The Oilers have a long and storied tradition of trading away their good players for draft picks, might-bes and a wheelbarrow full of hope. Long-time Oilers fans know the process so well that they've resigned themselves to Ales Hemsky's impending trade for a prospect and a draft pick. Hemsky is a legitimate NHL top-line player. He plays the tough minutes and outscores at even strength. He's the best forward the Oilers have employed since Doug Weight. He's one of the few proven players left on this torn-down roster. He's one of the top scoring wings in the league. But according to our roundtable, he's likely gone by March.
Our lineup this time includes Pat, from Black Dog Hates Skunks, the blogosphere's version of David Mamet, Jeff Chapman, the big brain behind Oil On Whyte, Shepso and BCB, the philosopher kings from Bringing Back The Glory, Jerconjake, the insightful man behind Oil Acumen, Smokin' Ray, the only man covering the Oilers, Barons and Thunder and he does it all at Oilers Jambalaya, dawgbone98, 'sphere regular and resident lacrosse and hockey tactics expert, and sumoil, Copper & Blue's resident CHL tracker, the only man breaking down the top CHL prospects through detailed statistical tracking.
Today's Roundtable Question: Will Ales Hemsky be traded this season, or will the Oilers re-sign him?
Jeff Chapman: I don't even want to think about it. Hemsky will be moved at the deadline to a contender for a first round pick or a couple of prospects. I really, really hope I'm wrong here.
Jerconjake: The time for trading Ales Hemsky has more than likely passed. If the Oilers haven't got a package that they liked for him yet, they probably aren't going to get one now that his contract is about to expire. Aside from that, Hemsky is an asset that would need to be replaced on right wing, so Tambellini will probably try to lock him up.
Smokin' Ray: Talking to various people that seem or claim to know Ales good enough, say that he's all aboard the rebuilding plan that's going on right now. It sounded like to me that he wants to remain an Oiler for the long haul. If any of that is true, then he will stay and deal will be done sooner rather than later.
However, not long ago Hemsky was the talk of the town. People said he was the Oilers best player (which he was) and that he's just on the cusp for a breakout season. That breakout season never really happened yet. How much longer do you wait on him?
And now, there's some new kids on the block and they are going to be good players too. There's a good chance that guys like Hall, Eberle and RNH take over that "best player" moniker. Will Hemsky like to be the #2 or possibly #3 guy? If he feels that answer is no, then he'll move on for sure to a team that needs a go to guy. He has few months to decide what he's going to do.
BCB: Yes, the Oilers will trade Ales Hemsky and the return will be crappy. It doesn’t matter what the return is (unless it is Doughty or Weber) the return will suck: how do you trade the best offensive player on your team (who is entering his prime) and not end up with the worst end of the deal. We have not seen a superstar traded or a superstar since at least before the lockout . . . why would this change with Tambo’s ‘excellent’ negotiation skills. The only other scenario we can imagine is that Hemsky gets a minor injury in December returns by early Feburary and nobody wants to trade for him. Then Tambo tries to low-ball (aka insult Hemsky) with a contract offer, and Hemsky signs a reasonable contract with eastern team and puts up monster numbers or the next three seasons.
Shepso: Do you really think the Oilers only option is for Doughty or Weber? If I were you, I’d be going after Suter, not Weber, but that is where we differ. Here’s a possible scenario that I think is quite realistic, given the bridges Tambo managed to burn this summer with Mulletgate. My guess is Hemsky be a Blueshirt by season’s end, playing on a line with Gaborik and Richards. If Tambo is lucky, he will be able to pry Dan Girardi or Michael Sauer and a 2nd round pick out of Sather’s hands, more due to Sather’s onset of senility rather than Tambo’s "excellent" negotiation skills, as you put it. If Tambo is unlucky, he will trade Hemsky straight up for Dylan McIlraith and some spare parts. Hemsky will definitely re-sign with the Rags and go on to his first ppg season as the RW on one of the most explosive lines in hockey, giving the Rangers a more dynamic offence then they have had in years, allowing them to get over the hump of 1st round exits. Coincidentally, this contract will force the Rangers to make a tough decision about Brandon Dubinsky, but he still doesn’t become an Oiler after years of speculation and wishful thinking.
Dawgbone: I'd love if they signed him, but I'm torn. We can't just ignore his injury history but he's such a good player that he's tough to lose. I honestly don't know the type of deal I'd be willing to sign him to, so it's really hard for me to pass judgement on this. I have a feeling he'll be an Oiler by this time next year, for what that's worth.
SumOil: Last season right after he got injured, I was a strong advocate of trading Hemsky away. I was frustrated by his constant trips to the IR. He is a fantastic player with amazing skill-set, however he has played in only 70 games over the last two seasons and I think that is a very good reason to be frustrated. This coupled with reports that Oilers were actively shopping Hemsky at last trade deadline and we aren’t hearing anything in the media regarding the teo parties discussing an extension. Hence, I think we will see Oilers trade Hemsky at some point this season. The only time I don’t see it happening is if somehow we are in a playoff spot or just a couple of points away, and Hemsky is healthy and contributing well offensively.
BDHS Pat: Oh they’ll trade him. They’ve been trading their best players away for decades. Once upon a time they could do this and actually still win Stanley Cups. Now its just an endless cycle. It was supposed to be broken by Smyth back in 2007 but it wasn’t and who knows when it will stop. Whitney and Gilbert are next to go and I’m sure when their time comes the fanbase will be happy to pack their bags and send them along for another prospect and a pick.
Thing is at some point you need to keep your, you know, good NHL players. Funny thing about that.