Plan B: Alex Tanguay?

Jonathan Willis
July 13 2009 06:00PM

The frantic pace of the first two days of free agency has slowed down to a trickle. With so few free agents still available, the folks who cover hockey rumours have focused in on the remaining stars, and among forwards there isn’t a bigger name on the market than Alex Tanguay.

David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period reports that the Phoenix Coyotes have had multiple conversations with Tanguay’s agent, and adds the following:

The Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Florida Panthers have also reportedly contacted Tanguay's agent.

Tanguay is a responsible two-way player who has hovered near the point-per-game mark for the majority of his career, but he has two weaknesses which make him less than ideal for the Oilers:

  • a) he isn’t overly big or consistently physical
  • b) he’s more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer

It’s too bad really, since for the right price Tanguay is an excellent player. Year after year, he and his linemates score more than the opposition. In Calgary two years ago, he was derided for his lack of offensive production although that certainly wasn’t the case at even-strength; he just wasn’t putting up powerplay numbers.

Regardless, despite the fact that I like this player he isn’t a fit in Edmonton – and not just for the two reasons listed above. The fact of the matter is that Edmonton doesn’t have the cap space to absorb Tanguay’s contract without sending away someone like Dustin Penner, or a combination of Steve Staios and Robert Nilsson. I imagine that Steve Tambellini was kicking the tires (as he should) and hoping for a bargain, but it’s difficult to picture a scenario where he brings Tanguay in as the solution to the Oilers’ top-line woes, unless he can find someone to take on a contract without taking money in return.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Jeff
July 13 2009, 06:33PM
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I couldn't agree more, Tanguay is NOT a fit in Edmonton. Just what we need upfront, another small playmaker, uhhhh, NO! please no! Don't get a player just to get a player, it must fit into some sort of bigger Tambo plan.... Tambo, tell me there's a plan?..

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#2 Sandra
July 13 2009, 06:51PM
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Penners season last year went south along with the rest of the Oilers players after he did everything asked of him in a game where he stuck up for Hemsky, got in a fight and had all those penality minutes, MacT did not play him in the third period, MacT said he had no legs for sitting that long? But Macityre, who shares the MAC with MAC-T can play 3 shifts in a game in different periods, with no legs. The whole team and season turned that day on MacT. When his team mates seen how he was treated they tuned him out. J.W. look at the stats before that game and after that game for wins/losses. Thanks. Sandra

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#3 Fiveandagame
July 13 2009, 06:55PM
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Oilers signed Chis Minard. He played 20 games with Pittsburgh last season and was the top goal scorer in Willkes-Barrie with 34.

Not a bad depth move to help the farm out if you ask me.

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#4 djathink?
July 13 2009, 06:57PM
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Penners season went south under MacT.

With Quinn coaching Penner can we expect the same as last year?

I don't think so and am curious to at least see come November how Penner's came comes along.

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#5 Fiveandagame
July 13 2009, 06:58PM
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Oh yeah and I agree that Tanguay is Sooooo not a fit here.

Maybe a Frolov for the top line?

I am just waiting for them to sign Malholtra... (please sign him please....)

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#6 Oil-man-Dan
July 13 2009, 07:01PM
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YEAH, WTF is the plan exactly? Just wait around for the Heater to reluctantly take his least desired location? What if someone else steps up their offer in the mean time? Then we are stuck with exactly the same roster, minus a capable third/fourth line center.(and plus one more year to a less than fleet footed 5th d-man) Im happy we signed the Wall but He's no Luongo, he won't take us all the way to the cup on his own. This team is still 3 players away from having success, and we all know that. Heater would be one, and I think they can still sign a face-off winning center and stay under the cap. But that still leaves a gritty winger who can score 15-20 (Moreau possibly altough he'd have to stay out of the box to accomplish this) Who knows though, perhaps Tambo will surprise us all with some black-ops type deal that breaks just before training camp. We can only hope.

