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.

Uh-huh

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:

  • Reg Dunlop

    I would blame Tabelini for many things, but maybe not so much on not moving Hemsky. I think
    Mr. Lowe had a big say on this. In fact there was believe that Lowe himself sealed the 2 year, $ 5 million extension with Hemsky. The buck stops at his desk, so if Tamb. brought a deal that didnt include Malkin, then Lowe would not approve it.

    The only hope of getting a return on Hemsky is packaging him with other components to make a deal. Or buy him and Horcoff, out of their contracts and open up some serious money.

  • Spydyr

    “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”

    Good thing the Oilers won those last two not quite so meaningless games. Some of us caught flack hoping for loses. In hindsight what would you rather have four meaningless points or Sean Monahan?

    Thought so.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Rishaug was saying he had ‘heard’ that Tambo had an offer for Hemsky that involved Erat coming to Edmonton, but, as usual, Tambo couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. Don’t know what else was involved, but on the surface, it was probably a mistake.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      This is all just part of this holding out for a better draft pick option management has clung to for the last 4 yrs. This losing is the best option method, is really teaching these kids that winning isn’t everything/all that important.

      Don’t have any confidence that Lowe will be able to ever get this thing turned around. We all must see this now as we head directly into these Infinibuild years. Not even MacTavish and his MBA can fix this mess with Lowe telling him how to do his job.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It is comical how delusional Oiler fans are regarding Hemsky’s worth around the league.

    He is not worth much because he is a badly overpaid, fragile under achiever.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hemsky marches to the beat of his own drummer. He is treated a little differently than most of his teammates. His work ethic and overall indifferent attitude has spread throughout this whole hockey club. He’s just one of a few guys on this team that are willing to tolerate this Edmonton situation for the sake of a paycheque.

    These guys have set the bar far too low here for a lot of years, while management stood behind them, paying them, and parading them like they were amongst the leagues elite. Hockey fans in Edmonton can’t be expected to fix dumb, but why is the only option, to support SHIP like this?

    • Reg Dunlop

      Hate to say I agree. There are only 6 players on the oil roster that have any value in trade. The rest, even Sam Pollock couldn’t give away. Next year does not look good but, as I’m sure the plan has been all along, when the new arena opens we will be rid of all the non-NHL-calibre player contracts. This era in oil hockey will go down in history along side the ’70s Golden Seals and ’80s Devils. Embarrassing and disgraceful.

  • Word to the Bird

    Hemsky is a sublime talent. There’s no arguing that. I just don’t know if there’s a market for aging wingers-especially ones with large injury histories.

    I hope they send Hemsky east and watch him light up the scoresheet

  • bwar

    If no one is willing to trade an asset for Hemsky it is time to start talking extension. See if he is interested in a “hometown” discount to stay long term. He could transition to a 3rd line scoring threat, with the ability to run a 2nd PP unit.

    • Word to the Bird

      While the talent is both there for them, the reason why JBo got good value is because he is one of the most durable players in the league. Hemsky meanwhile, is one of the most injury prone players in the league. This is the reason why nobody really wants him is because they don’t know how many games they’ll get out of him.

  • Hemsky might be higher up if you look at the last 5 years, but other GMs are really going to scrutinize the last two and focus on how he’s barely mustered any offense in those two. And do GMs want guys who miss a lot of hockey each year?

    2008-09 10 games

    2009-10 60 games

    2010-11 35 games

    2011-12 13 games

    2012-13 10 games

    So, 128 games down the toilet in the last 5 seasons, or an overage of 26 per season.. of course 1 of those seasons accounted for half, another accounted for about a quarter… but I think a similar logic is being applied when figuring his points per game pace when only one of those good seasons was based over a reasonable number of games.

    Anyways, I’m not trying to put Hemsky down and say he has no value to us, but personally I don’t think Button is out of line by thinking it’d be a miracle to get a 2nd rounder. I’m sure he’d get a little more than that. But that quote about “2 deadlines ago” (where he’d only fetch a 2nd + 4th) should tell you his value now when the last two seasons since then he’s been on a significant downward trend.

