More Ales Hemsky trade rumours!

He’s no Roberto Luongo, but Ales Hemsky is no stranger to trade rumours. The lead-up to last season’s trade deadline featured his name prominently in proposed and rumoured deals; it caught many by surprise when the Oilers opted to re-sign him rather than trade him.

With NHL hockey on its way back, the rumours seem to have started again.

Why I don’t buy *these* rumours

The Fourth Period, which bills itself as “Hockey’s Lifestyle Magazine” says that Hemsky could be on the move in exchange for a young defenceman and specifically cites four Eastern Conference teams as possibly having an interest in the player: the Panthers, Devils, Islanders and Jets.

The piece is here. Personally, I don’t buy it for a bunch of reasons:

  • One of the players cited as going the other way – TFP goes so far as to say a league source told them the Jets and Oilers “could soon explore a deal” involving him – is Zach Bogosian. Bogosian had wrist surgery at the end of August and was expected to miss between four and six months; he skated for the first time since the surgery just four days ago. That makes it hard to include him in a deal.
  • Also, Bogosian had a great year last season filling in when guys like Enstrom and Byfuglien were out of the lineup; it seems a stretch to say the Jets are looking to deal him now.
  • The piece describes the Oilers defence as Justin Schultz “leading a defensive corps that includes veterans Ryan Whitney, Ladislav Smid and Nick Schultz” and makes no mention of Jeff Petry – the 25-year old who led the team in ice-time per game last year and is expected to form one half of the first pairing.
  • The piece also describes the Oilers second line as Sam Gagner, Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky – despite expectations that Smyth will start the year on the third line alongside Shawn Horcoff. This isn’t a critical mistake – we haven’t seen the Oilers lines yet, after all – but it seems odd.

Put it all together and there’s no reason to think that The Fourth Period has any special knowledge of internal Oilers discussions regarding Ales Hemsky. There’s also no reason to believe they, or their "league source" have any special knowledge of internal Jets conversations. 

Why Hemsky might get dealt anyway

While I don’t find these specific rumours credible, an Ales Hemsky trade continues to be well within the realm of possibility.

The Oilers have strength on the wings, much of it extremely young. They have needs elsewhere. Hemsky, particularly given his injury history, is a valuable player but seems to be seen as a guy the club could move forward without.

The Oilers could probably use another defenceman, too. The addition of Justin Schultz helps a lot, and there’s a fairly decent supporting cast, but a top-pairing defender could dramatically change the complexion of the team. Hemsky’s probably not going to bring that guy back in trade, but the idea of swapping him for another top-four guy to round out the group, or as part of a package for a big centre is plausible.

We also know the Oilers are interested in making a move. The “wow factor” move that Bob Stauffer brought up this fall generated considerable discussion, and even though that move now seems unlikely, it was all but confirmed at the time by Kevin Lowe. I’m convinced there were legitimate discussions, and reviewing the Oilers’ assets Hemsky hits the sweet spot of having value but also being tradable.

Put shortly: a trade wouldn’t surprise me. What would surprise me is if the unknown author behind The Fourth Period’s report has actual knowledge of such a trade.

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  • Wax Man Riley

    I say no to a Hemsky trade. the only way I trade Hemsky is if a PROVEN #1 D comes back, or a younger (-26 year old) center with size and skating ability that can be a real #1A/#2 C that can replace Gagner.

    Hemsky has experience, and has been a loyal soldier when he was our only skill player. He makes a dynamite #1,#2,#3 RW depending on what is needed.

    • Light, Sweet, Crude

      Plus he has been battling through injury the past 2-3 years. Off his Czech Elite League performance recently, this would appear to be the first time in years he is starting the season healthy. He’s going to turn some heads this season.

  • DieHard

    Hemsky should retire an Oiler (just like Smid). After this contract do another 2 years at less money and keep doing it. He is needed for secondary scoring, his experience and backup for top 6 work (eventually). Please keep him.

  • Truth

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I want to see Ryane Clowe become an Oiler, if it takes Hemsky to be part of a deal for that to happen I’m all for it.

    That does not fit the young defenseman rumour, but I think the Oilers would benefit greatly from getting bigger and meaner up front. Clowe can play top 6 minutes, puts up good numbers, and most importantly isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

    • Truth

      Well if we are looking at bolstering the blue line how about Taylor Hall for Victor Hedman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Erik Gudbranson. Why bother with Hemsky for Bogosian when the Oilers could just do Eberle for Bogosian.

      If you are saying Yakupov for Larsson I think you are nuts. If you are saying Yakupov for Larsson + something very considerable then I could buy it. My opinion only.

  • Bob Cobb

    Ales Hemsky is not going anywhere, he will play out his new 2 year contract than be a free agent. Despite the kids, Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yak and Schultz the Oilers still need the experience that Hemsky brings. Hall, Eberle and RNH will probably be the top line, meaning Hemsky will see easier competition and in my veiw Hemsky will have a bounce back year. If they trade him it wouldn’t suprise me if it was this summer around the draft.

  • OilClog

    Seems ridiculous to me that Hemsky is just tossed around in trade rumors. Before the wonder kids he was all we had to look forward to, now we have pieces for him to play with and were gonna move him?! Frustrating as a fan.

      • Yea he is one of my favourites as well……..about one out of every 100 (end to end )plays that he makes is actually productive.

        If Hemsky could actually learn about team play ( that being making the play while the play is there) and not individual play, I would say keep him.

        Watching him trying to beat every player on the opposition only to lose the puck is very frustrating.

        • Yep, that’s me.

          I’m a cunning devil. I write a crap article based on pointless speculation anonymously. Then I rip that article under my own name, simultaneously driving traffic to it.

          You got me. I applaud your courage, intellect, grammatical fortitude and undoubtedly devastating good looks.

    • Irfani

      exactly, i agree with you,
      Hemsky has been our best player for 8 years and now we just trade him becaose we got few better players.
      this trade would not make oilers better.
      plus next year we have Clefbom coming to NHL, where is he gonna fit.

  • RexLibris

    If the Oilers are interested in moving Hemsky they could capitalize closer to the trade deadline by tying Hemsky’s value to the potential bidding war that could emerge around players like Iginla.

    In the same way that Ponikarovsky’s value was raised as a consolation prize during the Kovalchuk trade hoopla.

    It might be prudent to wait until the season begins, though, and allow Hemsky to either partner with, or shelter, Yakupov.