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Well, according to MacTavish's press conference this week, Ales Hemsky is officially off the market. At least, that's what MacTavish is saying publicly. What this press conference is actually telling fans is, "We couldn't find a team stupid enough to give us anything of value for Hemsky so he's starting the season in Edmonton. Deal with it."
This could anger some fans as some of us had pretty much written off Hemsky and have moved onto bigger and better things. But there is nothing us fans can do about it so we just have to move on and figure out where Hemsky will fit with the Oilers.
Hemsky isn't actually that bad of a player. He has great hands and has great vision. He has top 6 skill and could easily play 1st line minutes. That's the up side. The down side is that Hemsky is injury prone, hasn't played a full sesson since 09', and has a 5 million dollar cap hit. There's more downside than upside in my opinion but if he can stay out of injury trouble Hemsky could be a great top 6 player.
So if Hemsky can stay off the IR he could be a top 6 winger. But where does he fit? Going into the season the Oilers top 6 is set with Hall - Nuge - Eberle and Perron - Gagner - Yakupov. But...... Nuge is going to be out till November. So his absence could open up a roster spot for Hemsky.
With Hall moving to center to fill in for Nuge, Hemsky could fill Hall's position on the LW to make the lines to start the season...
Hemsky - Hall - Eberle
Perron - Gagner - Yakupov
This would be a great option for the Oilers as it gives them a replacement for Nuge while he recovers from injury and it would let other teams watch him and. oost his stock so that the Oilers could dish him out as a rental once Nuge returns. A win - win.
One problem that could arise though with this idea is what happens if Hemsky doesn't raise his stock and the Oilers are stuck with him for the whole season. What would happen once Nuge returns if the Oilers can't dish him out? There are a few options.....
1) Run 3 offensive lines
If the Oilers have Hemsky for the long stretch one way they could go is to run 3 offensive lines. For example, the 3rd line could be Omark - Gordan - Hemsky. Or Jones - Gordan - Hemsky. This could be a great option as it would add another line of firepower to an already offensively driven club and it would be enable the Oilers to be able to use Omark.
2) Trade Hemsky but retain salary
It's not best case scenario but it's a possibility. No team will take Hemsky with his full salary but if the Oilers were to retain, say 2 million of his contract, he could be a great rental for a team making a run in the playoffs. Get a 2nd round pick and it's better than letting him walk at free agency.
3) Waive him
WORST, WORST, WORST case scenario. This only happens if MacTavish HAS to rid the Oilers of Hemsky and no team will trade for him. Even with the Oilers retaining part of his salary. This isn't a good option, or even a bad option. But it's plan Z if MacTavish needs it.
To me the best option is option 1. Running 3 offensive lines would make the Oilers a giant threat and would be the best use of Hemsky. Doing so would make the lines.....
Hall - Nuge - Eberle
Perron - Gagner - Yakupov
Omark - Gordan - Hemsky
Joensuu - Lander - Jones
So what do you think? What will happen to Hemsky this year?