In an offseason of change for the Edmonton Oilers, it’s pretty surprising that Ales Hemsky is still around. Statements from Craig MacTavish earlier this summer indicated that Shawn Horcoff and Hemsky were the prime names he was looking to move, with no shortage of takers likely for either forward.
Horcoff, the captain, has since been traded. Hemsky is still around, though, and MacTavish has since indicated that he is planning on standing pat for the remainder of the summer. Take that with a grain of salt, of course, given the heavy Dion Phaneuf rumors that are beginning to surface involving the Oilers.
Hemsky is heading into the last season of his deal, one which carries a cap hit of $5 million. Many teams aren’t willing to take on that type of money in a trade, but for one year, and with Hemsky’s upside, it’s not anything that would prove impossible to move if they wanted to trade him.
But holding onto Hemsky wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Oilers. In fact, they’re not in a position where they have to deal him at all. Which is probably why he’s still around, as MacTavish may be asking plenty for the veteran forward, knowing that he could also hold onto him.
The Oilers would be just fine with Hemsky in the mix. In fact, they might be better off. He’s heading into a contract year, which tends to lead to an upswing in player performance. He’s coming off of a couple of down years, including just 20 points in 38 games in 2013. Having an offensive player with Hemsky’s upside in your lineup can’t hurt, though.
That doesn’t mean that he’ll stick around for the remainder of the summer. Even if he does, he may not make it past the trade deadline, depending on his first half performance. But the Oilers aren’t in a position where they absolutely have to deal him, and would be just fine rolling into the new season with Ales Hemsky in the fold.