Armchair GM IV: The Peanut Gallery

Robin Brownlee
May 07 2009 01:04PM

Steve Tambellini has some thinking to do

So, if you woke up this morning and you were Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, what would your list of things-to-do look like? And, no, checking your bank statement doesn't count.

From hiring a new coach to filling holes and addressing needs on the roster after a third straight season out of the playoffs, Tambellini's got his work cut out, and there's no shortage of opinions on what he should do.

Given Tambellini's stated desire of icing a bigger, grittier team and a handful of obvious needs -- a proven top-six forward, a defensive-minded centre who can win face-offs and kill penalties and a shutdown defenceman, not to mention hiring a bench boss who can pull it all together -- let's throw around some scenarios with you in the GM's chair.

Like Tambellini, you'll have to keep in mind salary cap space and the fact that no matter which way you go, people will piss and moan. The bottom line is you'd better please Daryl Katz, who signs the cheques, because he's just sent you a text that reads: "Steve, if we miss the playoffs in 2009-10, I'm firing your ass. Got it? Regards, D."

Let's begin.

The back end

1. You've decided to shop Tom Gilbert in the hope of acquiring a top six forward. Coming off a 45-point season, Gilbert's got some cachet and you've got the bases covered in terms of offensive depth with Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov, once he signs the fat RFA offer you've got sitting on your desk.

-- The Buffalo Sabres offer Derek Roy.

-- The Philadelphia Flyers offer Scott Hartnell.

-- The Florida Panthers offer Nathan Horton.

Which deal do you take?

2. You've taken one of the above three players for Gilbert and you're getting ready to present your offer to Grebeshkov. Before you do, you get a fax from head office that says Toronto GM Brian Burke has tendered on offer sheet on Grebeshkov that's worth $16 million over four years.

After you change trousers and wipe your ass, do you match it? Do you send some guy named Bruno to see Burke?

3. The Los Angeles Kings offer a do-over on last summer's trade: they'll send you Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene for Visnovsky. Knowing what you know now, do you make that deal?

The Seven Dwarves

1. Unless Snow White has jumped to the top of the short-list of coaching candidates, the need to get bigger up front to complement Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner is the most pressing, so you're listening to offers for Patrick O'Sullivan and Andrew Cogliano.

-- Tampa Bay offers Ryan Malone for O'Sullivan.

-- Chicago offers Dustin Byfuglien for O'Sullivan.

-- Dallas offers Steve Ott for Cogliano.

Which deal do you take?

2. You've got $10 million to spend. Do you offer UFA Ales Kotalik a new deal for three years or do you send Darcy Regier into spasms by tendering an offer sheet on RFA Drew Stafford for four years at $10 million?

3. If not Stafford, would that offer sheet be better spent on Tuomo Ruutu of Carolina or Travis Zajac of New Jersey?

Money Talks

1. You've got some dollars for a UFA burning a hole in your pocket -- we know how uncomfortable that can be -- and you've decided to throw some of it around. Who's the best target?

-- Mike Komisarek.

-- Francois Beauchemin

-- Manny Malhotra

-- Scott Clemmensen

2. Dwayne Roloson tells you he'll re-sign for $4 million over two years. Do you give him the extra season he wants or do you say, "Thanks, and good luck in Philadelphia?"

3. Nashville wants more skill and you want more grit. The Predators offer you pugnacious and noted serial-charger Jordin Tootoo for sometimes-slacker Robert Nilsson. Do you make that trade?

Dazed and Confused

You fall down the stairs and hit your head. You decide that none of the above small potatoes matter unless you can land a BIG name player to throw on the marquee at Rexall Place. Money, at least to the cap limit, is no object. Which makes the most sense?

1. Buy out the final year of Jaromir Jagr's contract with Omsk for $3 million and give the 38-year-old future hall-of-famer a two-year contract worth $10 million, for a total cost of $13 million.

2. Re-visit the Marian Hossa sweepstakes.

3. Trade one-third of the roster to free up enough cap space to acquire the inseparable UFA tandem of Daniel and Henrik Sedin to play with Hemsky.

4. Let your head clear.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 Mr DeBakey
May 08 2009, 03:05PM
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“You’ve decided to shop Tom Gilbert” How many weeks in a row will Brownlee take a run at Gilbert? We should have a contest.

“Which [Gilbert] deal do you take?” None of them, Move Souray.

“Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene for Visnovsky. Knowing what you know now, do you make that deal?” That was a good trade, and you let Grebeshkov go at $4,000,000.

“Which [Dwarve] deal do you take?” Ryan Malone for O’Sullivan, Horton would be better tho'.

“Do you offer UFA Ales Kotalik a new deal for three years” 2 years max.

“You’ve got some dollars for a UFA..” Alex Tanguay, Karlis Skrastins

Thanks, Dwayne, and good luck in Philadelphia!!

Do you make [the Tootoo for Nillson] trade? Yes.

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#102 Robin Brownlee
May 08 2009, 03:28PM
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@ Mr DeBakey: Run at Gilbert? You obviously haven't seen me take a run at a player because when I do it doesn't sound anything like the sweet nothings I've been whispering at Gilbert.

If you want to hold a contest, hold this one: pick the over and under in the timeline as to when Gilbert gets traded.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Gilbert is a good player who has cachet and can get the Oilers a top six guy. He's movable because of the depth the Oilers have in puck-movers and point-producers on the back end. If I can get Grebeshkov inked for three years at $9-10 million -- a lot more likely now with the KHL folding up like a house of cards -- then I'm willing to trade Gilbert.

What? Tambellini is supposed to package Laddy Smid with throwaways like Schremp or Pouliot and come up with a top-six guy? Asset management.

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#103 Chris
May 08 2009, 03:56PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Do you think Staios has cache at 2.7 million? (Not to secure a top six... but maybe for some quality depth prospects while shedding salary?)

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#104 Robin Brownlee
May 08 2009, 04:04PM
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@ Chris: Yes. Staios is a workmanlike veteran who could fit in on a lot of defences around the league, particularly on teams with two or three young defencemen in the lineup.

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#105 Chris
May 08 2009, 04:05PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

If you want to hold a contest, hold this one: pick the over and under in the timeline as to when Gilbert gets traded.

I don't see how the team is deep enough to move out a top four D-man without bringing another one back.

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#106 surshot
May 08 2009, 04:06PM
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Robin What about the fact that Gilbert just bought a house in EDM last week? And since its no time to invest in real estate in the short term do you think he would go out and do that with out some assurances he would be on the team next year?

I thought Gilbert was the guy to be traded too but since i heard about his buy i figured he would be some what safe.

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#107 Ogden Brother
May 08 2009, 04:10PM
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surshot wrote:

Robin What about the fact that Gilbert just bought a house in EDM last week? And since its no time to invest in real estate in the short term do you think he would go out and do that with out some assurances he would be on the team next year? I thought Gilbert was the guy to be traded too but since i heard about his buy i figured he would be some what safe.

I think most (or at least alot) of players are suprised when they are traded.

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#108 Robin Brownlee
May 08 2009, 04:13PM
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@ surshot: I wouldn't use buying a house as any kind of gauge as to a player being here long term or not. By the way, it's a great time to buy because prices are low. A guy making what Gilbert does can pay cash for a $500,000 house and, if he's traded, rent it out and sell it later when the market warms up.

For the record, nobody with the Oilers has told me, "We can't wait to trade Gilbert. He's a goner." I'm drawing my conclusions based on circumtances, personnel and holes Tambellini has to fill moving forward.

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#109 swany
May 08 2009, 04:28PM
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Robin I trade Gilbert for Hartnell, he banks can score and skates very well. 2 I match ZBurkes offer because we just traded Gilbert and Grebs upside is HUGE, 3 I take that trade in a heartbeat Byfuglien for Nilsson take it and run before the Hawks wake up and 4 sign Komisarik for a shut down D-man and then sign Kotalik and save some money. I would go Kotalik (LW), Horc (centre) Hemmer (RW) 2 line of Hartnell Gags Byfuglien 3rd of Moreau, Cogs (if we didn't trade him for a shut down 3rd line centre) Pies 4th line of JFJ Brods and Storts D would be Souray-Vish 2nd Grebs Kommy 3rd Smid Stevie

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#110 Robin Brownlee
May 08 2009, 04:51PM
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@ swany: It's Byfuglien for O'Sullivan not Nilsson. Big difference.

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#111 swany
May 08 2009, 05:06PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ swany: It’s Byfuglien for O’Sullivan not Nilsson. Big difference.

Robin I still think I make that trade Byfuglien is a monster look at the way he plays good hands can skate really good for such a big man and he hits, can protect the puck (what Penner should be) on that note to I just noticed that I don't have Penner anywhere in my lineup do you think with what I suggested for a lineup Penner could be traded that's another 4 mil off the books. I like the lines I have out there, Kotalik was starting to show something with Hemmer and adding Byfuglien and Hartnell to Gags line that's alot of size up front and if you have a shot at Kommy take it he is one of the best shut down guys out there. Kotalik is 225ibs (dosen't hit much but doesn't get pushed of the puck either, and the second line will hit you into the ground plus give Gags alot more space with 2 guys that can shoot, do you think it's a stretch to sau Byfuglien could get 20-30 goals? Hartnell will get 25-35 goals I think gags would love the extra space and time his points will go up.

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#112 Robin Brownlee
May 08 2009, 09:45PM
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swany wrote:

do you think it’s a stretch to sau Byfuglien could get 20-30 goals?

I see him as an 18-25 goal player who brings other obvious dimensions -- physicality and grit. He doesn't have Penner's hands, but he's got more of a nose for the net and is more effective in traffic, which is all that matters. Like Penner, if he's playing on my team, I tell Byfuglien and the trainers that he plays at not one pound over 235. That's still a load, but well down from his real playing weight of 250.

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#113 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
May 08 2009, 10:01PM
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Hey Robin thanks for the complement my name is Bruno and I will gladly pay a visit to Burke if he tries to mess with our team.You know what I mean?

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#114 Robin Brownlee
May 08 2009, 10:21PM
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oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

Hey Robin thanks for the complement my name is Bruno and I will gladly pay a visit to Burke if he tries to mess with our team.You know what I mean?

A guy could slip and fall. It happens . . .

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#115 TV
May 09 2009, 02:09PM
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spOILer wrote:

I get TO’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd this draft? DONE!!! LEAFS 1ST (6TH) 2ND AND 3RD

I don't mean to be the spolier for you on this spOILer, but the Oilers would not be getting the Buds 6th pick over-all in this June's Draft. The compensation would be in the 2010' Draft only, & the Leafs picks could be anywhere on the draft board by that point.

In reality, the Leafs would also have to make a trade to get their 2nd rounder in 2010' back from the Habs, (or the Hawks via the Lang trade) because as it stands, the Leafs are in no position to even give out an offer sheet that includes their 2010' 2nd round pick.

BTW... Great Thread Idea R.B.

x6

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#116 MrOiler
May 10 2009, 01:48PM
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Robin, It's great to see you respond to the comments here. It keeps some of the fanboys in line.

As many do, I see too many small, skilled players in the organization. I originally was willing to go with the KLo plan to build a small man team, but even with the rule changes I now believe that grit and size still trump. It was an aggressive plan, but ultimately it didn't work.

Of the following smaller guys in the system, who do you think are gone: Cogliano, Gagner, Schremp, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Brule, Gilbert, Omark?

p.s. - What are your thoughts on Dwayne Roloson? Sign him or let him walk away? You have to admire his mental toughness. I'm not sure he fits the Oilers' plans, but he impressed me this year. What a battler.

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#117 Robin Brownlee
May 10 2009, 08:22PM
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@ MrOiler: How can Omark, yet another YouTube creation, be gone without ever having arrived? Same for Schremp. And Gilbert isn't one of the smaller guys, he just plays that way.

I offer Roloson one year, nothing more.

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#118 Patrick
May 17 2009, 08:38AM
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With all of this talk about whether to sign Roloson, I think the Oilers should think about mending things with Burke's old team, the Ducks.

Roloson is only likely going to give the Oilers one more decent year. I think the Oilers need a goalie who is looking to re-establish himself as a #1 goalie, and I believe J-S Giguere is a perfect fit. As far as I can remember, he had a lot of personal problems (the death of his father) this season, and is likely looking for something of a fresh start. His contract isn't great from the Ducks standpoint, and it makes no sense to pay a backup over $6 million when Jonas Hiller is better anyway.

I propose the Oilers offer the Ducks a package that includes Dustin Penner (a player the Ducks are familiar with) and one of the fringe guys like Robert Nilsson for Giguere. It's a swap for two bad contracts - although the Ducks would be gaining to player who could play on a nightly basis. This would also allow the Ducks to split Bobby Ryan from Getzlaf and Perry, and reunite the Perry/Getzlaf/Penner line from the '07 season that was particularly potent. Ryan could be slotted into the 2nd line with Teemu Selanne and one of Anaheim's up and coming centers.

Thoughts? Too much of a stretch?

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