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To sign or trade Hemsky, that’s the question for the Oilers

Feb 14, 2012, 7:13 PM EST

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Ales Hemsky AP

Ales Hemsky is a tough player to value. When healthy, he’s a point-a-game player. Unfortunately, he always seems to be hurt.

And that’s just one factor Oilers GM Steve Tambellini will have to consider before choosing to sign or trade the 28-year-old pending unrestricted free agent. He’ll also have to decide if Hemsky is a fit on an Edmonton team with a plethora of young talent up front, but not much in the way of top-six size and grit.

“I think as a manager you always have to have your feel for what’s happening right now and what the team looks like,” Tambellini said, as per the Canadian Press.

“You also have to have a plan in place for the organization of identifying what your core is going to be and what that’s going to look like, what it’s going to cost to keep that core.

“Things can change along the way in the next few years. We’ve got a lot of high-end, talented, skilled players that we’re excited about and I know people are excited about. There’ll be issues. When it gets to that point, there will be hard decisions, but those are good problems. It means you’re getting better.”

Hemsky has just four goals and 20 assists in 42 games as he’s taken a backseat to the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

TSN’s Darren Dreger believes a trade prior to the Feb. 27 deadline is “likely”, though what the Oilers could get in return is a mystery.

From 2005-06 to 2008-09, Hemsky was one of the more dangerous players in the NHL on the power play; however, he’s seen his PP time fall dramatically as the young guns have established themselves. For a team that’s struggling with the man advantage (Blues? Rangers? Kings?), perhaps he could provide a boost.

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