The Ottawa Senators joined the ever-churning NHL trade market on Wednesday afternoon by shipping a third and fifth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft off to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ales Hemsky. Upon first hearing about this trade, it was hard to take a step back and figure out what exactly Senators general manager Bryan Murray was thinking.
In Hemsky the Senators will be getting a winger who is supremely talented, as he is a great skater, is a natural born playmaker with the puck on his stick and has the ability to find time and space. And while these are all talents that are valuable, the 30-year-old hasn’t been an elite point producer in four years, which can be attributed to a seeming lack of effort and discipline in the offensive zone. These are two traits that are often the downfall of teams come playoff time, and it must be wondered why exactly the Senators think Hemsky will change his ways for them.
What makes this trade even worse than the fact that Hemsky is not a player well equipped to make a dent in the NHL Playoffs is that the Senators aren’t in a genuine position to even make the postseason in 2014. Currently they sit 12th in the Eastern Conference and are separated by four points and four teams from even sneaking into the last playoff spot. Furthermore, the Senators actually have high end offensive depth, and their real need is in rectifying a defense that ranks 27th in goals against per game and 23rd in penalty kill percentage.
To give up two draft picks for a rental player that at best will aid the team into one of the last playoff spots and a beatdown at the hands of either the Boston Bruins or Pittsburgh Penguins is almost laughable. What turns this laughing into crying is that from 2010 to 2012 the third and fifth rounds produced Frederik Andersen, Connor Carrick, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, Radko Gudas and Michael Bournival. This doesn’t mean every low round pick will produce a gem, but they shouldn’t be thrown out the window either.
In the end, this looks like a trade that looks like a no-win situation for the Senators that fans will look back at and simply shake their heads. This feeling will only be made worse if Hemsky goes walking at the end of the season in free agency and Ottawa essentially is left with two lost picks for a year without playoff hockey and two missing draft picks.