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The first Deadline Period update (key name: Hemsky).


Greetings from Chicago, dear readers. Weather was better in Pittsburgh when I left my fair city this Sunday morning. Chicago: chilly, rainy, and considerably lacking buzz for a game between the last two Cup winners — not that either the Blackhawks or Penguins resemble their most recent title teams.

= So, as has been policy from Day 1, I won’t be throwing out names or rumors as the Feb. 28 trade deadline approaches. Same rule applies as has in years past: Even for the blog, I’ll need to have heard something from two independent sources before I bring it up.

Translation: There are plenty of blogs where you can find rumors. This isn’t one.

What I can report is that Pens GM Ray Shero is talking with other GMs, but he does that at this time every season, so I wouldn’t try to pass that off as “news.” There seems to be a lot of quiet regarding the Penguins right now, and the speculation I’ve read that they should feel compelled to make a move just because of a busy past several days by other NHL clubs — well, I can report they don’t feel compelled to do anything because of moves made by other teams. Never have. Won’t in the future. That isn’t how Shero works.

Now, if another club is moving in on landing a player they really want (think: RW Bill Guerin in 2009), well, that is another story. Then you can expect Shero to get aggressive, though not to the point of giving away the farm – half of which is playing for the Penguins now, anyway.

A history lesson: Aside from last season, Shero has played it patient and waited until Deadline Day to improve his team. (I’m not counting the 2009 swap of D Ryan Whitney for LW Chris Kunitz and LW Eric Tangradi because it happened several weeks before the deadline that year. The Penguins deadline moves in 2007, 2008 and 2009 all happened on Deadline Day — and up against the deadline in 2008 and 2009.)

My point: Shero has been credited often, not just by me, for “winning” the trade deadline. He’s done so by not tipping his hand early. Last year he did make moves in the days before Deadline Day, and those acquisitions — D Jordan Leopold and RW Alexei Ponikarovsky – are the ones that didn’t really pay off.

Anyway, the whole point for this post was to note this bit of information I’ve heard regarding Ales Hemsky of the Oilers. I’ve heard from an NHL agent and somebody high within the Penguins that the asking price is “huge” — at least a first-round pick and player off the NHL roster, probably more. Judge for yourself if that price is too high for the Penguins, but do consider that Hemsky still has a year remaining on his contract — always a factor for the cap-strapped Penguins, as they will be cap-strapped for at least the next couple of seasons.



Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.


  1. Tyler says:

    I don’t think Hemsky is worth it at that price. He is a good player, no doubt, but the number of games he’s missed over the last couple years is very troubling. He reminds me a lot of a freewheeler like Alex Semin who can pile up points but he’s not effective at all on the forecheck (which I should think is priority #1 for Shero, finding players that fit our system) and can be streaky. If we were to potentially pay a 1st rounder price for anyone from EDM, I’d much rather they look into Penner – who’s also signed for another year, very durable and a great forechecker.

  2. Karl Osterhout says:

    I’m very glad to hear this. It was my guess. We’ve had a lot of bad luck but the bottom line is we have Crosby, Malkin, Stall, Fleury, and great top 5 (maybe even 6) D. That’s our team. Not to mention Kunitz, who costs alot. I imagine there’s a way we cd afford Hemsky (esp if Shero believes we can afford to plug in at least 3 of the low paid Baby Pens next year), but that’s a hell of a lot to pay. we’ve had bad luck, but look at our team when we don’t. Hate to say it but maybe this isnt going to be a long run in the playoffs this year. Can’t see mortgaging that much for Hemsky. It’s the wrong time of year to make a deal for him, unless we know for a fact Crosby’s coming back for the playoffs and I doubt Shero knows much, if any, more than we’ve benn told about that

  3. Evilpens says:

    UMMM Cash Strapped ?? How The Cap is going up at least by 3 Mill !! & get rid of Dead Weight Like Talbot Maikng over a Million, Asham is a Bum,Godard & there you have even more Cap room. Engelland can do Godard’s Job for Less, Vitale can do Talbot’s Job for half Price & Jeffrey can Be Better than Asham for Less

  4. Kevin Strafalace says:

    No way should they pay that kind of price for Hemsky. I looked at his stat line over his 7 seasons of NHL service. His Goals/Points from 2002-2010 are 02- 6/30, 03- 12/34, 05- 19/77, 06- 13/53, 07- 20/72, 08- 23/66, 09- 7/22 (only played 22 games), and has 13/40 so far this season. This is a guy who has only reached 20 or more goals twice not to mention only reaching 70 or more points twice as well. That is the same type of offensive output we already get from T.K., Dupuis, Kunitz, and can even include Letestu and Jeffrey or Tandgradi if they get healthy for the playoffs. This is not the elite goal scoring winger we so desperatley need. If that is the best we can get in return I say pass. You cant give up a 1st Rd pick as well as an NHL player and maybe even more for this caliber player. 1st Rounders are vital to this teams future with all the top end talent eating up most of the cap space. All you have to do is look at our 1st Rounder from 2 years ago to see that with the drafting of Simon Despres. Im sure Shero sees this too. A run at a Stanley Cup with a beat up team is not worth the big picture here.

