Steve Tambellini: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Lowetide
June 19 2011 08:46AM

To listen to some people tell it, Steve Tambellini hasn't done one damn thing to help the Edmonton Oilers. Not so.
 

The Good

  1. The major thing Steve Tambellini has done is give room and bullets to the amateur procurement department. His first trade (Garon to the Pens) and his most recent trade (Penner to the left coast) included draft picks (both 2011 selections) meaning MBS and his scouts have a better chance to find useful things.
  2. Trade of Denis Grebeshkov to Nashville for a 2nd rd pick. Similar to what I discussed above, but this is worthy of a spotlight because the return was a 2nd in a good draft year. MBS turned that pick into Curtis Hamilton. Steve Staios deal is exactly the same kind of deal.
  3. Claiming Ryan Jones off waivers. Jones has played in enormous luck and the advanced stats expose the conditions he's playing in, but the results offensively have more than covered the waiver cost.
  4. Trade of Lubomir Visnovsky for Ryan Whitney and the pick that turned into Brandon Davidson. Special circumstances here, coach Quinn liked his defenders to pass the puck up, so the sublime talents of Lubo served to gall the already galled coach for much of the time. Getting a younger veteran like Whitney and a depth pick was a nice return considering the situation.  
  5. Lower level trades and signings for men like Colin Fraser and Kurtis Foster. Although neither worked out in year one, these were good bets and may end up paying dividends in year two. Fraser was low event (not a bad thing) and Foster struggled for many reasons but was a good soldier and should be better in 11-12.

 

The Bad

 

  1. The 2009 deadline deal that sent away Erik Cole and a 5th rd pick for Patrick O'Sullivan and a 2nd rd pick. The 2nd rder was flipped in exchange for Ales Kotalik. It's bad because this was a trade in an effort to improve for the stretch run and acquire a young, useful offensive player (O'Sullivan). Nothing about this trade worked, and two years later the other teams involved (Carolina, Los Angeles and Buffalo) all made out like bandits compared to the Oilers.
  2. Trading Kyle Brodziak at the draft and then spending two seasons trying to find Kyle Brodziak. You know the player Edmonton is looking for this summer? You know, 2-way forward who can PK and help out a little on offense? Win some faceoffs? That guy? Yeah. Kyle Brodziak. Dealt at the 2009 draft for the picks that turned into Kyle Bigos and Olivier Roy. You can't trade people from your NHL roster if there is no one to replace them.

 

The Ugly

  1. The major item for this Oiler fan was the Khabibulin signing. I liked the goalie, but not the money and not the term. A rational signing would be coming off the books by now.
  2. Firing Craig MacTavish and replacing him with Pat Quinn. A disaster, a complete disaster. When you bring in a coach to help young players and they don't progress, the cost is enormous. It was so bad the Oilers had to make the move to Renney ahead of schedule. Long term negative impact on the team.
  3. Keeping Kelly Buchberger over Charlie Huddy. I'm not sure if it was a cost consideration or maybe the Oilers just don't like defensemen, but the club had some young blue who were on track when Huddy was here who have stagnated since he left. It would behoove the Oilers to re-hire Huddy in his previous role should he come available this summer.
  4. The handling of Sheldon Souray's situation. I can only guess about the reaction from NHL players to the year long trip to Chocolate land. This sort of thing doesn't help the Oilers reputation, already negative due to things like the Comrie cash grab and the Smyth $100,000 game.

So, Steve Tambellini has done some good things. He's acquired picks and Stu MacGregor has been able to turn them into promising prospects. He's also dealt an outstanding NHL defenseman for a very good one in a deal that addressed the coaching concerns and the future (Whitney is younger, plus Davidson has a chance).

He's also shown an ability to make reasonable bets (Foster, Fraser) and although they haven't worked out there's at least some hope for them.

Tambellini has gotten into trouble on the larger canvas. The Khabibulin signing, the Souray punishment, the Quinn blunder, the wonky trade of Erik Cole.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Steve Tambellini's summer is very likely to be a large canvas summer. ON's Robin Brownlee suggested this week that the club might be considering trading next year's first round pick in an effort to grab both RNH and another top 5 pick this season:

  • Robin Brownlee:  "Just Saying: Might the Oilers look at trading the 19th pick in the first round this year and their first pick in 2012, which figures to be anything from a fifth to a 10th pick, to get a second top-five pick in Minny? More on that to come."

