That the Rangers are trying to acquire a forward is one of the worst kept secrets in hockey right now, and it wouldn’t be a trading deadline without discussions of Glen Sather trading with his former team. Thus, Alex Hemsky to New York rumors were predictable and inevitable. Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly talked to a Wester Conference scout who believes that the Rangers and Kings are the two most likely destinations for Hemsky. Hemsky will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and with Edmonton out of playoff contention he’s an obvious trade chip. But does he make sense for the Rangers?
The first question about Hemsky will be his health. Simply put, he can’t help the team if he isn’t on the ice. Hemsky played a combined 69 games in the previous two seasons and has missed 13 games already this season. There is not a more wasteful move Glen Sather could make than trading assets for a player who ultimately makes little impact because of injuries.
And even if on the ice, how much can Hemsky really help us? Though there’s no harm in adding another right winger, the left side is what the Rangers would be best off upgrading. And Hemsky is a player whose skill has never matched his production. Hemsky has only 5 goals in 46 games this season and has only scored 20 or more twice in his whole career. To be fair, though, his passing should not be forgotten and he has put up a good number of assists this season (21). Still, his offense is inconsistent and he’s virtually worthless in every other aspect of the game; he’s not going to throw a lot of hits, play the penalty kill, block shots, etc.
As always, the ultimate factor is cost. Hemsky is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and I think he’d prefer a fresh start. And with Eberle, Hall, and Nugent-Hopkins as the new young talent in Edonton I think GM Jeff Tambellini would not be afraid to move on as well. His production this year has been relatively underwhelming so his inherent value is not as high as it likely was, say, two-three years ago.
But that being said, the market for forwards was relatively weak to begin with and the Hurricanes locking up Tuomo Ruutu just yesterday does nothing to help that. Hemsky is one of the better forwards on the market and Edmonton is one of the few sellers at this point. Thus, Edmonton probably has more bargaining power than Hemsky alone should give them. It’s hard to pinpoint what Hemsky would require but I’d guess it’s not going to be scraps. If Glen Sather can do no better than Hemsky then I’m not going to be happy, but if the trade itself is reasonable then I’ll tolerate it. Ultimately, though, I see him as a moderate upgrade over Wojtek Wolski in terms of what he brings to the table, and that’s not any sort of praise.