Is Hemsky worth a contract extension? Should the Oilers trade him?

Lets assume that the Oilers’ Briantrust would like to resign Hemsky. I do, but do you? What should the contract be?

Here is the list of NHL players that make between 5.5 and 5.0 million dollars: Horcoff (33 years old / $5.5 Million), Kessel (24/ $5.4), Getzlaf (26 / $5.325), Perry (26 / $5.325), Pominville (28 / $5.3), Carter (26 / $5.272), Hossa (32 / $5.275), Ryan (24 / $5.1), Rolston (38 / $5.06), Ribeiro (31 / $5), Gionta (32 / $5), Havlat (30 / $5), Kelser (27 / $5), Plekanec (28 / $5), and Bergeron (26 / $5). The ones that are crossed out either have a—really—long-term contract or are old. The rest have a five or six years left on their contract (except Bergeron: who has 3). Right below this is Alferdsson, Connolly, McDonald, and Umberger all between 4.5 and 5 million a season. People can argue about whether these players are an accurate reflection of Hemsky’s hockey value, but I would say this is not a bad starting place.

There are not a lot of free agents on this list: virtually all of these players where either signed to these contracts by the team that drafted/develop them or where traded for them. This is the position that Hemsky is in with the Oilers (not exactly a home team discount but most of them did not taste the sugary waters of unrestricted free agency). What are the comparables if Hemsky does drink from this magical ocean of money? There is not as many comparisons that have the player going to free agency and getting more than $5.5 million as a winger: Gaborik (29 / $7.5), Kovalchuk (28 / $6.66), Briere (34 / $6.5), Smyth (35 / $6.25), and Cammalleri (29 / $6).

Either way: The contract is basically set between 5 and 6.5 million dollars for about an average of 5 or years (but it could be a hell of a lot longer . . . NHL GMs are crazy).

Hemsky is 28 years old, and lets assume that Hemsky takes a deal which is $5.75 (the middle of the rough guidelines) and is 6 years long: or 34.5 million dollars in all. This means he will have a contract till he is 34 years old—perfect timing not get your last long-term deal. I would think there would be some kind of no-trade clause in there (since Hemsky will be committing to a rebuilding team and giving up the chance to go to free agency).

The structure of the contract makes a big difference. Is it front-end load like we have seen a bunch of contracts recently or a back end load contract like veterans used to sign? I think for buyout reasons (see a convoluted piece I did about that here) or for later trades, I believe the Oilers would want it to be front-end load. Maybe something like this:







Base Salary

$6 Million

$5 Million

$4 Million

$3.5 Million

$3 Million

$3 Million


$10 Million


$16 Million

$5 Million

$4 Million

$3.5 Million

$3 Million

$3 Million

This structure allows the Oilers to play roughly half of Hemsky’s total contract out before the extension of Hall, Eberle, and Paarajvi kick in. Regardless of what we sign those three for in the future, we are not paying that much cash for them now. This from a hockey operations perspective could be very, very valuable.

While we are at signing extensions, why not target The Nuge’s bunk’n mate on the road: Ryan Smyth. Offer him a four year extension at 2 million dollars a season; you would need to include a no-trade clause to convince him to sign it. But who cares? That would mean the Oilers are paying Smyth & Hemsky a total of $7.75 over the next four season, or $2.6 million less then they are this season. That is some savings to resign one of the kids (add in with one of Eberle’s or Paajarvi’s current salary it is about $4 million, or enough to get one of them signed to a decently long extension). It is addition through addition!

1 comment:

Jonathan Willis said...

Would you be able to email me, BCB? jonathan dot willis at live dot ca