Should that happen, I believe Steve Tambellini will be fired within 12 months of the 2012 draft. There is no way the 11-12 Oilers finish well enough for that first round pick to be outside the top flight prospects that the (already) deep 2012 crop will provide. It might sound like a good idea, but if the pick he sends away ends up in the Nail Yakupov range I think we'll see Kevin Lowe back in the GM's chair by Christmas 2012.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#101 @NateInVegas
June 19 2011, 06:22PM
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There was an 18 point difference between 26th and the Oilers in 30th...

Winning 5 or 6 more games next year isn't unrealistic, but it still gives Edmonton a good chance at another lottery.

It's not meant to be backwards or negative thinking. The development and additions aren't finished.

If Tambellini wants to trade the 2012 1st pick at least protect it incase the Oilers draft 1 or 2 again regardless of the odds.

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#103 a lg dubl dubl
June 19 2011, 06:28PM
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I wonder if ST would trade this yrs #19( +cogs maybe) and next yrs 1st rounder to the devils for #4 this yr, with the devils possibly giving up thier own pick in the next couple yrs for the Kovi deal they'd be able to keep the 1st rounder from the Oilers.

EDIT or instead of Cogs if Lou doesnt want a forward then Chorney

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#104 DieHard
June 19 2011, 06:51PM
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LT:

Let's say the Oilers Draft RNH and send him back. Also, keep Hemsky (which I hope they do). What would you think our top 9 would be (line combos). Plug in any UFA you think we should get.

Edit: What I mean is use "UFA" not a player's name.

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#105 @Oilanderp
June 19 2011, 07:02PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yes. Absolutely yes.

From my perspective you either 1.) suffer from an acute case of fear/magic beans syndrome or 2.) you have absolutely NO faith in Tambellini to bolster the roster with utility UFAs this off-season or 3.) you believe next year's draft to be so deep that a top 3 pick this year is as good as a mid-late top ten pick next year. Either way, I thought I made a clear case of how even in the worst-case scenario the Oil still stand a better than average chance of winning the trade of their next year's first. Surprisingly, I have nothing else to say.

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#106 Yourmomthinksimhot
June 19 2011, 07:09PM
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derrickhands wrote:

Why trade to get Larrson when defensemen like Griffin Reinhart is in the draft next year. If I had the choice between Larrson and Reinhart, I take Reinhart in a second. This kid is that 1st pairing defenseman the Oilers need.

Thats a great theory if you actually end up with an opportunity to draft Reinhart, but in this scenerio your guaranteeing yourself Larsson. A defenseman with an extra years worth of development no less.

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#109 @Oilanderp
June 19 2011, 07:17PM
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Lowetide wrote:

It's cool. We've both given our honest opinion and disagree. Hopefully ST makes the right decision and it'll be fun to revisit this time next year (like I'll remember). :-)

For sure. I'll remember because I will be pissed if we are last!

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#110 DieHard
June 19 2011, 07:26PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I think the Oilers should add a veteran C like Brooks Laich and a 2way LW for the 2line. It might look like this:

Horcoff-Hall-Eberle Gagner-veteranLW-Hemsky Laich-Pääjärvi-Omark Cogliano-Hartikainen-Jones

Something like that. Laich and Horcoff are the PK centers, the PP should be better since the kids are a year older and Hemsky is hopefully healthy.

Don't really have a LW in mind as far as a name is concerned, but a gritty player who can score some and haul ass on the backcheck would be nice. Curtis Glencross would have been a nice option.

I don't mind that line-up at all. Now, let's get it done and see some real ELPH (Lottery pick exciting hockey).

Opps: Meant Exciting Lottery Pick Hockey

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#111 Tim S
June 19 2011, 07:27PM
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I wonder about this fear of the contracts that Eberle, Hall, and MPS will command in 2 years. Hall and Eberle have a career high of 42 points, and MPS less then that. With Penner gone, and everyone calling for Hemsky to be dealt for picks it stands to reason that there will tough checking awaiting. And with less talented linemates. It was not long ago Cogliano, Gagner and Nilsson looked like the saviours.

If the Oilers are considering moving next years 1st + for a shot at Larsson this year then that tells us 2 things (1) Stu likes Larsson, (2) the Oilers plan on making some moves aimed at improvement. And to me that is not a bad thing. At somepoint in a rebuild you have to start providing your players with a chance to succeed.

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#112 robinrussia
June 19 2011, 07:34PM
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Lowetide wrote:

It's cool. We've both given our honest opinion and disagree. Hopefully ST makes the right decision and it'll be fun to revisit this time next year (like I'll remember). :-)

In principle a 3rd/4th today would be similar than a 3rd/4th next year.

However, the cost of moving up to get the additional third is the problem. It would likely cost Penner, Hemmer, 19, 31+Prospect for #3/4 + Teubert as the net return. That's pricey. And would be grounds for dismissal, as there would be very few legitimate NHL players on the roster.

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#113 striker777
June 19 2011, 07:44PM
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For the love of God, do NOT trade next year's 1st round pick. If anything, keep acquiring picks. Those that think we'll be out of the woods next season are kidding themselves. We need at least 9 solid NHL players, which means at least 2 or 3 more seasons of pain, unless we draft Yakupov next summer (Ovechkin-like). Do not trade away picks. Instead keep dropping our dead weight to get more picks. I believe Souray will be worth a 2-nd rounder at the trade deadline.

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#114 Oilfan00
June 19 2011, 07:55PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Respectfully disagree. ST's job is to acquire talent by all legal means and the rebuild by definition means there's every chance this will be a lottery team.

If the Oilers plan to make this trade we're talking about and then immediately sign free agents and trade for veterans to address the many and obvious holes, then certainly the trade has little risk of being the massive mistake I'm suggesting in the original post.

However, with the goaltending, defense and special teams as they are, and with the team focused on draft and development then it's pretty clear a lottery position is a possibility.

With that as a backdrop, I don't understand why Steve Tambellini would entertain the idea. It is unwise.

Agreed, I think it would be a huge risk because it is a gamble to bet on staying healthy and the young guys not falling back at all. With the current lineup I wouldn't do it at all, but with changes then yes I probably would. However if the Oilers suck next year and traded their first rounder we will have nothing to talk about on this site from December to June....[big sigh]

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#115 Oilfan00
June 19 2011, 08:00PM
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Tim S wrote:

I wonder about this fear of the contracts that Eberle, Hall, and MPS will command in 2 years. Hall and Eberle have a career high of 42 points, and MPS less then that. With Penner gone, and everyone calling for Hemsky to be dealt for picks it stands to reason that there will tough checking awaiting. And with less talented linemates. It was not long ago Cogliano, Gagner and Nilsson looked like the saviours.

If the Oilers are considering moving next years 1st + for a shot at Larsson this year then that tells us 2 things (1) Stu likes Larsson, (2) the Oilers plan on making some moves aimed at improvement. And to me that is not a bad thing. At somepoint in a rebuild you have to start providing your players with a chance to succeed.

Agreed but it may screw up the rebuild process if we do not improve a bunch this year and then next year have no first rounder.

Also if we are in a position in 2 years where Hall, MPS and Eberle deserve big contracts then it obviously means they are all stars and that is a good problem to have. Even with the three of them getting an average of 5 mill each thats only 15 mill, and Bulins contact plus Sourays are off the books so thats almost 10 mill so its not a huge deal...plus the cap will go up too.

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#116 The Real Scuba Steve
June 19 2011, 08:00PM
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The Khabibulin signing, the Souray punishment, the Quinn blunder, the wonky trade of Erik Cole was mostly KLowe work.

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#117 robinrussia
June 19 2011, 08:17PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yes. Absolutely yes.

Chance of generational talent 2011? - No one has used that term to describe anyone this year as far as I know.

Chance of generational talent 2012? - Yes

Right there it makes me think, next year I could finish 26th and win the lotto and get a "Crosby", no matter how remote the chance. Is this pick worth it, for a D man, who may or may not develop on track.

I'd say with the "Generational Talent" tag, I'd rather hold that pick, and try my luck next year. Regardless, I'm no longer liking the idea of drafting a D man with a high pick.

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#118 Yourmomthinksimhot
June 19 2011, 08:55PM
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Generational talent?? Crosby? Ovechkin? One good year in the OHL does not a "Generational Talent" tag make.

