The future of Edmonton Oilers right winger Ales Hemsky was a topic of interest in the media over the weekend.
Hemsky, 28, is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. TSN’s Darren Dreger on Friday responded to a reader’s question about Hemsky’s trade status, suggesting the Oilers would shop him leading up to the trade deadline if his asking price for a new deal was too high or if he was determined to test the market.
Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News also noted the Oilers were “willing to listen to offers” for Hemsky, while Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggested the Detroit Red Wings, with around $5.6 million in available cap space, would also have interest.
Hemsky has a history of shoulder injuries dating back to 2006, but Dreger believes the eight-year veteran remains “a game-breaker” and “a very valuable commodity” if he was put on the trade block.
Several factors – Hemsky’s health, production, his future plans and those of Oilers management, and the team’s position in the standings – will determine if he remains an Oiler beyond the February trade deadline.
FLYERS FORCED TO TRADE?
The concussion-like symptoms that sidelined Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger raised questions over what management will do to replace the veteran defenseman if his return date continues to be a mystery.
CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio believes GM Paul Holmgren should act as though Pronger won’t be returning and wondered if the Flyers can tough it out to the trade deadline, when a decent rental player can be had.
Panaccio’s colleague, Jay Greenberg, suggested Holmgren should trade one of his surplus of good young forwards for a number two or three defenseman, adding that is a long-term need because Pronger (37) and Kimmo Timonen (36) aren’t getting any younger.
With the Flyers among the top teams in the league, Holmgren is under no pressure to make a move at this time and if they’re still playing well by the trade deadline, he could opt to stand pat. Pronger may also have returned by that point.
On the other hand, if rookie blueliners Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall falter in the New Year and Pronger shows no sign of a return, it will force Holmgren’s hand.
For now, the Flyers GM will remain patient and see how things play out in the coming weeks.
PARISE CONTRACT TALKS YET TO TAKE PLACE
Nothing of note to report on left winger Zach Parise’s contract status with the New Jersey Devils.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun recently asked Devils GM Lou Lamoriello about the situation, but Lamoriello had no update.
There’s a good reason for that, as LeBrun reminded his readers that Lamoriello and Parise’s agents cannot technically open negotiations until Jan. 1, as the winger is on a one-year contract.
Parise, an unrestricted free agent next summer, has been a hot topic of speculation around the league, as he would undoubtedly be the most sought-after player in next summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
It’s been suggested the Devils will trade Parise if he’s unsigned by the trade deadline, but as long as the team remains in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, he’ll finish the season as a Devil.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla’s Korner.