Ales Hemsky’s healthy enough to be traded – if that’s what the Edmonton Oilers want

In a limited trade market with few competent offensive players, Hemsky’s history of scoring might very well appeal to another NHL team. That potential trade value is certainly something the Oilers have to consider, particularly given the way the player’s skillset overlaps with that of other skaters (Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov) on the roster.

But despite the rumours that have dogged the long-time Oiler, a trade shouldn’t be seen as automatic either.

Edmonton has needs that a Hemsky trade (which would likely only net futures) will not address. The club has a clear desire to add more size and more physical play to the top two lines, but even more important is a desperate need on defence. A Hemsky trade won’t fix that need, and it is unlikely to be filled nearly quickly enough by the prospects currently in the system or available in this summer’s draft.

What Hemsky might be able to do is fill the slot of another player – an Eberle, or more likely a Yakupov – who has more cachet on the market. Eberle is a proven commodity with a long-term deal and has tremendous value; Yakupov, as a first overall pick still in his entry-level contract does too. A trade involving one of those players would go a lot further in addressing the Oilers other needs, and Edmonton would have the option of keeping Hemsky as a scoring right wing, perhaps on a reduced contract.