NHL Trade Rumors: Ales Hemsky and Best Veteran Rentals

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterFebruary 15, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 31:  Ales Hemsky #83 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 31, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 4-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Moving star players with long-term, big-money contracts is never an easy feat to pull off in the NHL, especially when the season is racing so quickly toward the trade deadline.

Impending free agents? Well, they're a different story entirely. Few contenders would quibble with taking on a quality player who's bound to leave in the summer for a shot at the Stanley Cup, assuming the price is right.

Each of these three veterans are set to hit free agency after the season but figure to find themselves a part of a postseason hopeful before February 27th comes and goes.

Ales Hemsky

According to TSN, Ales Hemsky would prefer a long-term deal to remain with the Edmonton Oilers, though given his history of injury and the eventual paydays coming for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, Hemsky isn't likely to get one.

Hence, Hemsky's 10 years with the Oilers are all but bound to come to an end now that Edmonton has firmly established the core of its rebuilding project. The Los Angeles Kings, the Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators all figure to have a hand in determining where Hemsky winds up in less than two weeks.  

 

Mike Knuble

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 22:  Mike Knuble #22 of the Washington Capitals skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on January 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Mike Knuble isn't likely to seek a long-term deal wherever he winds up, if only because he's 39 and has 14 years of NHL experience under his belt.

That sort of experience, though, would certainly come in handy on a Stanley Cup contender, of which he hasn't been a part since hoisting it with the Red Wings in 1998.

Whether the Washington Capitals decide to deal the veteran winger is a different story entirely. They're just one point out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture and could very well make a deep run if they get in thanks to the latent talent on their roster.

But, if GM George McPhee decides to make any of his Caps available at the deadline, expect Knuble to be among those for whom he fields the most calls. 


Kyle Brodziak

TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 19:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs tries to back check Kyle Brodziak #21 of the Minnesota Wild in a game on January 19, 2012 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Wild 4-1. (Pho
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Kyle Brodziak's availability will likely depend on what the Minnesota Wild decide to do with Marek Zidlicky. The 35-year-old Zidlicky, whose deal runs through next season, is expected to end up with the New Jersey Devils, though if that falls through the Wild might not have enough money to keep Brodziak long term.

You can bet there will be more than a few teams lining up to lock down the 27-year-old center if he does, in fact, end up on the trading block, particularly given the dearth of quality players for the picking at his position.