The latest on Ales Hemsky, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg and Ray Emery.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Ales Hemsky’s days with the Oilers are numbered, doubting new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will pay $5 million next season for a second-line player with world-class talent like Hemsky. TSN analyst Craig Button doesn’t think there’s much of a market for Hemsky, especially with the salary cap dropping to $64.3 million next season. Still, Matheson speculates “the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes”, along with soon-to-be Western Conference club Winnipeg Jets, might have interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky could be dealt this summer, but his salary and UFA status next year could be a tough sell.The Predators, Coyotes and Blue Jackets need more offense, but I’m not sure they’ll take on a $5 million player. Hemsky doesn’t strike me as a Red Wings type, but Mike Babcock has a good reputation for getting the most out of his players. Still, that salary might make them balk. As for the Blues, I’m not certain Hemsky would be a good fit on a team coached by Ken Hitchcock.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis recently suggested the Oilers should pursue Chicago Blackhawks power forwards Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg if they hit this summer’s UFA market.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said contract talks with Bickell, Stalberg and fellow UFA Ray Emery are on hold until the playoffs are over.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Stalberg was a healthy scratch in the Blackhawks opening two games of their series against the Detroit Red Wings, he could be available this summer. I expect the ‘Hawks will try to re-sign Bickell and Emery.