Ales Hemsky is one of the more talented players in the NHL. On paper, one would wonder how that statement can be made, but when watching him play, he is one of the most dynamic and shifty forwards in the game.
With a career high of 77 points, we know he has the ability to be among the best. Unfortunately, recent injuries have plagued that ability.
This season, in addition to his usual injury issues, Hemsky has been overshadowed by the surplus of young talent on the Oilers roster. Players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are pushing Hemsky to the back of the line.
With Hemsky headed to unrestricted free agency, he will be highly sought out at the trade deadline. But his injury-plagued past and sub-par performance this season may cause skepticism in general managers around the league.
With the club's two leading scorers, Jordan Eberle (knee) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder), expected to miss significant time, it's time for Hemsky to pick up the slack.
If he can perform to the height of his ability in the upcoming games, Ales Hemsky will most likely be finding a new home before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
Leading up to the Jan. 2 injury to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Hemsky was on a nine-game pointless streak. Following that date, he has posted four points in four games, including the team's only goal (his first in 14 games) in their first game following the Jan. 7 injury to Jordan Eberle.
Since his "injury-forced promotion", Ales has silenced critics. But with the trade deadline still over a month away and the team's two star forwards out, he'll need to continue to improve night in and night out to bring in the offers.
If he can, the 28 year old will not only be finding a new home come the deadline, but may be rewarded with a new contract at the end of the season.