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#7 Jon Kerber
July 13 2009, 07:14PM
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I think Tanguay is unfairly knocked for the reason of "not being a competitor." I think a more realistic way of describing this potential inadequacy is that he thrives playing an offensive role against lesser opposition. His career to date has largely shown that he struggles going power vs. power, but does very well in a second line role.

Which would actually work out very well for a role with the Edmonton Oilers. A line of Tanguay-Gagner-Nilsson/Cogliano would be very nice, letting Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky renew their role playing top opposition.

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#8 smiliegirl15
July 13 2009, 07:25PM
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I have hope for Penner this season. He has the ability to be a good player. We've seen the stats on this website that Penner isn't as bad a player as MacT led us to believe. I think we'll have a team with a new attitude this season. Change is good.

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#9 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 07:28PM
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Tangay on the second line with Gagner and Patty O and a first line of Hemsky, Horcoff, Penner/Heatly. With perhaps a Dman moved for cap purposes?

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#10 Chris
July 13 2009, 07:44PM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

With perhaps a Dman moved for cap purposes?

Please, Tambellini: DO NOT move one of our top four D for Tangay.

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#11 MattL
July 13 2009, 07:45PM
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It's been almost two hours since this article was written...

WHY HASN'T HE SIGNED HERE YET?

You know what? Forget it, I don't want Tanguay anymore. The guy's OBVIOUSLY an Edmonton-hating bum.

Boy, we sure dodged a bullet there.

***** Two weeks later *****

Hey, you know what? I think I'd still take Tanguay despite all his Edmonton-hating. I mean, a first line talent is something this team needs, right?

God, what's the hold up getting him signed?

Tambo, get it done!

This is KLowe's fault. And probably MacT's. And uh, Staios.

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#12 Chris
July 13 2009, 07:47PM
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Jon Kerber wrote:

I think Tanguay is unfairly knocked for the reason of “not being a competitor.”

Kind of like the rest of the Oiler forwards... It's unfair.

(I don't know why I'm being such a dick... I guess I just don't like Tangay)

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#13 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 07:51PM
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@ Chris

I would accept losing Staois for Tangay thats about it unless its a pmd for Tangay and a shutdown dman

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#14 ebi
July 13 2009, 08:03PM
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Agreed that he's not a fit here. The more interesting question is where WOULD he fit. The Sens would be good imo if they can dump Heatley. He showed chemistry with Kovalev last year, which would give Clouston some options within his top-6.

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#15 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 08:08PM
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@ ebi

Perhaps on the island feeding passes to Tavares

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#16 Chris
July 13 2009, 08:10PM
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@ West Coast Oil:

I just don't like the idea of another soft player being integrated into the top six; unless the soft player can score 45 goals.

Failing that: go big; go ugly, IMO! Let some miserable SOB's buy Gagner some room out there.

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#17 Godzilla
July 13 2009, 08:11PM
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smiliegirl15 wrote:

I have hope for Penner this season. He has the ability to be a good player. We’ve seen the stats on this website that Penner isn’t as bad a player as MacT led us to believe. I think we’ll have a team with a new attitude this season. Change is good.

What change??? It's basically the same team as last year!

I agree that change is good, but so far we didn't get much of it as far as the lineup goes. Look at the top lines of the best teams in the west. No way we can make the playoffs with Penner having to play on the first line.

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#18 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 08:30PM
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@ Chris

Agreed however I would take Tanguay over Nilson except for the cap hit.

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#19 jeanshorts
July 13 2009, 08:31PM
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@ MattL:

Mmmmmm. Satire.

*Goes back to completing both his Dany Heatly voodoo doll and Dany Heatly shrine. Always be prepared*

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#20 Jonathan Willis
July 13 2009, 08:43PM
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Jon Kerber wrote:

I think a more realistic way of describing this potential inadequacy is that he thrives playing an offensive role against lesser opposition. His career to date has largely shown that he struggles going power vs. power, but does very well in a second line role

Although his year in Calgary he was excellent in the PVP role; he just couldn't produce on the powerplay.

