Friday, February 24, 2012

Oil Notes: Hemsky Staying Put, Nugent-Hopkins Ready To Go

Late Friday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers and pending unrestricted free agent Ales Hemsky agreed to a two year contract extension, that will pay the talented winger $5 million a season. The deal makes Hemsky the latest player to be taken off the trading block, after re-signing with their current clubs. The signing makes perfect sense for the Oilers and leaves them plenty of flexibility moving forward to sign the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to their first post entry level contracts.

The move means four of Edmonton's top six forward spots have been claimed for the 2012-2013 season. The biggest question mark remaining, will be what the club decides to do with restricted free agent Sam Gagner. While the plan will be to re-sign the suddenly reborn Gagner, if the right deal presents itself for a quality blueliner, it may be something the organization would have to seriously consider.

If the signing of Hemsky wasn't good enough for fans in Oil Country, news that Nugent-Hopkins will return to the lineup tomorrow afternoon, should put them over the top. The talented rookie was given clearance to resume what has been a stellar rookie campaign, for last year's first overall selection. No word on where RNH is expected to play but the smart money would be on the eighteen year old centre finding himself in between Hall and Hesmky.

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