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Oilers ready to part ways with Khabibulin, Hemsky and Horcoff

Jun 6, 2013, 3:41 PM EDT


This summer could mark a changing of the guard in Edmonton, according to Craig MacTavish.

The Oilers GM appeared on Edmonton’s 1260 The Team radio Thursday to discuss the future of his club — a future that apparently doesn’t involve three veteran presences: goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, forward Ales Hemsky and captain Shawn Horcoff.

“Sometimes change is good for both the organization and the player,” MacTavish explained. “I have a lot of allegiance, loyalty for both Horc and Hemmer.

“[But the] ideal scenario would be to move them on and wish them the best.”

MacTavish then added the Oilers will “go in a different direction” from the 40-year-old Khabibulin, who is an unrestricted free agent.

It’ll be interesting to see if MacTavish — who, upon being hired in April, promised to do “bold things” with the Oilers — is able to go in a different direction from Horcoff and Hemsky.

The former has been Edmonton’s captain since 2010, but holds one of the league’s less desirable contracts — a six-year, $33 million deal with a $5.5 million annual cap hit and modified no-trade clause for next season.

It expires in 2015.

Horcoff, 34, is also coming off a tough campaign, scoring just 12 points in 31 games while averaging 16:51 TOI, his lowest total in eight years.

Hemsky should be easier to move. He’s in the final season of a two-year, $10 million deal (a $5 million cap hit) and doesn’t have a no-trade or -movement clause.

The 29-year-old Czech has had injury issues — he’s missed a ton of games over the last four years — but, when healthy, can contribute offensively. He has 120 points in his last 176 games.

Horcoff could end up being a buyout casualty, though veteran Edmonton Journal scribe Jim Matheson put the odds of that happening at 50-50.

The buyout is just one option under terms of the NHL’s new CBA.

Another is for the Oilers to retain part of Horcoff’s salary in a trade, though it’s unclear if management is willing to go that route.

  1. timmylaz99 - Jun 6, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    To quote MacTavish ““Sometimes change is good for both the organization and the player”. The team should take their own advice and stop hiring former Oilers and get people who actually know how to run a team!

  2. northstarnic - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    “I have a lot of allegiance, loyalty for both Horc and Hemmer.” Umm, no actually. You don’t. Which is fine, I just don’t get why a person would give lip service to loyalty when talking about getting rid of them.

    • sunderlanding - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Maybe he means “as a fellow humman”.

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Wow, this would be a huge mistake, apart from kniabilulin

    • timmylaz99 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      Wake up – This isn’t 2006 anymore.

  4. thailer35 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Man, I remember the days when the “Bulin wall” was backstopping for the ‘Yotes when they first came to Phoenix. I can’t imagine many teams looking to sign a 40 year old net minder, but it’s going to be weird to see one of the players that first got me into hockey as a kid retire, as that’s looking like the most likely outcome of this scenario.

  5. jacketsfan7 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Khabibulin to Toronto
    Hemsky to Columbus
    Horcoff to Pittsburgh , I’d be soo happy

  6. thesportsjudge - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Would signing Tim Thomas qualify as a “bold move?”

  7. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    My brother in law is a die hard Oilers fan, believes everything the team is for the right move, he was convinced they were dealing Hemsky at the 2012 deadline, when I called to tell him about the extension he was shocked, he couldn’t understand why they would keep him or why they would give him $5 million a year. MacTavish is now admitting what everyone else already knew, Hemsky isn’t a $5 million a year player and isn’t anything more than a piece of the periphery, not someone you build around. If anyone offers them anything of value the Oilers should take it before the other team has the chance to reconsider.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      *everything the team does is the right move

  8. tomklassen - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:39 PM


  9. tomklassen - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Thank god we’re getting rid of these clowns, the reason our team has sucked for so long is because Tambellini turned a blind eye to how god awful our veterans are. Hemmer isn’t bad but he’s always injured, and Horcoff has the second worst contract in the NHL to Lecavalier.

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