A Dodged Bullet/I’m Suddenly Thrilled Tambellini Signed MacIntyre

Jonathan Willis
July 05 2010 02:27PM

ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 18: Derek Boogaard #24 of the Minnesota Wild eyes an attacker during the first period of a preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on September 18, 2009 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

During his time as General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers, Kevin Lowe had his share of dodged bullets. The failed pursuit of Michael Nylander stands out in that category, as does the decision by the Buffalo Sabres to match Thomas Vanek’s offer sheet (thus sparing the Oilers the loss of four consecutive first round draft choices).

We can now add a dodged bullet to Steve Tambellini’s resume.

Just a few short days ago, I offered praise to Tambellini for not ponying up the money to match Glen Sather’s wild four-year/$6.6 million dollar offer to unrestricted free agent Derek Boogaard. After all, there’s no shame in backing out of a bidding war – even for a necessary piece – when the price becomes prohibitive.

Thanks to Larry Brooks, however, we now know that Tambellini wasn’t the one who did the backing out. No, it was Derek Boogaard, who left Oilers money on the table to sign on with the New York Rangers:

Boogaard's four-year, $6.6 million contract seems wildly excessive and will challenge coach John Tortorella's familiar assertion that paychecks don't influence lineup decisions. It is a fact, however, that Edmonton actually offered Boogaard -- who is going to Russia this summer to train with Pavel Datsyuk --$7 million over four years.

Leaving aside the question of whether an enforcer without the skill to play a regular NHL shift is a help or a hindrance to his NHL club, does that seem like a remotely defensible deal?

Putting it in perspective, that means Edmonton valued Boogaard at a rate:

  • 3.5 times as high as Steve MacIntyre
  • 3.4 times as high as John Scott
  • 2.9 times as high as Raitis Ivanans
  • 2.9 times as high as Zenon Konopka
  • 2.2 times as high as Brandon Prust
  • 1.6 times as high as Jody Shelley

It’s also worth mentioning that deal would have seen Boogaard under contract for twice as long as any of the players listed above, and four times as long as the player Edmonton eventually signed.

Is Boogaard worth 3.5 Steve MacIntyres for four times as long? He may be the premiere enforcer in the game but he is also a player with a lot of recent injury trouble and no goals over his previous four seasons.

I don’t see how Boogaard was worth either the dollars or the term he was offered, given his health, other on-ice contributions, and the deals being signed by other fighters. It’s just fortunate that Glen Sather was around to offer up a comparable figure, and even more fortunate that Boogaard preferred the New York offer.

UPDATE: Many of you have commented on the credibility of Larry Brooks as a source.  As he is the sole source of this information, it's entirely plausible that the information he provides is incorrect.  That said, the fact that he states it so strongly ("it is a fact" rather than "I've heard" or something similar) as well as the fact that we know the Oilers pursued Boogaard have me inclined to believe the report is correct.  I also don't think there's any definite contradiction between Brook's report and Ryan Rishaug's; it's entirely possible the Oilers tabled that deal and chose to end negotiations (hypothetically, if Boogaard's agent advised them there was a greater premium needed, or if there was a time limit attached to the deal, etc.).

With all of that said, readers must use discernment, and Brooks' word carries different weight with different people.  I appreciate that readers have brought this up in the comments, as it is a highly relevant point.  With any luck, we'll get some further light shed on this from another source.

 

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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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#51 David S
July 05 2010, 06:59PM
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I don't have a problem with Sather's offer, or Tambellini's "alleged" offer. With Boogaard, you not only get a premier fighter, but one of the dirtiest guys in the game. He doesn't care who he hurts or how badly he hurts them.

Its clear both Sather and Tambellini valued that elite level of intimidation at the dollar value they offered. How much did we lose when Hemsky went out for the year? An extra million to prevent that happening to Hemsky or Hall would be full value in my opinion.

And please. Can we resist the urge to rip on the writers, putting words in their mouths in order to spark a confrontation? For commenters who just have to be one "those guys", HF boards is only a click or two away.

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#52 Crackenbury
July 05 2010, 07:08PM
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@David S

I agree. I didn't mean to sound like I was ripping on the writers. On my best day I couldn't keep up with them. I do think everyone needs to be kept honest at times.

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#53 Archaeologuy
July 05 2010, 07:26PM
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Crackenbury wrote:

The Brooks article is a pile of unsubstantiated crap that should have been left alone. The 2 articles today are both trying to make news out of nothing and show a certain level of disrespect for the people involved. Willis and Brownlee are both better than that.

Willis didn't write his article originally as a possible rumour. He wrote it as fact. There is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise.

News out of nothing? What kind of sh*tty Oilers site would this be without addressing the various reports that come out regarding the Oilers?

JW and RB are NOT too good to comment on matters that are of interest to Oilers fans. They are professionals, it's their job to do just that. Whether you think Brooks is unsubstantiated crap or not, it is pertinent to fans of the Club. Robin's piece is about a topic that many are interested in. They cant WAIT for something to actually happen. It's July and the activity in the NHL is too slow for that. ON has to have more content than provided by the 5 days in the summer when the Oilers actually do something.

I think you're missing the point that this is an Oilers site, not a news site.

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#54 sizedoesmatter
July 05 2010, 07:30PM
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'Lets see,Glen satherjust overpaid for a rockem sockem pylon people are calling him an idiot why not leak a story to some roumour guy saying that he was not not the only dummy

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#55 TonyT
July 05 2010, 08:06PM
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I could go either way. While I'm happy for Steve MacIntyre, the amount of man games lost to injury alone warrants wanting him on our team...him and Andy Sutton...

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#56 TonyT
July 05 2010, 08:07PM
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By him I mean Boogard.

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#57 JohnQPublic
July 05 2010, 09:34PM
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I acknowledge the updated article, however I still can't put much weight behind anything Larry Brooks has to say.

If he wants to produce some sort of written offer document, I will believe him. Until then ... no soap.

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#58 Harbinger
July 05 2010, 09:42PM
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Recall the history of the Oilers under Sather: Semenko, Brown, and Laraque, all the premier 'fighters,' and 'tough-guys' of their time. So, with the signing of the Boogeyperson, Sather is consistant if nothing else. . .Is he worth it? Well, Sather obviously thinks so but judging by the majority of the so-called experts, he's in a minority. Kinda wondering if he'll still feel that way when the Booger is -129 after 12 games or so. . .

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#59 Crackenbury
July 05 2010, 09:45PM
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@Archaeologuy

I get the point it's an Oilers site. What I don't get is the need to go after Lowe and Tambellini over nothing. And yeah, Brownlee suggesting Lowe hand over his number to Hall is totally disrespectful to what Lowe has meant to this organization.

I'm pretty sure RB and Willis can defend themselves if they feel the need. It wouldn't be much of a site if everyone just slapped each other on the back and agreed with everything written here. The first 10 posts to RB's article looked like a gathering of the glee club.

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#60 Sean
July 06 2010, 09:33AM
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Ya I doubt Brooks to be accurate or at least it contradicts what Rishaug was saying on twitter.

Sorry if this is duplicated.

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