actually have sources are clueless but you know for a fact that the Oil can get a 2nd rounder easily? Sounds reasonable.

          • Eddie Edmonton

            I didn’t say I knew for a fact, I don’t. I was stating my opinion just like every other GM on here.

            What sounds reasonable?

            Apply reason, then, honestly, try to tell me that the best Oilers would get for Hemsky is a 3rd round pick.

          • Eddie Edmonton

            Although I don’t know, I would assume the reasons would include injury history, strong draft, lack of production despite being just an offensive player, contract in a declining cap era and the fact that he will be a 30 year old player. And, the Flames don’t have a 2nd rounder.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    First of all:

    Craig Button is one of the smartest hockey minds on the planet! If Kevin Blow… I mean Kevin Lowe was a smart man…. He’d of hired Button as G.M.


    HEMSKEY is 29… If I was GM of another team… Umm don’t think I’d give up a second round prospect for Hemmer. Srry guys.


    Keep him until trade deadline day and maybe just maybe we can get a diminishing prospect or two!


    Ten games into the season… If the oilers are sub .500. …. Then it’s time to axe Krueger. K.Lowe. Buchberger. S.Smitg and the entire administration…. Period!! The LA Lakers did it barely 5 games into their season and turned it around prior to the playoffs.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    2 more thoughts…

    HEMSKEY has never had anyone in EDM to play with him on his level. If he did.. This dude would have been Sidney Crosby good. Who Ethan Moreau? LARAQUE??? Peca???? Yeah right!!!!

    There’s a guy here with the name “Has Taylor Hall asked to be traded yet?” What’s with that?? Why???

  • Eddie Shore

    Yeah second rounders are worthless like the Oilers in 2006 picked up Sergei Samsonov from Boston for a second rounder (54th overall) that Boston used to draft Milan Lucic. 2 nd rounders + a competent scouting staff can sometimes work wonders.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    It’s awesome that the Oiler trolls find themselves twisting in knots to defend the genius of Button.

    Strange bedfellows!

    I can’t wait until we hear Milbury’s assessment of Gagner.

  • Zamboni Driver

    What I think the Oilers REALLY need is a 2nd round draft pick.

    Also a few more guys about 5’9″.

    Possibly an old goalie.

    Who gives a hell if they can get a 2nd rounder for Hemsky or not?

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    trade #7, Hemsky and pay half his salary, and Marincin to Carolina, in return for Carolina’s #5, Justin Faulk, and swap the Canes 2nd rounder with the Oil’s 5th rounder as compensation for paying half of Hemmers salary….then the Oil can snitch Monahan from under the Flames noses at #5, and the Canes could draft Hunter Shinkaruk at #7 and add another winger who, along with Hemmer, could play along side both Staal bros. it’s just that easy!!!!! i’ll plug my ears while you fire away…

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Although the message is not popular, I don’t think Button is that far off. How many seasons has it been since AH has preformed up to expectations? I’m thinking 4.

    If you are another team why would you take on a 5 million dollar contract for a guy who hasn’t produced in years. Even at half price return would not be great.

    Only option for the Oil is to keep Hemsky and hope he plays better. If he does play well next year he could get a good return at the deadline (if the Oilers are sellers). If he has another injury filled disappointing year, they have just wasted a bunch or Katz’s money.

    Oilers fans have had a tendency to severely overrate Hemsky.