Going into the season it was pretty much a general consensus that Ales Hemsky wouldn't be in an Oilers uniform on opening night. But after MacTavish's numorous attempts to trade him and there being no viable return of any sort a lot of people expect him to be in an Oilers uniform on opening night. So if there really is no way to trade him, where will he fit into the lineup?
There is actually a spot for Hemsky for the first month or two as Nuge is going to still be injured and leave a hole in the top 6. Assuming they move Hall to center they could role with the lines looking like this,
Hemsky - Hall - Eberle
Perron - Gagner - Yakupov
But in November or December when Nuge returns where will Hemsky fit?
Best case scenario Hemsky plays good in the first month or two when Nuge is out and raises his trade value enough that the Oilers can get a player of significance for him but if he only plays decent and the trade market doesn't open up for him the Oilers could be stuck with him for the year. What would they do with him?
One way he could be useful to the Oilers is if he plays good enough that they want to keep him, and if Hall plays good at center they could move Hall to center and trade Gagner and give Hemsky Hall's roster spot but that's pretty unlikely to happen.
Another thing the Oilers could do is to play with three offensive lines. For example, run the top 6 that they have and sign another offensive forward to make the third line ______ - Gordan - Hemsky. Maybe Mason Raymond? We would have to trade Nick Schultz for cap space though first.
Another question you have to ask yourself is if he would be even willing to play for the Oil this season. He pretty much has his bags packed and is waiting for the call. What would he do if he was told, "your playing this year in Edmonton whether you like it or not "? Would he halfass it every game? Be a bad influence in the dressing room? I hope not and I hope he's not too mad at the organization because he's going to be here most likely come October and we don't need attitude rubbing off on the kids.
The last and least likely option is that he refuses to report to camp and he gets in a big legal battle with management. That's the last thing the Oil need. A big blowup over nothing distracting everyone from the actual game. Sounds a bit like Vancouver and the Luongo situation.
So what do you think will happen? Will he play 3rd line minutes? Get traded? Or just refuse to go to camp? I personnally think he'll most likely play in the top six until Nuge is back and then the Oil will trade him for whatever they can get. It's better than losing him to free agency in July....
So what do you think? Where will Hemsky play this season.