Video: Hemsky | Audio: Hemsky
The Oilers traded longtime winger Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators this morning, for a 5th round pick in 2014 and a 3rd round pick in 2015.
Hemsky played 652 regular season games for the Oilers and scored 477 points (142-335-477), since being taken 13th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He also scored 17 points (6-11-17) in 30 playoff games.
Hemsky spoke to the media just moments after the team made the trade official and although he expected a move to happen, it was still a strange moment to say goodbye.
“It’s a weird feeling and especially because I’ve been here for so long,” Hemsky said. “I have a lot of great memories and it comes to the end. It’s a weird feeling, but I’m excited for the new challenge and play different hockey.”
He continued, “It’s just a mix of feelings. It’s hard to leave from here because I’ve been here for so long and I was comfortable here. I knew the city and the team and everything. It’s the only team I’ve been playing for so it’s kind of weird. Like I said, I’m ready for the challenge.”
For Hemsky, it was just time to move on. The winger said he was looking for a new challenge and hoped to move on to a team that’s competing for a playoff spot.
“It’s not about the city or the team. I really like the city, I love the guys over here and I like the organization and it’s just more personal. I need a change and it’s a good challenge for me. I’ve been here for so long, in this situation, so I’m happy for the challenge.”
When asked about the legacy that he wished to leave behind in Edmonton, Hemsky said he didn’t know how the fans would choose to remember him but he hoped it was as a hard worker who gave the team his all.
“I don’t know, you’ve got to ask them how they’ll remember me,” he said. “I’ve been here for 12 years and I think I tried with everything I could to help the organization and, like I said, I really appreciate what the people in the city have done for me. Everybody treated me nice and I met so many great people here and I pretty much grew up here and I can’t appreciate enough, the city of Edmonton and this organization.”
Hemsky went out in epic fashion, playing in his final game as an Oiler last night and scoring two goals in a win over the team he’d eventually be traded to. The fans began to chant his name as he was named the game’s first star.
“It was nice. It worked out pretty well, the last game, to have it like that and to hear the people like that. I talked to a lot of people and like I said, they treated me very well and I have a lot of respect for the city.”
Hemsky can now ride off to face a new challenge with the knowledge that he left his mark on a team and a city.
Video: Hemsky | Audio: Hemsky
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have acquired a 5th round draft selection in 2014 NHL Draft as well as a 3rd round draft selection in the 2015 NHL Draft from the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for winger Ales Hemsky.
Hemsky, 30, has recorded 477 points (142G, 335A) in 652 career NHL games. The Pardubice, Czech Republic native also registered 17 points (6G, 11A) in 30 career playoff games with the Oilers.
We streamed Hemsky's interview with the media live. Watch the archive right here:
Fasth is scheduled to arrive in Edmonton this afternoon and Shannon Szabados is skating as the second goalie in practice.
The Edmonton Oilers placed defenceman Corey Potter on waivers yesterday and this morning, news came down that the Boston Bruins have claimed him.
#NHLBruins claim defenceman Corey Potter off waivers.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 5, 2014
Potter played 16 games for the Oilers this season, recording five assists and 21 penalty minutes.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today that newly acquired goaltender Viktor Fasth will wear number 35.
Newly-acquired goalie Viktor Fasth will wear #35 with the #Oilers.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 5, 2014
With newly acquired goaltender Viktor Fasth not scheduled to arrive until later today, the Oilers will suit up a special visitor as their second goalie for practice at Rexall Place today.
Canada's Olympic women's gold medal goalie Shannon Szabados will practice with the team this morning.
Szabados is an Edmonton native and was the first female to play in several leagues, including the WHL and the AJHL.
Szabados has two Olympic gold medals after winning in Vancouver in 2010 and in Sochi, Russia in February.
24-year-old Sherwood Park native Kurtis Mucha was having just a regular day when he got a call that would change his plans for tonight.
Little did Mucha know that the Edmonton Oilers would soon trade goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild for a 4th round pick, giving the team a need for an emergency backup for their game against the Ottawa Senators.
Mucha, the goaltender for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, would be that guy.
“It was just a normal day for me,” Mucha said. “I actually had a dentist appointment at 8:30 and went to class at 11. That’s when I got the call from Ian Herbers, my coach there, and he said the Oilers had stuff in the works and if a trade happened, I was probably going to get to back up. Lo and behold, I ended up getting on the bench there so it was pretty cool.”
Mucha is no stranger to ‘getting the call’. The Boston Bruins needed an extra goalie for practice during their trip to Edmonton earlier this season and called upon the young netminder for help. However, putting on the orange and blue and sitting on the bench during an NHL game was something special.
“Really special,” Mucha said. “I just kind of, soaked it all in. These guys got a game to win so you just kind of stay out of their way and not to get to be too much of a distraction and let them do their job. But I tried to interact with them as well and kind of help on the bench and keep them alert and stuff like that.”
Having taken shots from the Bruins before, the warmup skate didn’t quite phase him, however it was the end of the game where things set in for Mucha.
