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Ales Hemsky: Should Oilers keep or move him?

by Adam Kimelman

For most of the past decade, Ales Hemsky has been among the Edmonton Oilers' scoring leaders. With soft hands and great speed, he's totaled 448 points in 587 games.

But the Oilers spent most of that time outside the postseason and now that the team is rebuilding, younger, more skilled players have emerged, pushing Hemsky from the top line into more of a complementary role.

Hemsky still provides quality play, but will he continue doing it for the Oilers? examines the pros and cons to the Oilers making Hemsky available to move prior to the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:


Position: Right wing

Age: 29

Statistics: 28 games, 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points

Salary status: After this season Hemsky has one year left on his contract, with a $5 million salary-cap hit.

Keep him: The Oilers are overflowing with young talent up front, but someone needs to be kept around to help ease them through their transition to full-time NHL players, and with 10 seasons under his belt, Hemsky is an ideal candidate. He's been a top-line performer and a secondary contributor, but the one constant has been his reputation for being a solid citizen in the locker room. Edmonton likely will have more young players arriving in the next season or two, and having savvy leaders like Hemsky to show them the ropes is important.

Move him: For all the opportunities Hemsky has had in his decade in Edmonton, he's hit the 20-goal mark just twice. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov are going to have top-six roles going forward, and there's more talent coming, either through prospects already in the system or the 2013 NHL Draft. General manager Steve Tambellini should be able to find a few teams interested in adding Hemsky, who could help a contending team in a second- or third-line role, while allowing the Oilers to add even more to their future.


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