Saturday, 18 February 2012
02/18/12 Hemsky A Shark?
With the increasing likelihood of Ales Hemsky being traded, it doesn't hurt to glance around the league and see what potential return the Oilers could get for their skilled winger. Though his value is at its lowest ever, the San Jose Sharks could have some interest in him.
It's premature to suggest that Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are old enough to have lost their competitive edge, but with both now 32 years old that time is coming. The window for winning a Stanley Cup is closing for the Sharks, and with Martin Havlat injured and underperforming even when he's in the lineup, there is a need for a right winger in San Jose.
The one thing the Oilers have going for them is that the number of wingers that are available is small, so they may still get a decent price for Hemsky. A quick glance at San Jose's system shows that they still have a few prospects that may be of interest to Edmonton.
Taylor Doherty is a 6'7", 235 pound behemoth of a defenseman with a right handed shot, who projects to be a solid stay-at-homer. The Sharks took him in the second round (57th overall) of the Paajarvi draft (2009), and this year he's playing in his first full season for Worcester of the AHL. His size and shutdown ability would both be appealing to the Oilers, and the long development period for this type of player may make him expendable for the Sharks, as their time is now. Unfortunately, the Oilers are in need of a defenseman that can step in as early as next season, and Doherty isn't that player.
One possible man for that job is Nick Petrecki, who is 6'3", 230 pounds and is another shut-down type. Petrecki is a product of the Gagner draft (2007), having gone 28th overall to the Sharks. He has a mean streak and brings toughness with him, but that is a skill set already filled by Colten Teubert. However, Petrecki is in his third full year in the AHL, and to this point he has played 178 games there. He doesn't bring much offense, but he's accumulated a whopping 303 penalty minutes in that time.
Also a product of the 2007 draft is Justin Braun, who has earned a spot in the Sharks' lineup this season. It's an impressive achievement, considering that Braun (6'2", 200 lbs) was selected 201st overall in the seventh round. Braun is reported to have decent offensive capabilities and collected 24 points in 43 career AHL games, and 4-15-19 in 70 games with San Jose.
Any of these three could be part of the conversation when it comes to a deal for Hemsky, but none of them offer a real solution to the Oilers' defensive woes. At the end of the day the Oilers would be better off keeping Hemsky rather than trading him for third-pairing defensive types, but a trade is probably inevitable.
Another consideration is that some the the Oilers' own property like Martin Marincin, or perhaps even Klefbom, Musil, Davidson and Blain will be ready for the AHL next season, so adding another tweener is not necessarily in Edmonton's interest at the moment. But if Hemsky is not going to be extended, he must be traded somewhere for something that could potentially be useful. At least building defensive depth would help if the Oilers ever wanted to make a trade for a defender that could make an impact at the NHL level.