Tambelli Signs Kurtis Foster, Makes Two Other Good Decisions

Jonathan Willis
July 01 2010 02:35PM

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Kurtis Foster #6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning warms up before playing against the New York Islanders on February 13, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Free agent day isn’t over yet, but the Oilers have made their first move, bringing in defenceman Kurtis Foster, and they’ve also made decisions on two other players. In all three cases, General Manager Steve Tambellini comes out looking pretty good.

First, Foster. I love this deal, and not just because Foster was talking about the Oilers’ jersey he had as a kid. Foster was a power-play force with Tampa Bay last year, and appears to be the heir apparent to Sheldon Souray in Edmonton. His shot is good though not the same calibre as Souray’s, but his price point is significantly lower at $1.8 million per season for two years.

I am somewhat concerned that Foster won’t be able to maintain his numbers – he’s shown offensive touch throughout his career but this year was a breakout campaign in that regard, and he’s not playing with the same kind of talent he got to play with for the Lightning. But even if Foster’s numbers dip, he can play; he’s big, he can skate and he’s a very good puck-mover. He’s not overly physical but at $1.8 million one can’t have everything.

In a nutshell, Steve Tambellini managed to bring in a guy to fill a specific needed role, a guy who is a bona fide NHL player, and a guy who brings the size that this team covets right now, all for a reasonable salary and not much in the way of term commitment. Very, very strong signing.

As for the other decisions, Tambellini talked to at least two players who have since signed elsewhere: Manny Malhotra and Derek Boogaard.

According to Ryan Rishaug, Manny Malhotra had no interest in being part of the rebuilding effort in Edmonton, but I’m still encouraged that Tambellini reached out to him. In previous years, the Oilers’ greatest weakness has been a tendency to hunt the big game and spend no time addressing the nagging holes at the bottom of the line-up that are easier to fill. Malhotra’s a faceoff ace who could have stabilized the third line, and he’s exactly the kind of player Edmonton should be looking at. It isn’t Tambellini’s fault he wasn’t interested in the Oilers.

As for Boogaard, I’m not a fan, but I give Tambellini credit for walking away after the Rangers ponied up a massive four-year contract worth more than $1.6 million per season. The guy hasn’t scored a goal over the last four seasons, and is coming off a year where he went minus-12 for the Wild. The money was ridiculous, and Tambellini’s decision to bow out was a good one.

We’ll see what else happens today, but so far it’s been a good day to be an Oilers’ fan.

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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 DC
July 01 2010, 02:35PM
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FIST

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#2 DC
July 01 2010, 02:37PM
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I agree with you on all points. Kudos to Steve Tamballsyni.

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#3 Bombay
July 01 2010, 02:41PM
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What's next? I think Eric Belanger would be a great pickup. He was a top 10 faceoff guy last year and has consistently been around 15 goals a year since the lockout. Won't necessarily bring a lot of physicality, but a faceoff guy and penalty killer is a more urgent need right now. What does everyone think? If we get him for under 2 mil, I think I would be an excellent signing as a 3rd line centre.

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#4 Milli
July 01 2010, 02:43PM
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Agreed.

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#5 DC
July 01 2010, 02:45PM
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Me too. I agree.

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#6 HardBoiledOil
July 01 2010, 02:46PM
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and i agree as well.

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#7 Hawkey
July 01 2010, 02:50PM
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I am not a Boogaard fan either but thank god Tamballeni did not sign him, I feel we can get a better goon/fighter to bring in who can atleast get a few points for us.

I like all the moves so far in Vandermeer and Foster. Still think we need to add a 3rd line player whether it be LW, C or RW, I was hoping they would go after Andrew Ladd but I see he has been dealt to Atlanta.

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#8 DC
July 01 2010, 02:53PM
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Adam Burrish would be awesome IMO.

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#9 DC
July 01 2010, 03:01PM
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HAHAHA Dick C over there on Hockeybuzz (makes farting sound with tongue) says Souray to CBJ for Commodore or Umberger. Maybe multiplayer involving Cogs. * Shakes head (why do I go there?)

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#10 OILERSORDEATH
July 01 2010, 03:04PM
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I agree as well, wait what the hell are we agreeing on?

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#11 DC
July 01 2010, 03:04PM
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per twitter: joshgrunberg Kurtis Foster text to me: "Tell Pierre McGuire if he mentions I'm overpaid again, to where a helmet between benches this year! (kidding!)"

HAHA

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#12 Crash
July 01 2010, 03:04PM
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DC wrote:

Adam Burrish would be awesome IMO.

I'm on board with this one too...anyone that feels he would like to punch Chris Pronger in the face is good in my books...

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With Boogard's bad back 4 years seems a little much. With him gone do we need a top heavyweight?

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So we inquired on Malhotra, I guess that means we are looking for another center?

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#15 Jaredadams
July 01 2010, 04:06PM
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The Rangers just made a horrible signing in Boogaard. $1.6 million per season for Boogaard is way to much for a guy who can't skate or even play well enough to score a goal over the last four seasons. I'm glad Tamby inquired about him and even gladder that he backed out when the price got to steep.

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#16 dunciano
July 01 2010, 04:51PM
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I agree Willis on all counts.

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#17 Oilers Insider
July 01 2010, 06:12PM
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Add Fraser to the list. $875,000 per for 2 years is a good price.

Also walking away from John Scott if the money is too high is also good as we're hearing the Oilers have done.

There should be other tough guys at cheaper prices over the next day or two.

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#18 PerryK
July 02 2010, 01:32AM
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I can't see a lot of support across the oiligosphere for the Oilers to sign Matthew Lombardi. Is that because of the natural hatred for the Flames and ex-Flames?

Is he not exactly the Center that we need? We should be able to acquire him for under $3 Mill, or am I dreaming?

He has speed. He's a great face-off guy that can kill penalties. Puts up decent numbers and he isn't that old (~ 28?). I thought we were looking for exactly that! He would be an upgrade over Malhotra in my opinion.

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@PerryK

I've been talking about him lately too, only problem is with Cullen getting 3.5mil Lombardi could end up with 4.

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#20 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 09:22AM
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@PerryK

Lombardi - $15.5M/4yrs ($3.875M per)

... could allow Horcoff to play that shutdown role. Worth a phone call, maybe.

??

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