    I will actually admit that I don’t really want Hemsky here any more, but I try to be objective when it comes to putting a value on a player, and I just find Hemsky a really tough sell to other teams. We aren’t going to get anywhere near full value for him even if most of us know he’s worth more than that. So on that note, maybe those suggesting to trade Gagner over Hemmer are right. MacT has his work cut out..

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      “Anyways, I’m not trying to put Hemsky down and say he has no value to us, but personally I don’t think Button is out of line by thinking it’d be a miracle to get a 2nd rounder. I’m sure he’d get a little more than that. But that quote about “2 deadlines ago” (where he’d only fetch a 2nd + 4th) should tell you his value now when the last two seasons since then he’s been on a significant downward trend.”

      Except he didn’t just say Hemsky was worth a 2nd. He said something much, much worse.

      he said, Hemsky at only 2.5M (i.e., the Oil eat half his salary and cap) is probably not worth a 2nd.

      Who in their right mind would turn down that trade. Button would have 29 teams trying to be the lucky 1st caller in.

      I appreciate you trying to weigh reasonable value in light of your bias (I have the same problem in the other direction)… but the deal Button suggests is all-world crazy.

      • Damn it.. my reply just got eaten.

        Anyways, long story short….

        I interpreted Button’s comments about retaining half of Hemsky’s salary and getting a 2nd rounder (if we’re lucky) for him as separate thoughts. That might not be true though. I do agree that Hemsky at $2.5M should be worth more than just a 2nd rounder.

        I am also not completely against Hemsky. I think when he’s on, he’s a treat to watch and a force. But I think that blinds people a bit too much.. I don’t think he’s a very regularly dominant player, and I also think the injuries have taken such a toll that we never really know how many games he’ll be good for each year. I think he represents something that will always hold us back. I think we need to look ahead. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we hung on to him, but I’d prefer to turn the page and fill his game roster spot with a strong winger that opens up space for the other talent we have here.

        It’s like each year our excitement is high because we have a better Hemsky ready to go.. then the wheels fall off that and we’re stuck saying.. oh damn, no more Hemsky.. well maybe Omark / Paajarvi / insertotherplayer can fill in for him… and they can’t. Really Hemsky is a good player and important here, but I don’t think he fulfills our need for enough of the season, if you get my meaning.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          here’s the piece so we don’t all have to guess:

          http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Hockey+World+Ales+Hemsky+days+Edmonton/8407920/story.html

          and here’s the quote:

          “I don’t think there’s a market for him … I shouldn’t say there’s no market,” said former NHL general Craig Button, who now works for TSN. “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,” Button said.

          I guess you can interpret that two ways… but it seems more logical to me that he is continuing down the same path in his line of thought.

          Not sure how we could resolve it really. One problem is the way Matheson inserts info into the quote and then a paragraph break… so you are unsure if he broke up the line of thought, or if Button presented these things as separate ideas.

          I take your point about “saw him bad for too long”… but I don’t think that is a good way to manage your assets… i.e., I get your attitude: “let’s just move on already”… but if you are running a team that way, you ought to be fired immediately.

          Bad GMs get fixated on certain players either being the problem or the solution (“Lucic will fix everything! here’s everything I have!!!”)

          If Hemsky’s value is really so low on the market as to make Button’s assessment his best possible return… well, then you’d be insane to take that return to simply move on from the player. Much better to retain the asset, keep him on the 3rd line if need be, hope he rebounds and take whatever comes next year.

          There are two right answers here: Button doesn’t have a clue and any GM that follows his logic belongs on the same panel of failed GMs.

      • DSF

        No, no it isn’t.

        There are going to be more than a few players players bought out and will be available for nothing, nevermind a second round pick.

        One example is David Booth, another injury prone winger who has similar stats to Hemsky since the last lockout but can’t stay healthy.

        It’s likely the Canucks buy him out so, not only does another team not have to spend assets to acquire him, they also don’t have to live with any part of his last contract.

        You can bet that the market for Hemsky, even at $2.5M, is very, very small.

        • DSF

          Hemsky since lockout: 467GP 345P. .74PPG

          Booth since lockout: 377GP 199P .53PPG

          Difference .21PPG

          I guess Eberle(.8PPG) and Stamkos(1.03PPG) also have similar career stats. Equal value I guess.

