While MacTavish openly praised the 30-year-old forward and his ability to contribute to the Oilers, the decision to retain Hemsky appears to be a decision dictated by the marketplace more so than need. Hemsky is entering the final year of a two-year, $10 million contract that counts for $5 million against the salary cap per. With the declining cap in 2013-14, several teams are squeezed for space, making Hemsky's contract a difficult obstacle to maneuver.
That is, of course, assuming Hemsky's contract was the primary issue.
"I found, at the end of the day with Ales, that I had a greater appreciation of him and his skill set than most people had that I talked to," MacTavish said when discussing trade options. "I've seen him at his best and that's why I have a great appreciation of what he does."
Hemsky's placement on the trade block occurred at the beginning of June when MacTavish told Mark Spector of Team 1260 in Edmonton that the Oilers were looking to move captain Shawn Horcoff and Hemsky. Horcoff was ultimately traded to the Dallas Stars a month later, while Hemsky remained on the roster.
Apparently, that is where he will be staying for the remainder of the year.
MacTavish stated on Wednesday that he needs to be open with the media and the fan base in regards to the state of the team. That is why the manager felt it necessary to disclose his desire to move Hemsky and Horcoff. While honesty is an admirable quality, it created an uncomfortable situation where a player was told he was no longer of value to the team, but still remains on the team. As we've seen with Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks, these types of scenarios can be mentally fatiguing for the player.
The result was an uncomfortable press conference that begged the question of why MacTavish felt it necessary to publicly disclose his trade plans in the first place. However, Hemsky voiced no issue with the situation. If that's actually the case, then this should be a non-issue moving forward. But from the outside looking in, it seems like a messy situation that could have been avoided.
MacTavish stated that the Oilers might have interest in extending Hemsky at the end of the season, but expressed that a decision on that would happen over time.