NHL

Numbers Game: Oilers send Hemsky to Senators

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Scott Cullen
3/5/2014 2:10:59 PM
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The Ottawa Senators made a low-risk investment, both in terms of picks and contract, in an effort to boost their offence.

Numbers Game looks at the Senators getting Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers for a pair of draft picks.

The Senators Get: RW Ales Hemsky.

Hemsky, 30, is not the two-time 70-point scorer that he was earlier in his career, but there are some factors working in his favour, at least in terms of producing more offensively.

For one thing, he has good possession numbers while facing high-quality opposition and starting an unsually-low (43.9%) percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone. If the Senators plug Hemsky's playmaking skill alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, that would have to be considered a much better situation for an offensive player than Hemsky's role in Edmonton this year, where his most common centre was checker Boyd Gordon.

The Senators are in tough to try and get into the playoffs -- four points out with 20 games remaining -- but it's not impossible and adding Hemsky does give them a decent chance to have a second productive scoring line.

Perhaps the real coup of the deal for the Senators is that they convinced the Oilers to retain half of Hemsky's salary and while that's not a huge deal for a pending unrestricted free agent, it makes for a cheap addition of a top six forward.

The Oilers Get: A fifth-round pick and 2015 third-round pick.

The net return on this deal is remarkably little for the Oilers. Cumulatively, a fifth and third-round pick brings approximately a 36% chance of landing an NHL player, and that player is likely not going to be in the league for three or four years, at least.

It's one thing to roll the dice on a few picks, but to also pick up half of Hemsky's cap hit is a tad generous, but this is likely a function of how the Oilers have used Hemsky this season. If he was played in an offensive role throughout the year and put up points, there would be greater demand for his services which would obviously bring a better return.

Since Hemsky was effectively playing on the Oilers' third line, there is room to plug in the likes of Ryan Jones or Jesse Joensuu to fill the spot. Presumably there will be an attempt in the offseason to find a more suitable top nine forward to fill the void created by Hemsky's departure.

In any case, the Hemsky Era in Edmonton is over, after 477 points in 652 games, and he's going to have a decent shot to rehabilitate his offensive image before hitting free agency in the summer.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Ales Hemsky (Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
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