          Don’t know which lockout you’re talking about, or which hemsky you’re talking about.

          Also Booth just came off a 12 game season.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            oops that’s wrong. Hemsky’s PPG was actually .83PPG after the lockout.

            So a difference of 0.3PPG

            Do you even think or research before you type dumb comments like “David Booth, another injury prone winger who has similar stats to Hemsky since the last lockout”?

            I don’t think you realize the player Hemsky was before 2012.

          • DSF

            Yeah, I’m sure those extra 20 points aper season that occurred mainly half a decade ago will be enough to supercharge his value.

            Bottom line is, in his last 4 seasons, he’s averaged 30 points.

          • 2 of them he was near a point per game. Don’t get me wrong, Hemsky doesn’t have much value at all on the trade market. But to say he n booth have similar stats since the lockout is ridiculous. Hemsky’s been extremely good since the lockout. Booth had 1 good season.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I completely agree. That is how I see his trading valu too.

      Trade him for a big, mean, 25 year old who can win a face off and centre the third or fourth line.

  • Eddie Shore

    I like hemsky and I think he would be a good option moving forward. I think you use this as leverage for his next contract and you give him some term for value.
    I think if you have hemsky at a bargain contract its worth it and it would be nice to have that depth on the 3rd line and he is a perfect guy to fill in on the top 6 if we have injuries.

  • Eddie Shore

    There are parts of Hemsky’s game that every hockey fan loves………but he is the furthest thing from a complete hockey player, and has never showed the ” team play”, aspect that we so desperately need.

    Too much end-to-end play with the occasional finish is not enough to get anything more than a secoud round draft choice. We could have probably had Forseberg but Tamby do nothing, did nothing.

    At this point I would settle for a third round draft choice for Hemsky. Bye Bye.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      so you want someone like Horcoff a good all around sh*t storm.

      hemmer would be a good player for any team, and on a good team he would put up more points so talk about players that play there hart out but play like sh*t, we need hemmer for the some sweet moves he has a lot more talent then you think.

  • horndog77

    I said the same thing yesterday on LTs article. Hemsky in most scenarios should fetch a earlier second rounder. So is a second round pick more valueable than Ales or saving cap space for others? May as well let him play out his contract, hopefully he plays well and they trade him at the deadline. I would like to see them trade Hemsky+7th overall+ second b pick to Nashville for their 4th overall.

    • Eddie Shore

      You know what Nashville would say to this trade.

      “Hemsky+7th overall+ second b pick to Nashville for their 4th overall.”

      Yes we will do it on 1 condition you keep Hemsky.

  • Czar

    That’s why I say trade Gagner as he’s got better value. Keep Hemsky cause you need the either Hemsky or Gagner. Gagner can fetch more, and I don’t think team needs another 4.5-5 million dollar winger. Trading Gagner for a return, and then when Hemsky’s contract is done this team should have cap flexibility moving forward. Hemsky still produces. I remember a lot of games near the end of the season where this team was dreadful without Hemsky. His value is understated, and before the injury the Oilers were in the playoff mix, and then after they tanked. Hemsky is still a dynamic player, teams still have to know when he’s on the ice. I think we might be looking at being more objective if he wasn’t slowed by the foot injury for a month.

    I think we should be seeing some articles on buying out Shawn Horcoff, and finding replacements. Or what a return on Gagner might be.

  • Czar

    Hemsky would have been traded years ago but he is just not worth that much to other teams.

    C’mon you can’t finish last so many times and second last with good players and on and on.

    Outside of a few players on the Oilers most NHL teams know the Oilers have players with lipstick on.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      LT wrote this on his blog today:

      “Two deadlines ago, Derek Van Diest from the Sun told me (this was during an on air segment on the Team 1260) that the strongest offer for Hemsky was a 2nd and a 4th (and it came from Nashville).”

  • PlayDirty

    Button still wears Flames coloured glasses. Wasn’t he the GM during their last playoff drought? I don’t know how he even maintains a broadcasting role – he’s irrelevant.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    There’s a reason button doesn’t have a GM spot anymore.

    Operating as a GM on the basis of idiosyncratic beliefs about players is the fastest way to ruin a hockey team.

    And… Matheson has a track record of targeting Hemsky for BS reasons.