In an interview with Mark Spector earlier today, Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish discussed how he plans to chart a new course for his club, and dropped word that veteran forwards Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky are basically on the trading block:
"Sometimes change is good for both the organization and the player, but at the same time they're valuable players and we're not in a position where we're able to move them without getting something substantial in return...I have a lot of allegiance and a lot of loyalty to 'Horc' and to Ales. I have a lot of respect for both those players. But from both those perspectives, I think the ideal scenario would be to move them on and wish them the best in their next destination."
In light of this talk, should the Nashville Predators make a serious push to obtain either player?
|2012 - Shawn Horcoff||31||7||5||12||+8||24||3||0||1||41||17.0|
Horcoff is a center roughly on par with David Legwand and Mike Fisher, not a guy who excites you on the top line but provides steady contributions over the course of a season. Edmonton's captain has two years left on a contract which pays him $4 million next season, and $3 million in 2014-2015, with a cap hit of $5.5 million.
As a two-year addition to the Preds' lineup, he would either give them outstanding depth in terms of a 1-2-3 punch with Leggy & Fisher (with Gaustad doing the heavy lifting defensively). It would, however, put an obstacle in the way of any younger prospects working their way into a center spot.
|2012 - Ales Hemsky||38||9||11||20||-6||16||5||0||1||82||10.9|
Hemsky boasts an incredible set of hands and would instantly be the most skilled forward in the Nashville lineup, but injuries have been a concern in recent years. He would fill the "puck-handling Czech right wing on the top line" hole created by the Martin Erat/Filip Forsberg trade, certainly. Hemsky is entering the final year of his contract and will command a $5.5 million salary, along with a $5 million cap hit.
I'd pass on Hemsky right now. He's an exciting, daring winger that's fun to watch, but there's just too much risk at this point that you aren't going to get a full productive season out of him.
As for Horcoff? Unless the Oilers are willing to retain a good chunk of salary and aren't asking for a core player or prospect in return, I'd pass as well, but the opportunity to have solid four-line depth down the middle is well worth considering. Such a move would buy time for the kids like Forsberg, Austin Watson and this summer's 4th overall pick to develop either at the AHL level or break in on the wing.
So who knows, this may well be a story worth watching as the NHL Draft approaches at the end of this month...
You can listen to the full interview here: