EDMONTON — The lines are drawn in any deal between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings including right-winger Ales Hemsky.
Sources confirm to sportsnet.ca that the Oilers require that 19-year-old centre Brayden Schenn be included in the deal, or they will not part with Hemsky. At this time, Kings GM Dean Lombardi is not warm to the idea of parting with his fifth overall pick from the 2009 draft, and younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn.
This appears to be one of those deals where strict guidelines have been set, and now the two GMs will sit back and see who blinks first, with Monday’s 3 p.m. et National Hockey League trade deadline fast approaching.
It will come down to pressure points, and on that front, it is clear Oilers GM Steve Tambellini — who has Hemsky under contract next season, nicely priced at $4.1 million — can live without getting a deal done for his best player.
Having Hemsky, a perennial 65-70 point player when healthy, back next year will in fact help the Oilers to take the next step towards competing for a playoff spot in 2011-12, while Schenn would certainly mean a drop in overall offensive production in the short term for Edmonton.
Perhaps not much though. Since being traded from the Brandon Wheat Kings to the Saskatoon Blades, Schenn has racked up an amazing 16-24-40 in just 17 games. And, he’s doing it while playing on a Blades’ line with Curtis Hamilton, Edmonton’s second-rounder from the 2010 draft.
The two were teammates and key contributors with Canada’s World Junior entry this winter.
The questions lie in Los Angeles: Does ownership, after several years of rebuilding, value more playoff dates this spring over another prospect in Schenn who is perhaps a few years away from contributing?
If the message from above is that the time has come for the Kings to take a run at the franchise’ first ever Stanley Cup, with the 27-year-old Hemsky under contract for this year and next Lombardi may be able to justify moving a 19-year-old like Schenn.
With Hemsky is available at a huge price, Lombardi, who it is believed was following orders from above when he unsuccessfully went after Ilya Kovalchuk last summer, reportedly turned his attention to concussed Dallas Stars centre Brad Richards Saturday.
So the Edmonton deal will remain dormant until Monday, pending Lombardi’s success in making a deal for Richards. If, by noon et, Lombardi has not been successful, he may relent and make Tambellini’s phone ring.
Edmonton, meanwhile, will continue to listen to offers for Hemsky and Dustin Penner.
It is believed that the Washington Capitals, despite having kicked tires on a deal, are unwilling to move a roster player to Edmonton in any deal. The Capitals do not have a prospect of Schenn’s calibre, making that prospective deal a nonstarter.
Mark Spector is the lead columnist for Sportsnet.ca
Follow me on Twitter.com @SportsnetSpec