That matters, of course, but at evens he's been decent for a few years now.

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#21 rindog
July 13 2009, 09:22PM
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@ Oil-man-Dan: Oil-man-Dan wrote:

YEAH, WTF is the plan exactly?

Last time I checked the season doesn't start for a few months. Why the panic to do something right now?

I would assume that Tambellini has explored all of the free agents that he wants to and hasn't found a fit.

Why not let him take his time and look for deals that will make us a better team rather then make a rushed move to make the average fan happy?

And as far as thinking that Tambellini is just waiting on Heatley's every move - I would think that is very naive...wouldn't you?

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#22 rindog
July 13 2009, 09:28PM
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@ Godzilla: Godzilla wrote:

What change??? It’s basically the same team as last year!

The roster may end up being similar but the TEAM will not be the same.

Just think of what the energy level of this team will be with a coach that will actually implement "current" systems and try to dictate a game plan rather than react to whatever the opposition does?

I would bet that a Quinn coached team (same roster)would not have pissed away a playoff spot with 10 games remaining....

Quinn has already said more intelligent things in his short time here than MacT said during his entire tenure. I have a GOOOOOD feeling about our coaching staff!

Quinn's record speaks for itself.

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#23 smiliegirl15
July 13 2009, 09:35PM
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@ Godzilla:

Quinn

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#24 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 09:42PM
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@ JW

I was thinking last night that perhaps we are just better off waiting a couple of years for our prospects to develop and then it struck me. In the next 2 - 3 years our top six could look like this: Horcoff, MPS Hemsky Gagner, Omark, Eberle Now I would say these lines have the potential to put the puck in the net but is it me or are these players still on the small size (except MPS). If these guys develop the way we are hoping (yes I know the chances are they wont) I really cant see room for Cogliano or even for Nash unless he replaces Horcoff. Anyhow my question is do you think the Oilers will bring all on board and take the skill at the expense of size?

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#25 Shifty203
July 13 2009, 09:45PM
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Eklund is reporting tallon was canned and Stan Bowman is in as gm in Chicago. Can anyone confirm this?

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#26 roadrunner
July 13 2009, 09:48PM
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Man this team sure likes to keep the fans on a roller coaster of emotions. Maybe when they ever get around to building the new arena,, they can have an amusement park with the coaster ripping through the Oilers Office.

We got Heatley, we don't have Heatley, Heatley is a maybe, Heatley is thinking, Heatley is too tired to think today come back tomorrow, Penners gone, Penners here, We lost Roli, We got Khabi,Thorton might be traded here for Heatley, we don't have Heatley, Oilers trade for a puck, Oilers can't find puck bag, Oilers might go after Tanguay.....sheesh...I'm exhausted and its only mid July...

This better be a good season or I'll check myself into the pysch ward for emotional stress...

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#27 Roz
July 13 2009, 09:57PM
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~I think Tambo is checking his phone every 3 minutes waiting for Dany boy to give him a call or a text saying just something. ~

I am quite sure that the Oilers staff are making and taking phone calls and emails about roster moves. Think about if Burke phoned over here and said "Hey why don't we trade you Jeff Finger and I'll take Cogs, Penner, and a 1st." What do you think the answer would be?? I also think that a lot of people have this perception that the phones are going off the hook with nothing but killer deals for the Oilers. There are only so many teams and so many players to be dealing with.

Why does everything for this team have to happen right here and right now??? I don't get it. Patience will get you a long way and that is something that this team and us fans need to realize.

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#28 Hemmertime
July 13 2009, 10:01PM
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roadrunner wrote:

,Thorton might be traded here for Heatley

That was a Oilers board joke. Or an E4

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#29 Archaeologuy
July 13 2009, 10:01PM
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I can just see it now. Horc wins the Faceoff and the puck makes it back to Visnovsky. Vis moves the puck up ice to Tanguay who quickly dishes it off to Hemsky, who is catching the defenders sleeping. Hemsky heads to the net and makes a beautiful cross crease pass to Tanguay who immediately passes it to Horcoff waiting in the slot. The Goalie has lost his balance and the net is practicaly empty. All Horc has to do is hit the net and it's a sure goal. If only he could. If only he could.

