We’re going to hear a lot about the Edmonton Oilers this summer. New general manager Craig MacTavish is prepared to wheel and deal in order to get his team to the level they need in order to reach the postseason. That might include some tough decisions on a few bigger name forwards.
It appears that MacTavish is already set to deal a pair of forwards. The purpose here is likely to upgrade the defense, potentially the goaltending, and perhaps find some more depth players that can support their outstanding core of young offensive talent. And we know who the first two names out the door will be.
In a rare moment of a front office exec being extremely candid, MacTavish has already stated that the team is expected to move on from forwards Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. Both were believed to be players that the Oilers could shop, but we hear from the GM himself that they’re very likely gone this summer.
Hemsky has one year remaining on his current contract, which carries a $5 million cap hit. He’s not going to be back in free agency next summer, so moving him makes some sense. After a couple of 70-point seasons early in his career, his time with the Oilers has largely been a disappointment compared to the rest of their offensive core.
The captain, Horcoff, is another story. He still has some value for the Oilers. He’s set to become a free agent next year, carrying a cap hit of $5.5 million for the next two years. Unlike Hemsky, Horcoff provides stability at a position of need for the Oilers, in the middle. He’s one of their only consistent presences at the faceoff dot. On top of that, he’s the captain and a veteran leader. It’s interesting that MacTavish seems set on dealing him.
It will be interesting to see what the return is for each of the Oilers’ veteran forwards. There’s still plenty of game left for each of them, and in a thin free agent market, the return could be very good. This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on as draft night nears at the end of the month.