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Principe's Blog: Trade Clock Ticking

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
What will Oilers GM Steve Tambellini do on Trade Deadline Day?

(Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Next Monday will be an interesting day, maybe the most interesting one in the season for the Edmonton Oilers. Deadline Day has taken on such meaning. What it means to Edmonton this year remains to be seen. Some of the intrigue has been literally taken off the table with Andy Sutton signing and Ryan Smyth coming to terms with Steve Tambellini that the forward will not be moved at the deadline. There is no doubt who the main target is going into February 27th. It's Ales Hemsky. I know that, you know that, 29 other teams know that. Will the Edmonton Oilers trade number 83?

If the answer is yes it will be because Ales has hit the expiry date for his Oiler shelf life. Too hurt, too often and production that's tailed off. The less he has played the less effective he has become. That stands to reason for a player with top end talent but numbers that don't match his skill. If they do deal him I'll always be left wondering why this kid who has grown into a man in Oiler colors never reached his potential. I know injuries have been the biggest contributing factor. The other has been talent or at times the lack of it. Hemsky has truly never had a high end centerman. Shawn Horcoff has been more than compatible with Ales but only now with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins does Edmonton have a potentially elite middle man,

If the answer is no it's because Ales has decided to give up his opportunity at freedom in order to stay with Edmonton. The money would be somewhere around the same but the term would be about half or maybe a third of the 6 year deal he signed that will expire this July 1st. It would be proof that while he is no longer the main man, he is still one of the men the Oilers are counting on. A player who would continue to help with the transition of this team from the once veteran laden squad to one bursting with youth and potential. Ales Hemsky would be considered someone in between both of those descriptions.

There's no doubt in my mind the Oilers would keep Hemsky, but does he want to stay? I mean if the right winger didn't like this city or this team and didn't want to stay here in the first place he wouldn't have signed a half-dozen-year contract. At the time deals of that length weren't the in thing to do. However, will he give up what every player wants at least once in their career and that's being available on the open market? Available to the highest bidder with no strings attached. Sounds appealing, especially when Canada Day could be renamed Cash In Day. I know in this country the banks are closed and ATM's have daily limits but it generally doesn't stop GM's from over spending. No better three letters can be strung together then UFA.

In less then a week we will have all the answers to our questions surrounding Ales Hemsky. Does he get traded? If so where and for what? Or does he sign a deal?and if so for how long and how much? You play the role of GM and tell me what you think Steve Tambellini will do. Have a great week and gets some sleep the night of Sunday, February 26th.

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