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#30 Hemmertime
July 13 2009, 10:03PM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

Horcoff, MPS Hemsky Gagner, Omark, Eberle

I've got, hiiiigh hopes, hiiiigh hopes. Hot apple pie in the - skyyyy - hopes.

Unless you're talking a 37 year old Horcoff. In 2-3 years I see O'sullivan in our top 6 before anyone not already there.

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#31 Dallas
July 13 2009, 10:06PM
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I might offer as well why does everyone think that Penner will do so much better next year under Quinns watch and there is still no hope for Nilsson the guy is one of the top skaters on the team and everybody just wants to trade him for a bag of pucks I don't know just my opinion

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#32 Hemmertime
July 13 2009, 10:08PM
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And for the loss of Staios+Nilsson

Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky Tanguay - O'Sullivan - Gagner Cogliano - ? - Pisani (tho it would be Moreau LW Cogs C - but dammit Jim, we need a Center who can win faceoffs not a damn winger there) Moreau - Pouliot - Stortini

Id take that, and I think Tanguay will be cheaper than 4.9 cap hit

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#33 Phil
July 13 2009, 10:09PM
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Moot point - He wanted out of Calgary, why would he want to come to Edmonton? Except for a gross overpay, that is.

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#34 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 10:10PM
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@ Hemmertime

You say I have high hopes but you assume someone will take Horcoffs contract off our hands before its done?

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#35 Dallas
July 13 2009, 10:11PM
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I agree osully is going to be a 60point guy so is cogs if we keep him gags 80-100

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#36 cm
July 13 2009, 10:13PM
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yeah if you removed staois and even a marginal player you would have 3.6 mil in cap space. I think tanguay signs for somewhere close to the penner deal 4.25 ovr 2 years.

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#37 Hemmertime
July 13 2009, 10:21PM
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@ West Coast Oil: No, I say high hopes that MPS, Omark, Eberle all turn out. With our draft record Ill be happy if 1 does. I got hopes for Toni Rajala too.

We have some good young talent and no MacT to turn them into career 3rd liners, so I wont stomp on the dreams too much lol

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#38 Hemmertime
July 13 2009, 10:29PM
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and if they do it will be awhile. Not in next 2 years

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#39 West Coast Oil
July 13 2009, 10:42PM
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@ Hemmertime Im hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. If I'm not mistaken Omark signed a one year contract in the KHL and if he lights it up you know the Oilers will have pressure to bring him over next year and keep him on the big team. With MPS several reports state he is close to NHL ready now so is it really hard to think he may be on the roster in the next 2 to 3 years. Eberle is probably the longest shot and he did okay in the AHL last year (mind you on a very limited audition). I personally would rather see them all develop in the minors until they are ready but the Oil are not known for being patient with their prospects.

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#40 speeds
July 14 2009, 12:04AM
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I'd be surprised if EDM were to sign Tanguay for the 2 reasons you cite, but I don't agree with not signing him for those reasons. Maybe the Oilers would like to get a LW that plays a certain style, but he's a clear upgrade even if he doesn't throw lots of hits and score lots of goals.

A high quality LW 5 on 5 shouldn't be ignored simply because he doesn't throw a lot of hits or score 50 goals; improvement is improvement. If you can get him at a great value, do it provided there's a somewhat reasonable way to make it work after. If the Oilers have absolutely no willingness to risk sticking money in the minors, and no one that's expendable is tradable, then maybe they can't sign him either way, tough for us to say in that respect.

