"He's off the market," Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish told reporters Wednesday. "We want [Ales] to come in and make an impression. We want him to play a prominent role."
Hemsky, 30, had nine goals and 11 assists in 38 games last season, his 10th in the NHL and with the Oilers. He has been to the postseason twice in those 10 seasons, and not at all since the Oilers went to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.
After a seventh straight season out of the postseason, MacTavish promised changes. Captain Shawn Horcoff was traded to the Dallas Stars, and there were expectations Hemsky could go too. Instead, he'll return for an 11th season, the final one of a two-year contract he signed in the summer of 2012.
"It's important to me that when you walk through the door, you have a fresh canvas," MacTavish said. "We'll offer Ales that."
Hemsky said he's happy to know he'll still be part of the Oilers.
"I take this as a new fresh start," he said. "I've been through the good and bad and I just want to help turn things around."