“Just at the end of the game, when everybody in the crowd is cheering in a full barn of 17,000 people, or whatever it is, it’s pretty surreal to kind of look around and just take it all in. It was pretty cool.”
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the team welcomed Mucha with open arms and helped make it a special day for him.
“I welcomed him,” Eakins said. “I said, don’t be shy in the dressing room and use all parts of it. When you get somebody in the room like that, they just go sit in their stall. They don’t move very far. They’re usually very intimidated but we’ve got good guys in our room and they welcomed him with open arms. I didn’t go out for warmup but I’m sure he had the butterflies going in that net for sure.”
When the Edmonton Oilers pulled the trigger on a trade with the Calgary Flames on November 8, to bring 20-year-old goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit into the organization, General Manager Craig MacTavish was happy the team had a younger netminder, with the potential to be a number one, on board. MacTavish said that was a position they did not have the quality depth in that they were looking for.
With the moves the Oilers made in the last two days, re-signing Ben Scrivens and trading for Viktor Fasth, MacTavish feels very pleased with the depth in goal moving forward.
“He’s got a real good record in this league,” MacTavish said of Fasth, who was acquired in a trade with Anaheim. “This year was a little bit of a setback from some injury standpoints but it just gives us certainty going into our next year with our goaltending. I think anyone who tells you they’re sure about the performance of their goaltenders based on a relatively small sample size, is not likely accurate. But we have two really good options next year and it will be a competitive position, as it always is. When I was driving into the office today, I thought that if we could stabilize our goaltending for next year and check that box off, that was my objective going in.”
With Fasth’s first start presumably happening soon, the Oilers will have had six goalies play a game for the team this season. MacTavish acknowledged that there is a much higher comfort level with the state of the Oilers net now, than there was at the beginning of the season.
“We really defaulted to Devan (Dubnyk) at the start of the year,” the general manager said. “He was deserving of that opportunity for a number of reasons. I don’t know that I wasn’t sure that he was going to be able to handle it. It’s a big difference being a number ‘1A’ and going to a number one. Whether you can handle that workload or not is a big challenge. I didn’t have any certainty that he was going to be able to do it but there was a real rational explanation of why we did it.
“From that point forward, I’m more happy with the goaltending depth that we have in the organization right now. Laurent Brossoit is performing fine in his first year so he’s given us a piece, a legitimate 20 year-old, that has an opportunity to grow into a number one goalie. We’ve got good depth, in my mind, at the position here in Edmonton for next year. (Richard) Bachman has played very well too, as well, this year. I’m happy with where the goaltending is going into next year.”
Checking off the ‘to do’ list item of acquiring quality goalie depth is something that MacTavish and the Oilers were looking to accomplish and they believe they’ve done so with their recent moves.
“I think it’s important. It allows us to really focus our attention and our energies in other areas now, of which there are significant deficiencies quite obviously. We’ll focus… on other areas and other facets of our game, outside of goaltending. For me, it’s a comfort that really, I didn’t have going into this year. I felt we had a legitimate chance to have success at the position but I wasn’t as comfortable as I am now. But I think that’s an important box to check off.”
Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish took to the podium at Rexall Place, shortly before the team’s home game against the Ottawa Senators tonight. One of the topics of his meeting with the media was the state of the market as the NHL trade deadline is tomorrow.
MacTavish says that, right now, the market is ‘undervalued’ for the type of UFA that the Oilers have on roster. This prompted the Oilers to wait until tomorrow to make any more moves regarding trades, despite pulling two moves involving goaltenders this morning.
“The market price feels undervalued for rentals, at this point,” MacTavish said. “I don’t know where that’s going to go tomorrow but I’m a guy that is very much of the belief of a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. If we had the opportunity to do something that I thought was fair and legitimate, then we would have done it today. But we’re going to be pushed to the deadline tomorrow and when that happens, there’s a certain amount of risk at stake and right now we’re prepared to take the risk rather than settle for what’s been offered so far. I think this is, from talking to quite a few of my colleagues, that this is fairly standard practice right now.”
As for making a bigger trade, possibly with players under contract instead of free agents to be, MacTavish said there has been conversations but there may be more value in making those trades at a later day and not tomorrow.
“Well, we’ve been proposing some of those ideas in some of the phone calls I’ve had but I really think, my instinct tells me, that those deals will be better served down the road than they will be tomorrow with some of our players… Not that we’d turn our back on a hockey deal, there are some very significant adds that we’d like to make to this team. We have some pieces that we’d been willing to give up to acquire those additions but my instincts say that’s unlikely for tomorrow.”
Now that the Oilers have solidified their goalie tandem for next season, MacTavish says the team will set out looking to acquire assets for their UFAs, prior to tomorrow’s deadline.
“I think we want to continue to focus on bringing in as many assets as we can from our UFA players. I’ve been very upfront about that in my conversations with (the media) in the past. We all know the position we’re in. Unfortunately, we’re here again in this position but we’re going to try to make the best of this current position that we’re in.”
The Oilers have announced that goaltender Kurtis Mucha will be backing up tonight. He has been signed by the team to a one-day tryout contract.