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January 11, 2013 | 6:54pm ET
Hemsky's final season in Edmonton?
TheFourthPeriod.com

Ales Hemsky has been the subject of several trade rumors over the last few years, but with the Oilers in need of help on the backend, he could finally get moved this season.

Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini received numerous inquiries about Hemsky last season, but decided to sign him to a two-year contract extension.

With the Oilers poised to make a run at the playoffs this shortened-season, led by a top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle that played during all season in the AHL, Tambellini could intensify his search for a top-two defenseman.

Newly signed rookie Justin Schultz will be leading a defensive corps that includes veterans Ryan Whitney, Ladislav Smid and Nick Schultz.

Whitney and Smid are in the last year of their contracts. It's uncertain if the Oilers will soon discuss a contract extension with either player.

The Oilers want to add a young blueliner to their group. During NHL Draft weekend, the Oilers turned down a reported deal that would have sent the first-overall pick to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a package that included P.K. Subban.

Instead, the Oilers drafted Nail Yakupov with the first selection, and while a recent rumor popped up suggesting that conversation had been revisited, Edmonton is not expected to deal their newest young star forward.

Tambellini might prefer to send Hemsky to the Eastern Conference, as teams will only play within their own conference this season.

The Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets would all like to add a playmaking winger to their roster and could target Hemsky.

According to a league source, the Oilers and Jets could soon explore a larger deal surrounding Hemsky and Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian.

Bogosian's name has also swirled around the trade block, and given his contract status, it's possible Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff decides to make a move this season.

Bogosian, 22, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this July.

The 29-year-old Hemsky is set to earn $5 million this season (though this year his salary will be pro-rated) and in 2013-14.

With players scheduled to report for physicals tomorrow and training camps set to open Sunday, Edmonton's search for help on defense could pick up steam and Hemsky could be the prime piece of bait being dangled.

Oilers center Sam Gagner was also on the trade block, but may have finally broken out of his shell and is set to center the team's second line with Hemsky and Ryan Smyth, but could play alongside Yakupov on the right side, especially if Hemsky's dealt.


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