The Oilers traded longtime winger Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators this morning, for a 5th round pick in 2014 and a 3rd round pick in 2015.
Hemsky played 652 regular season games for the Oilers and scored 477 points (142-335-477), since being taken 13th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He also scored 17 points (6-11-17) in 30 playoff games.
Hemsky spoke to the media just moments after the team made the trade official and although he expected a move to happen, it was still a strange moment to say goodbye.
“It’s a weird feeling and especially because I’ve been here for so long,” Hemsky said. “I have a lot of great memories and it comes to the end. It’s a weird feeling, but I’m excited for the new challenge and play different hockey.”
He continued, “It’s just a mix of feelings. It’s hard to leave from here because I’ve been here for so long and I was comfortable here. I knew the city and the team and everything. It’s the only team I’ve been playing for so it’s kind of weird. Like I said, I’m ready for the challenge.”
For Hemsky, it was just time to move on. The winger said he was looking for a new challenge and hoped to move on to a team that’s competing for a playoff spot.
“It’s not about the city or the team. I really like the city, I love the guys over here and I like the organization and it’s just more personal. I need a change and it’s a good challenge for me. I’ve been here for so long, in this situation, so I’m happy for the challenge.”
When asked about the legacy that he wished to leave behind in Edmonton, Hemsky said he didn’t know how the fans would choose to remember him but he hoped it was as a hard worker who gave the team his all.
“I don’t know, you’ve got to ask them how they’ll remember me,” he said. “I’ve been here for 12 years and I think I tried with everything I could to help the organization and, like I said, I really appreciate what the people in the city have done for me. Everybody treated me nice and I met so many great people here and I pretty much grew up here and I can’t appreciate enough, the city of Edmonton and this organization.”
Hemsky went out in epic fashion, playing in his final game as an Oiler last night and scoring two goals in a win over the team he’d eventually be traded to. The fans began to chant his name as he was named the game’s first star.
“It was nice. It worked out pretty well, the last game, to have it like that and to hear the people like that. I talked to a lot of people and like I said, they treated me very well and I have a lot of respect for the city.”
Hemsky can now ride off to face a new challenge with the knowledge that he left his mark on a team and a city.