It will be interesting to see if the trade rumors surrounding the Edmonton Oilers dissipate following last night’s overtime win over the Florida Panthers. But for now, the vicious speculation continues to circulate across Oil Country and according to John Shannon of Sportsnet, the Oilers would prefer to move Ales Hemsky before Nail Yakupov.
Well yeah, doesn’t that just make much more sense? Hemsky is making $5 million this season, which could be a sticking point for some clubs, especially the New York Rangers given how tight they are to the salary cap. But the injury to Rick Nash and the uncertainty on when he’ll return could make Glen Sather feel the need to bring another talented winger in to help bridge the gap until the team’s injuries subside.
From the Oilers stand point, moving Hemsky before Yakupov is the most logical move to make. Problem is, as mentioned, his salary is considered to be large and his ability to stay healthy is always in question. Not to mention the fact that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer which could make some teams proceed with caution.
On the flip side of the two players most mentioned in the trade rumors, Yakupov will bring the greatest return and could be the centerpiece to landing that stud defenceman that this hockey club so desperately needs. Whether or not the Oilers choose to give up on the former first overall pick remains to be seen, hence the preferred choice to move Hemsky; or at least ask the interested team if they would consider talking number 83.
But the Rangers are said to be one of the few teams in the NHL that might consider acquiring Yakupov with all the talk that he could be a threat to bolt to the KHL. Throw in the alleged rumors that he’s difficult to coach and suddenly the Oilers could find themselves with a smaller market to move the talented sniper who’s struggles continue this season. With the Rangers having what the Oilers need and want, Craig MacTavish may find his hand forced more than he’d prefer and the young Russian could be pried from the rookie GM’s hands. Unless of course he can package Hemsky in a deal that still lands Edmonton a key piece for their blue line.
For now we’re forced to sit it out and wait for something to transpire. Until that happens, if that happens, the rumors will continue to circulate and speculation will run rampant. Hemsky traded before Yakupov? Yes please. Now make it happen.