With it apparently looking as if Pavel Datsyuk will be able to return from Russia and soldier on for Detroit’s final 24 regular season contests and what the Detroit Red Wings hope is another playoff appearance, there remains a distinct possibility that Ken Holland can remain a potential buyer at the trade deadline considering the high likelihood Henrik Zetterberg will find himself on LTIR, thus freeing up substantial of dollars and a top 6 roster spot
Ales Hemsky may have reminded NHL general managers over the course of the past week in Sochi that there very well could be a valuable commodity languishing in Edmonton and potentially available once again at a trade deadline. The longtime Oiler has been mired in trade speculation to move over the past several trade deadlines. Unfortunately for the Oilers, they held on to him for too long a period of time and his value in the minds of executive across the league has dropped significantly given his oft-injured status in previous seasons and his role in Edmonton having altered his ability to produce strong offensive numbers.
However, truth be told Ales Hemsky may very well end up being the steal of the rental season for one shrewd NHL team. In the final year of a two-year contract with the Oilers paying him $5 million per season, the 30 year-old Czech winger will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. There have been several clubs linked to Hemsky with Pittsburgh, Montreal, New Jersey, Phoenix and San Jose some of the teams suggested as potential landing spots for the talented veteran winger.
Why not add Detroit to the mix?
With the likely absence of Zetterberg for possibly the remainder of season, the Red Wings could use a new addition to assist in creating offensive scoring chances and aiding the struggling power play. In addition, there are no guarantees that 41 year-old Daniel Alfredsson returns beyond this season. Hemsky is the type of player that could fill that spot beyond this season. He was close to a point per game player when he was featured in a Top 6 role and remains one of the most naturally gifted puck handlers in the league. He’s still can skate extremely well, has very good passing abilities and has a reputation for being a big-game player. Unfortunately, he hasn’t played in many big games since the Oilers 2006 playoff run to Game 7 in Carolina.
Let’s take a look at Detroit’s potential line-up, minus Zetterberg and with the addition of Hemsky:
Nyquist – Datsyuk – Alfredsson
Franzen – Weiss – Hemsky
Tatar – Sheahan – Jurco
Abdelkader –Helm – Miller
How about if Zetterberg is able to return prior to the playoffs?
Zetterberg – Datsyuk – Alfredsson
Franzen – Weiss – Hemsky
Tatar – Sheahan – Nyquist (Jurco can be sent down to Grand Rapids)
Abdelkader – Helm - Miller (or Eaves or Bertuzzi or Cleary)
With Mike Babcock at the helm and how we have seen his affinity for pulling out his line blender and constantly tinkering for the right line combos with Team Canada, Hemsky could find himself playing anywhere within the Top 9 in Detroit alongside talented offensive players.....a luxury not currently available to him when you consider his linemates prior to the Olympic break in Edmonton were Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks.
Someone is likely going to get Hemsky at the deadline for less than his true worth and the Oilers may even have to retain salary to make it happen. What will Edmonton be looking for in return from Detroit? Speculation appears to be that Hemsky currently could attain anywhere from a 2nd – 3rd round draft pick in return and/or a prospect with some minor league experience. Although Detroit’s high-end prospects would be out of play, the Red Wings do have several prospects within their system (such as F Landon Ferraro or D Adam Almqvist) who lose their waiver-exempt next season and could be part of a deal if the Red Wings don’t believe they will have room for either player in Detroit next season.
That being said, the Oilers are without their 2nd, 3rd or 4th round pick in this June’s upcoming entry draft and might have more interest in just replenishing their barren draft board with some picks for the 2014 Draft. Detroit have enough solid prospects within the system where they could part with a draft pick to take a shot at Hemsky down the stretch.
The bottom line with #83 is that he is relatively young (30), could be reinvigorated by joining a talent-laden club in the midst of a playoff race and has a track record of solid production when placed in an appropriate offensive role. For teams looking for low-cost, high-reward option at the trade deadline, there are fewer options that are more enticing than Hemsky.
And there is nobody who likes a low-cost, high-reward option more than Kenny Holland.