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Hemsky staying in Oil country?

Hemsky's $5-million salary could make it difficult for Oilers GM Craig MacTavish to move him. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Hemsky's $5-million salary could make it difficult for Oilers GM Craig MacTavish to move him. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Following the early July trade of Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers fans expected right winger Ales Hemsky would be next.

GM Craig MacTavish was reportedly shopping Hemsky, who could be ready to move on after several fruitless seasons in Edmonton.

In a recent interview, however, MacTavish hinted he could be done making major moves this summer.

Former NHL GM and player agent Brian Lawton considers this summer a horrible time to shop Hemsky, citing his salary ($5 million), the declining salary cap and the current glut of second-tier talent remaining in the free agent market.

The Edmonton Journal's David Staples noted Hemsky's lengthy injury history as another trade impediment. Staples considers Hemsky an elite playmaker and puckhandler, but feels too many factors seem to be working against a summer trade.  

Unless MacTavish picks up part of Hemsky's salary, the earliest he could be moved is mid-season, when the Oilers have paid out half his salary and teams have more time to evaluate his performance.
 

CROWDED CREASE

The St. Louis Blues could enter 2013-14 with a three-man circus in goal.

Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are under contract, while restricted free agent Jake Allen should be re-signed later this summer. Some observers consider Halak the odd man out, linking him to the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers. He has a year left on his contract (at a cap hit of $3.8 million), was hampered by injuries last season and in May got into a public argument with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock following a team meeting in Los Angeles.

Halak recently downplayed the argument, maintaining his desire to remain with the Blues.  Lacking a no-trade clause, however, the 28-year-old netminder acknowledged he can't control whether he's traded or not.

Considering this summer's slow market for goalies, Elliott's inconsistency and Allen's inexperience, Halak should still be on the Blues roster when training camp opens in September. How long he remains a Blue depends on his performance and that of his rivals.
 

MILLER'S TIME NOT OVER IN BUFFALO?

Halak isn't the only goalie in the summer rumor mill that could end up staying put. In a recent interview with the Buffalo News, Sabres GM Darcy Regier appeared resigned to Ryan Miller's return this fall. The same goes for left winger Thomas Vanek, who has also been the subject of recent trade speculation.

Regier explained that as you get further into July, movement becomes less frequent as rosters become settled. It also appears he can't move the contracts of either player without absorbing part of their cost. Regier hasn't had contract talks with the pair, noting other clubs have also had limited activity re-signing players who are eligible for free agency next summer.

While there could be increased interest in Miller and Vanek during pre-season, they could still be Sabres when the season opens in October.
 

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TOO MUCH DOUGH ON 'D'

Prior to the recent NHL draft, the Philadelphia Flyers were entertaining offers for defenseman Braydon Coburn.  

The Flyers are currently $2.1 million above the cap ceiling. They also have 10 defensemen on one-way contracts, though it's expected Chris Pronger (concussion) will be placed on long-term injured reserve when the season begins.

Placing Pronger on LTIR should get them under the cap and  demoting lower-salaried players like Marc-Andre Bourdon or Bruno Gervais would help too. Despite these moves, however, the Flyers would have little wiggle room for call-ups or other acquisitions during the season.

If they're reluctant to move Coburn, another option could be Andrej Meszaros. Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently noted Meszaros, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, should be medically cleared to play later this month.

Meszaros will earn $5.5 million this season, with a cap hit of $4 million. He also lacks a no-trade clause, which could make him easier to move than Coburn, who has a modified one.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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