Los Angeles Kings Speculation: Ales Hemsky a Target for Kings on the Wing?

Michael StuartCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 05: Ales Hemsky #83 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on February 5, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For the last two seasons, Ales Hemsky's name has been linked to the Los Angeles Kings as their possible trade target.

He is highly skilled, quick and affordable. The downsides in his game are his lack of physicality and his injury history. While Hemsky doesn't fill the obvious hole in the Kings lineup, that being a top-line left winger, he does bring a lot of tangible skills that the Kings could utilize this season.

One has to think that the price to acquire Hemsky would be a top defensive prospect like Thomas Hickey or Alec Martinez plus either a roster player or high draft pick. Dean Lombardi has been slow to give up on his prized prospects and as a result the Kings have failed to make a jump up the standings over the past two years. 

That all changed this summer as Lombardi shipped the Kings top prospect, Brayden Schenn, to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for one of the great leaders in the game, Mike Richards.

If Lombardi can let go of a major prospect for the second time this offseason, he could find Ales Hemsky wearing No. 83 for the Kings to start the season. 

Although Hemsky has only managed to play more than 80 games once in his career, he has twice succeeded in scoring over 70 points as he did in 2006 and 2008. This kind of offense would surely be welcomed to a Kings lineup that relies on Justin Williams and Dustin Brown to produce goals from the right side. Hemsky could come in and automatically be the team's No. 1 right winger.

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 23:  (L-R) Ales Hemsky #83, Kurtis Foster #26, Shawn Horcoff #10, Dustin Penner #27  and Magnus Paajarvi #91 of the Edmonton Oilers skate toward the bench as they celebrate a goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Oilers do not want to trade Hemsky, according to a February Ottawa Sun article. Hemsky also sounded optimistic about the Oilers' future in an Edmonton Sun piece Tuesday.  However, one has to question whether or not that is reasonable considering the Oilers boast young, talented wingers like Jordan Eberle and Linus Omark. Does Hemsky fit in with the Oilers' plans? The obvious answer would be no.

Oilers GM Steve Tambellini's reasons for wanting to keep Hemsky around include his ability to mentor the younger players.  With the recent addition of Ryan Smyth, Hemsky's mentoring role has diminished.  Make no mistake; the majority of the teaching will come from Smyth. He did the same thing in Los Angeles. 

The Edmonton Oilers are loaded with forwards and they are starving for a defenseman. The Los Angeles Kings appear to be the perfect trading partner. Is Hemsky the odd man out in Edmonton? If you ask this analyst, the answer is yes. Long-term, he doesn't fit in with Edmonton's plans. The Oilers are going through a major organizational transition period.  It's time for Hemsky to move on.

Although his health could be an issue, Hemsky's offensive potential playing with Kopitar is unlimited. With Jack Johnson locked up and the signing of Drew Doughty sure to come, the Los Angeles Kings are loaded on defense. It's time for Lombardi to make his second major deal of the offseason.

The Los Angeles Kings are going to be a different team in 2011/2012. They are going to be faster, stronger, grittier and more skilled. Hemsky fits in with this team's aspirations to win the cup very soon. Could he be the right fit? You be the judge.

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