Tons of Rumors in Oil Country.


The Edmonton Oilers will be fielding a ton of calls heading into next months deadline. They have a little bit of everything to offer. Ales Hemsky is a top 6 forward, Andy Sutton is a depth defenseman and Nikolai Khabibulin is a veteran goaltender with a Cup on his resume. Add in the perception that a player like Sam Gagner could be had for the right price, and you’ve got a recipe for Steve Tambellini to be quite busy.

Starting with Hemsky, he could easily be the top forward available at the deadline. Sure, his numbers are down this season, but he’s healthy and has routinely demonstrated an ability to produce at a high level, even if some accuse him of falling short of his ultimate potential. In any case, he’s a highly skilled forward that can create plenty of trouble for an opposing team all by himself, and he’s a great powerplay addition for a team. There are plenty of teams interested in upgrading their top 6, and with the parity in the league, plenty of teams desperate to do so.

If Ales Hemsky and the Edmonton Oilers don’t come to terms on a new deal in the next month, he’ll almost certainly be traded. The team can’t afford to risk losing him for nothing, or for a random draft pick in exchange for his negotiating rights in late June. Steve Tambellini has stated that talks with Ales and his representation have occurred, but there’s no indication as to where they stand. My gut all along is that Ales wanted to test the free agency waters in his first big opportunity to do so, but he might be more inclined to grab some security given the way his season has gone from a production standpoint.

If Hemsky is in play, there will be a lot of suitors. But don’t expect the package to yield huge dividends for the current roster. Any deal for Hemsky would look a lot like the Dustin Penner trade from a year ago. A playoff-bound team just isn’t going to give up a key piece of its NHL infrastructure before attempting to make a long run.

In terms of Sutton, the interest level will be high from around the league. He’s a pending UFA that provides a rugged, physical depth to the defense of a contender. After watching Vancouver in the playoffs last year, teams will be even more aware of the need for as many healthy and able defensemen as they can get their hands on.

On Khabibulin, I’m not sure that teams will love the extra year on his deal, so we might not see him move. But, if there’s a team that feels strongly enough about needing an upgrade, Khabibulin has had a solid enough season, and has enough playoff experience, to warrant serious consideration. The Oilers are in a position heading into their final 33 games where Devan Dubnyk is going to get the bulk of the workload anyways, so the team has the option to explore the possibility of moving Nik if they want to.

Over to Sam Gagner, I’m really split on it. I’d be scared out of my mind to move this player, because I believe in him. He’s an absolute winner and leader and still has a tremendous amount of upside as a 2nd line NHL player. I think we’ll see him hit his stride in the next couple of years, and I’d like it to be in Edmonton. That said, I think the Oilers value him highly as well, and if they were to move him I suspect the package coming back would include a very good defenseman, something the team needs badly. It’s clear that the team has an excess of forwards, if you want to suggest that the 29th place team has an excess of anything, I guess. At some point, they probably need to move a young forward to acquire a young defenseman, and maybe we see that type of move before the deadline.

One other thing: teams will be calling about Ryan Smyth. There are teams that value this player highly in their quest for a Championship. Everybody knows that Smyth is going to end his career as an Oiler and any team that trades for him knows that he’s going to re-sign here in the off-season. What the Oilers and Ryan Smyth need to decide together is whether or not to move him for a couple of months and nab an asset from a playoff-bound organization. Though not likely to be a popular move at the time, mostly because they wouldn’t be able to come out and say that they’re just going to re-sign him, it could be a good move for the future of the team if the offer is juicy enough. But, Ryan and his family are back and settled in Edmonton. Even with the potential of a long playoff run, would he want to move again, even for a short time? They’ll need to ask him, because teams will be calling.|EDM|home

5 Responses to Tons of Rumors in Oil Country.

  1. JoelLeafs says:

    *****. Watching the all-star game on NBC blows… Reminds me of way back in the 90s when games would be broadcast on Fox with that stupid puck glow thing. 

    *****ing McGuire, he's such an idiot. The US can keep him… ugh.
  2. LeafsNation4Ever says:

    But Lafleur wants him…

  3. 93killer93 says:


    Hamilton, Caron, 1st, Cond 2nd 2013(bruins win Cup)
    Whitney, Paajarvi, Lander, Omark
    Ellis, 2nd 
    Hickey, Forbort, 1st
    Hemsky, Chorney, Marincin
    Draft Murray, Dumba(trade up)
  4. mapleleafsfan says:

    Doubt Nashville would trade Ellis for Gagner straight up, they're pretty high on him. 

    Tampa has no use for an old goalie either, rather keep their young prospects. Not making the playoffs this year so khabibulin doesn't make sense.
  5. Steven_Leafs says:

    The Boston deal isn't that bad assuming cap isn't a problem, if I were Edmonton I would try to remove Omark and that conditional 2nd from the deal, if not they still might do it. Hamilton would be a beast for Edmonton and this deal would guarantee Edmonton Murray. The other 3 though will not happen at all.

    Nashville values Ellis way more than Gagner, maybe Gagner, Hemsky for Ellis, conditional 2012 pick (1st if they make it to the 2nd round, 2nd otherwise), and maybe a conditional 2013 pick (2nd or 3rd) if Hemsky re-signs but it isn't necessary.

    Los Angeles will not pay that much for Hemsky (assuming LA will even trade with EDM anymore). Hemsky for a 1st is close, Hemsky, Chorney/Marincin for Hickey/Forbort and a 1st is a little high IMO but possible. Edmonton definitely wont get both Hickey and Forbort though.

    The Tampa one would still be bad if Tampa was in the playoffs and Roloson was hurt. IMO Tampa can get a better rental goalie with less term without having to give up Tokarski. Nabokov for a 3rd might be doable. But with Tampa out of the playoff race they are not going to trade a decent goaltending prospect for a veteran with a bad contract.

    That being said I did enjoy your post, if the Boston deal went through and they got a 1st plus a prospect for Hemsky I can definitely see Edmonton trading up to draft Murray and Dumba which would be ridiculous.

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