Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky is once again the focus of trade speculation.
Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal believes Hemsky’s days with the Oilers are numbered, citing his injury history and the assumed unwillingness of GM Craig MacTavish to invest $5 million of cap space next season in a second-line player.
Trading him, however, could prove difficult. Matheson interviewed analyst Craig Button, who believes Hemsky’s market value – given his cap hit, injury history and the decline of next season’s salary cap to $64.3 million – could be low. Button doubts the Oilers could get a second round pick for the 29-year-old veteran.
Undeterred, Matheson suggested clubs in need of offense – the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings (if they lose Valtteri Filppula this summer to free agency), St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets – could have interest in Hemsky.
If MacTavish hopes to attract trade interest in Hemsky, he’ll have to pick up part of his $5 million cap hit. Otherwise, going the buyout route – compliance or standard – is the only other option to shed his salary.
If MacTavish uses one of his two compliance buyouts, he removes all of Hemsky’s salary from his payroll. If he goes with a standard buyout (two-thirds the remaining salary at twice the remaining tenure of the contact), the cap hit will be $1,333,333 for next season and $1,833,333 for 2014-15.
BURMISTROV TO TAKE OFF ON JETS
The Winnipeg Jets were reportedly shopping struggling young center Alexander Burmistrov prior to this year’s trade deadline but failed to find a suitable return.
Gary Lawless of The Winnipeg Free Press this week cited two league sources claiming Burmistrov, a restricted free agent, has no intention of re-signing with the Jets.
Burmistrov holds considerable promise as a versatile playmaking forward, but has yet to fulfil his potential. The 21-year-old chaffed in his role as a checking forward under Jets coach Claude Noel.
The Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe believes a change of scenery might do Burmistrov good. It was rumored he could bolt for the Kontinental League but his agent denied it.
Though Burmistrov’s unwillingness to re-sign with the Jets could affect his trade value, he could attract considerable interest from clubs in need of scoring depth.
Lawless claimed the Jets spoke with the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres leading up to the deadline, with Jakob Silfverberg, Kyle Okposo and Drew Stafford being mentioned in their talks.
The Senators won’t part with the hard-shooting Silfverberg, while Okposo emerged as a clutch playoff performer for the Islanders.
Stafford, a one-time 30-goal scorer, is coming off a disappointing 18-point performance this season. The Sabres could be willing to shed the remaining two years and $8 million remaining on his contract.
CAN CAPS HOLD ON TO HENDRICKS?
The Washington Capitals face a difficult decision with pending unrestricted free agent Matt Hendricks.
Though Hendricks is a fourth line center, Katie Carrera of The Washington Post reports he’s become a key member of the Capitals. His efforts as a physical penalty killer have earned him the respect of teammates and coaches alike.
Hendricks earned only $825,000 last season and he’d like to stay, making him an affordable re-signing. The problem, as Carrera pointed out, is the Capitals’ limited cap space.
The Capitals have just $5.7 million in projected cap space. They must re-sign restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson, as well as re-sign or replace unrestricted free agent center Mike Ribeiro.
If the Capitals fail to re-sign Hendricks, he’ll be pursued by clubs seeking checking line depth. Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes the Rangers could become a suitor.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).