Possible deals for Hemsky

Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini is in the hotseat as he takes calls on veteran winger Ales Hemsky.

Half the league is looking for a top-six forward. Remember back in 2006, when the Oilers beat out other teams to get Sergei Samsonov because they needed a second-liner? Teams are loathe to surrender much for rentals because you get quantity, but not quality, in most cases.

The Oilers absolutely need a puck-moving defenceman more than they need a draft pick. And if the prospect being dangled is more than a year away from being ready for the NHL, I don’t know why they would be interested in more down-the-road stuff.

Renney and company need an NHL player right now to get the puck to Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Would the Nashville Predators give the Oilers defenceman Ryan Ellis for Hemsky? Unlikely because Hemsky would only be a two to three-month rental. And if the Preds lose unrestricted free agent Ryan Suter in a trade, they have to keep blue-liners, don’t they?

“I think the Predators would rather have Ryan Smyth if he was available than Hemsky,” said one NHL scout, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

However, Smyth likely won’t waive his no-trade clause at the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

The Ottawa Senators might be a wild card for Hemsky. They’re buyers now that Paul MacLean is doing such a bang-up job as a first-year NHL coach.

Stafford an Oiler?

It’s no secret the Oilers have long liked Buffalo Sabres struggling right-winger Drew Stafford.

While he could be a second-line fit if the Oilers deal Hemsky at the trade deadline, what could Edmonton give them that would definitely be a top six forward?


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