Here in Edmonton, rumours about the hockey team are thrown around like hacky sacks. When the team is hot, it would be a sin for anyone to be moved even though the Oilers still have contracts that aren't great for the future success of the team. Of course, when the team is slumping, everyone is the next one to go.
Enter in talks about Ales Hemsky. Even though Hemsky is injured and can't defend his position with this team on the ice, it isn't stopping fans from calling in the local radio stations suggesting the Oilers look at moving Edmonton's leading scorer over the last three or four years now that the Oil have won five straight games.
Forget those five wins came against poorer quality teams or that in two of those five games, the Oilers scraped by in a shoot-out. The Oilers are on a roll, baby!
What often happens when these calls come in, is that a host will immediately dismiss the fact that these fair-weather and bandwagon jumping fans are quick to rush to judgement and often forego any semblance of common sense when it comes to the overall future of the Oilers. I believe the practice of screening these calls should rank a tad higher on our local stations priority list.
All that said, every once and a while, a caller comes up with a whopper of a trade that leaves even the host (who is paid to talk for a living) speechless. Such an instance happened recently when a caller who started by suggesting the Oilers trade Hemsky finished his thought by suggesting it be for Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien.
Immediately, the host was taken by surprise and for a few moments. You could tell he was trying to find a way to shoot-down the idea, but couldn't as he agreed with the caller's logic and frankly liked the idea.
Normally, how could a team justify trading its arguably best player? When Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien are what you get in return, some serious consideration is to be given.
Now, this trade has been by no means offered or for all we know even discussed by the two teams involved. But on some levels it makes sense.
I'm sure Blackhawk fans will be a split decision, more possibly falling on the side of Edmontonians being crazy for expecting Chicago to make that trade. For that matter, likely might Oiler followers, who in a million years wouldn't "really" consider moving Ales Hemsky if the option were there.
For a moment though, let's pretend were the GMs of each respective franchise.
If you're Chicago and need to clear contract space for next season, thanks to the signing of your big three, you likely figure a salary dump is on the cards. Sure, you have a player in Patrick Sharp people want, but he's not the dump you do. He's far too valuable. But what if you could obtain a point-per-game offensive game changer by moving him?
At the same time, what if you could rid yourself of a $3 million contract in Dustin Byfuglien that to date hasn't paid off and would be harder to move?
To be able to clear your cap issues and pick up Ales Hemsky? Not bad if you're a Chicago fan.
For the Oilers, you move perhaps your best offensive weapon, but you gain a terrific two-way forward on a reasonable deal and a big physical power forward the likes of Dustin Penner. You've seen first hand what patience will do with a player like Penner, why not give that chance to a player like Byfuglien?
If you're the Oilers under Pat Quinn, you need more grit. Both Sharp and Byfuglien provide it. You need better penalty killing and Sharp is one of the best. You need someone who could be your next first line center. Sharp would be in Chicago if not for Jonathan Toews.
If you're the GM in Chicago and the GM in Edmonton, for different reasons you need to make moves. A trade like this provides possibly some of the best return as a team you're going to get.
Then again, with players of this caliber, maybe I'm nuts.
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