Change of address could benefit Hemsky

Jaromir Jagr was grabbing some dinner with Czech buddy Ales Hemsky on Wednesday night, possibly at a downtown Edmonton restaurant specializing in European cuisine.

“I hope he’s not traded before then … he says he’s going to pay,” said the Philadelphia Flyers winger, laughing, fully cognizant that his friend is in play as a trade rental as the Oilers entertain offers and try to sign the winger to a short-term contract.

Jagr, whose Flyers face the Oilers at Rexall Place on Thursday, said he’s not sure the 28-year-old Hemsky, an unrestricted free agent, wouldn’t benefit from a change of address at this point in his career.

“I haven’t asked Ales about it,” admitted Jagr, who did say, however, that he was “very close” to signing with the Oilers in 2008 after leaving the New York Rangers. He ended up committing to play in the Siberian city of Omsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.

The Oilers do not want to offer Hemsky a long-term deal because they know they’ll have to dig deep to offer more lucrative second contracts to star sophomores Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle in 2013 and rookie centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2014 when their entry-level deals end.

If the NHL salary cap of $64 million US goes down by 10 per cent in a new collective bargaining agreement — providing the players and owners can agree on a new CBA before next season — that’s a smaller piece of pie for every team.

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