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#41 David S
July 14 2009, 12:05AM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Mmmmmm. Satire. *Goes back to completing both his Dany Heatly voodoo doll and Dany Heatly shrine. Always be prepared*

Eklund has it that Calgary is quietly putting a package together for Heatley that'll include a high profile D-man. And that's a city on his list.

That JSBM site better be rocking good this winter. Rusty's going to put in a crapload of overtime.

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#42 Jon Kerber
July 14 2009, 01:42AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Although his year in Calgary he was excellent in the PVP role; he just couldn’t produce on the powerplay. That matters, of course, but at evens he’s been decent for a few years now.

By my recollection Tanguay started on the top line with Iginla but struggled there. He was demoted and spent the majority of the year on the second line and was universally panned by Calgary fans for not being to hack it on the first line.

At least as far as I recall.

I agree that he's quite good at ES, just not facing top opposition. During his year in Calgary he still put up excellent overall boxcars when considering that his points almost all came at ES and his PP production was nearly non-existent.

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#43 RossCreek
July 14 2009, 06:42AM
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I figured the Islanders would/should take a run at him since free agency started. I've been surprised by their lack of activity. Perhaps its that no one wants to play in that dump of a building, but I'd think a playmaking winger to play with Tavares would be ideal.

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#44 myteammytown
July 14 2009, 07:49AM
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Dallas wrote:

I agree osully is going to be a 60point guy so is cogs if we keep him gags 80-100

how many years down the road are we talking for gagner? 3? 5?

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#45 sittingatmydesk
July 14 2009, 08:22AM
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@ West Coast Oil:Horcoff, MPS Hemsky Gagner, Omark, Eberle Good thinking, but they're all 5'....

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#46 scorecoff hemmercules
July 14 2009, 08:25AM
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@ David S:

Why do people even bother bringing up that Eklund crap on here??? Sutter is in love with that defense, why would he break it up?? I don't see Phaneuf going anywhere and he's really the only guy that would be mentioned in that scenario. Stick to Spectorshockeyrumors, its a little more realistic.

I wouldn't be overjoyed with Tanguay but I wouldn't be against it. Kinda how I feel about Bhulin. Oilers fans always need things done right now, I can only hope Tambo is doing things responsibly and taking his time to do it right.

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#47 Ender the Dragon
July 14 2009, 08:40AM
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David S wrote:

Eklund has it that Calgary is quietly putting a package together for Heatley that’ll include a high profile D-man. And that’s a city on his list.

In the first place, you should give your head a slap for even bothering to reference . . .

The Snuffleupagus let it slip that there's going to be a four-way swap between Ottawa, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Vancouver. Watch for it.

In the second place, rumours of Phaneuf for Heater have been at the top of everyone's pile ever since Dany asked for a trade, and only picked up speed after the Flamers picked up JayBo. I really thought it would happen, at first, but now I think if it were going to happen it would have happened already.

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#48 Ogden Brother
July 14 2009, 08:41AM
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If we say traded Hemsky for kovalchuk, Tanguay would be a fine signing. Otherwise he doesn't really fit.

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#49 Downright Fierce
July 14 2009, 09:16AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

If we say traded Hemsky for kovalchuk, Tanguay would be a fine signing. Otherwise he doesn’t really fit.

Reading that gave me shivers... In a good way.

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#50 Steve Thomas
July 14 2009, 10:36AM
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Roz wrote:

~I think Tambo is checking his phone every 3 minutes waiting for Dany boy to give him a call or a text saying just something. ~ I am quite sure that the Oilers staff are making and taking phone calls and emails about roster moves. Think about if Burke phoned over here and said “Hey why don’t we trade you Jeff Finger and I’ll take Cogs, Penner, and a 1st.” What do you think the answer would be?? I also think that a lot of people have this perception that the phones are going off the hook with nothing but killer deals for the Oilers. There are only so many teams and so many players to be dealing with. Why does everything for this team have to happen right here and right now??? I don’t get it. Patience will get you a long way and that is something that this team and us fans need to realize.

Well Put!!!

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