Each day from now until July 1, the day free agency begins, Sarah Baicker and Tim Riday will profile some of the NHL's top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.
Ales Hemsky, right wing
Last team: Ottawa Senators
2013-14 cap hit: $5 million
Graceful is probably the best word to describe Hemsky's game. He owns an effortless stride and possesses outstanding playmaking ability. Though he tends to hold onto the puck a little too long at times, Hemsky has a very underrated shot. He won't be the first forward to attack in the corners, but he has good instincts and is very creative in the offensive zone. Durability is a major concern.
Hemsky, who was selected with the 13th-overall pick at the 2001 draft by the Edmonton Oilers, had his best season in 2005-06, when he collected 19 goals and 58 assists in 81 games played. After spending his first 11 seasons in the NHL with Edmonton, Hemsky was traded to the Ottawa Senators in March in exchange for two draft picks. Earlier this week, Hemsky reportedly turned down a three-year, $10 million contract offer from the Sens. His expiring contract paid him $10 million over two years.
I don't see Hemsky being a fit for the Flyers. Never mind his salary (his cap hit was $5 million last year), but he's just not what I believe is missing from the team's mix. He can make plays, sure, and he's a very good skater and playmaker. But Hemsky is an injury risk, and that's putting it lightly -- he's technically never played a full 82-game season. He also falls victim too often to something the Flyers definitely don't need at this point: a pass-first mentality. The Flyers' resources would be better spent elsewhere.
I understand why Hemsky wants to test free agency, but there are plenty of other quality wingers for teams to pursue this summer. Hemsky gets hurt way too often and his effort has been questioned numerous times over the past few seasons. His asking price also seems to be high after having a down year. In 75 games between the Oilers and Senators, he potted just 13 goals with 30 assists. That's not the kind of production expected from a guy getting paid $5 million. Even though Hemsky's name has been linked to the Flyers in the past, I don't see where he would fit in the lineup. If the Flyers decide to upgrade the wing, it should be for a proven goal-scorer. Hemsky doesn't fit that billing. I'll pass.