Ales Hemsky was mentioned in The Hockey News' Rumor Roundup on Monday, as Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News thinks that Hemsky would be a good fit in Florida. If the time has come to trade the skilled winger, Florida very well could be the place. But what would be the return?
The Panthers have been getting a lot out of their top forwards this season, with their first line already combining for 105 points. Beyond Fleischmann, Versteeg and Weiss, however, the offensive well is bone dry. Their fourth-highest scoring forward is Tomas Kopecky with 15 points in 38 games. Adding John Madden may help a little, but the 38 year old had just 25 points in 76 games last year for the Wild. The Panthers need a scoring forward to help them end their playoff drought, and Ales Hemsky could be their man.
A Hemsky trade would give the Oilers the chance to bolster the blue line, and the Panthers may have just the player do help do that. Colby Robak is a 6-foot-3, 207 pound defender who went 46th overall to Florida in the Eberle Draft (2008).
Robak in an effective puck mover and a solid two-way defenseman who is honing his game in the American Hockey League. As an AHL rookie Robak posted 7-17-24, minus-12 in 76 games. This year he's improved to 5-14-19, plus-12 in just 33 games and was just named to the Western Conference All-Star Team.
The AHL states that "of the 562 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League." There's a difference between competing in the NHL and being a difference-maker, but it's certainly a good sign for a 21 year old player like Robak.
His career stats can be found here. Notably, he put up a team-best plus-56 rating and 66 points in his last year with Brandon of the WHL.
Robak may not be the answer for the Oilers by himself, but he has the look of a solid defense prospect and he's not far from the NHL. Any deal with the Panthers should be centered around this player because Hemsky does not have the value to fetch a top prospect like Gudbranson or Huberdeau.
It's looking more and more like Hemsky will be traded somewhere, so let the idle speculation begin!