  5. André Aguiar says:

    Rossi, nice article! Wouldn’t the Penguins be better off if they could land two Wingers at around 2-2.5 million each? I keep asking myself if Talbot/Tangradi/2nd and 4th Round picks 2011 would be enough to land lets say James Neal and Setoguchi/(or)Sttaford? Thanks in advance for your insight.

  6. Lisa says:

    I would love to get Iggy, if Shero could work it out and reach some type of deal. I know Iggy is getting older but he would love to play on Sid’s line. I’ve been hoping for this for over a year now.
    Where there is a will there is a way.
    Wishful thinking but I dream BIG!

  7. harp says:

    Hemsky is too fragile for what the pens would have to give up in return. He’s a poor mans Semin, great when they play but more often on the shelf.
    No way Calgary is going to give up Igilna when chasing a playoff spot plus he’s a fan favorite.
    His price would be too steep, the pens would need to cut too many players.
    Arnott is a huge center and although aging could help for renting and he has a cup plus he’s somewhat affordable.

  8. Frank says:

    Forget what we would have to send to Calgary in order to get Iginla, I believe he is set to make $7.0 this season and the same for the next two years. There is no way we would be able to take on that type of contract. Where there is a will there is a way – and then there’s the salary cap.

    As for Hemsky. For a guy who has never scored 25 goals in a season and is questionable on the injury front, I am very skeptical when it comes to giving up that much for him. If we really feel the need to give up around that much for a player and assuming Crosby is even coming back this season, I would rather see us go after a guy like Devin Setoguchi or Brad Boyes. At least feel out both organizations and see what they are asking for in return.

    As long as we don’t end up with Kovalev, I’m happy.

  9. Shawn says:

    Dead weight like Talbot?

    The guy who won the Stanley Cup for us?

    I wish these Stillers bandwagon fans understood not to open their mouths and “remove all doubt”…

  10. GC says:

    Shero’s been good at making trades, I think he will do what is best for the club. I really like the way Wallace and VItale have been playing a real physical game that looks natural to both. More than any other B Pen brought up. Wallace was intimidating to Chi yesterday. Nice job.

  11. dwf says:

    The Pens need to do something, anything soon! As Philly is quickly slipping away, it seems that Shero is content on playing for a number 4 playoff seed. That is, he is hoping and praying that half of the baby Pens currently laboring as NHLers can pull that off for him? Don’t get me wrong, I think they are doing an admirable job. But, I think that is way too much to ask for a bunch of minor leaguers to carry your team during a critical juncture of the season. Besides, it is painful to watch as the Pens spend half of the game begging, clawing, and scratching for a goal.

    Shero has to step up, much like how he asks his players and coaches to do and make a move. For no other reason than to show his players that he has their back and is trying to help their situation. Not to mention the number 4 seeding. He has the resources (cap space now that ‘princess’ I mean Malkin is done for the season and also some assets like Goligoski he can move). Penner would be perfect fit on the Pens.

  12. Dave Lori says:

    Pens are better off making a minor deal, with or without sid..gettting everyone healthy and taking a better run next year. No first round picks should be given up..without sid and geno, just ain’t gonna happen.

  13. The word from a decent source is that the Pens are finalizing a deal to bring Ottawa’s Kovalev back to the burgh. He’ll be 38 years old on Thursday (five months older than Peter Forsberg), so let’s hope if it happens that Pens are giving up next to nothing for the pending free agent and that he still has something/anything left in the tank.

    Wonder who would get #27, he or Adams?

  14. Mario LaGretzky says:

    Penguins would be foolish to give up much if any young talent just to get a few older/experienced guys to finish out this season. The Pens are extremely competitive now, even with Crosby and Malkin out, and a load of young guys plugging in and out of the lineup. Valuable experience for these young guys, and if you haven’t noticed, they can produce. Don’t need to sacrifice the future to patch up a season that’s not so bad. Some of these young guys are going to push out the mediocre veterans on the team. I’d rather watch the young talent develop than see them traded for more plug-in guys like we saw with Hossa.

  15. pensfan says:

    bottom line the chances of winning a cup without Sid are about as good as Bruce Boudreau passing a Hagen Daaz shop without stopping to eat a few gallons…..if you can make the rumored Gogo for Neil deal with dallas that makes sense with or without Sid and is a long term move not a rental deal…..Gogo is as good as he’s going to get, Neil is 23 and a 21 goal scorer this season….it would be a good trade for both teams, and it fills a gaping need

  16. Jason says:


    Pens just made a huge deal and you have no information on this at all. You need to pick it up a little my friend. beat you to this story and he is a joke.

  17. dwf says:

    FINALLY!!!!! Shero did well with this one. Goligoski was a HUGE liability as a D man, was afraid to hit anything with skates on, and I couldn’t be happier to see him GONE! Now, if Shero can find a little more magic in his bag of tricks and pull out an Arnott or Penner things will be a lot more interesting.

  18. What would the price be to get either Thomas Vanek or Jason Pommerville from Buffalo.According to NHL network those two are avalible and yes Dustin Penner would be a good fit.

  19. […] Rossi, a sportswriter with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reports the following about the asking price for Ales Hemsky: “The whole point for this post was to […]

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