Dont get me wrong the kid sounds good but he scored 49 goals as a 16/17 year old, Taylor Hall scored 45 at the same age. Didnt see anyone calling Hall a "Generational Talent". We have Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi and soon to be RNH, at what point do you figure we need Yakupov? Like I said earlier, Galchenyuk should be the only forward we should be upset to miss out on. And its more likely he'd be the one available in the top ten around the area that we would likely be drafting but all this worry of missing out on Yakupov for Larsson is kind of ridiculous in my opinion.

In the scenerio that is presently suggested we are GUARANTEED Larsson. Id prefer the guarantee over the chance to draft another Taylor Hall. Just my opinion though....

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#119 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 19 2011, 09:28PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

The Khabibulin signing, the Souray punishment, the Quinn blunder, the wonky trade of Erik Cole was mostly KLowe work.

lolzzz

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#120 @Oilanderp
June 19 2011, 09:29PM
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striker777 wrote:

For the love of God, do NOT trade next year's 1st round pick. If anything, keep acquiring picks. Those that think we'll be out of the woods next season are kidding themselves. We need at least 9 solid NHL players, which means at least 2 or 3 more seasons of pain, unless we draft Yakupov next summer (Ovechkin-like). Do not trade away picks. Instead keep dropping our dead weight to get more picks. I believe Souray will be worth a 2-nd rounder at the trade deadline.

*long drawn out shuddering sighhhhh*

This is pointless.

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#121 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 19 2011, 09:31PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

I don't want to trade Hemsky at all. I'm just saying that if Larsson is still around at 3 or 4, then trading next year's first is probably worth it (if Stu likes him) all things considered. Again, I'm not trying to say what the Oiler's should or shouldn't do or if Larsson is better than the best d-man from next year. That's up to Oiler's management as informed by their scouts. What I am saying is that trading the first rounder in 2012 is a very real option which seriously should be considered depending on how the draft plays out. One who doesn't see that either hasn't read my posts or is still being blinded by a combo of fear and magic-beans syndrome.

And that's my point. Most fans want to run screaming into the streets at the mere mention of trading a first round pick next year. I've tried to overcome that natural urge by showing that at the absolute very worst the Oilers would be giving up a less than 50% chance at getting #1. Chances are though, the real situation this time next year won't be the absolute worst.

There is a discrepancy between the perceived value of the Oiler's 2012 first rounder, and its probable value. Oilers management should play the odds and parlay this discrepancy into real value at the draft.

I'm with you. I think hockey fans in general overate the unknown and underate the known, in theory I'd rather take a 3/4 pick today then roll the dice with what we'd get next year.

Theirs risk both ways, sure trading next years 1st has risk that it will be pick 1/2 etc.... but theirs also risk in not trading it, ie it ends up 8 or 9, I think most people discount/don't factor in that risk.

Now, I don't know enough about next years draft to give a definitive answer, if their really was one Crosby and then an Eric Staal and Ryan Getzlaf following him then I'd hang onto the pick.

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#122 OilerLand
June 19 2011, 09:54PM
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I just really don't like the idea of trading away ANY picks that this point. I say hold onto 1/19/31 and the 1 in 2012 and let Stu do his job. We need to be acquiring picks, not trading them away.

Stu will do more good for the Oilers through drafting than Tambo will through signings.

Give Stu all the fun he can handle and put him to work.

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#123 speeds
June 19 2011, 10:04PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I'm with you. I think hockey fans in general overate the unknown and underate the known, in theory I'd rather take a 3/4 pick today then roll the dice with what we'd get next year.

Theirs risk both ways, sure trading next years 1st has risk that it will be pick 1/2 etc.... but theirs also risk in not trading it, ie it ends up 8 or 9, I think most people discount/don't factor in that risk.

Now, I don't know enough about next years draft to give a definitive answer, if their really was one Crosby and then an Eric Staal and Ryan Getzlaf following him then I'd hang onto the pick.

There is certainly risk, there's no question about that. But you assume risk either way, if you let the pick float, or if you convert it into another top 5 player now.

I'm against the move, and here's my general rationale, bullet points:

- I think the Oilers are likely to finish in the bottom 3-5 again next season, given my expectations for their moves this summer. Obviously if they are spending to the cap this coming season, filling holes, the calculus changes, but we've seen no indication yet the Oilers look to be aggressively improving the team for next season. In fact, the Penner trade probably indicates the opposite.

- Even if they finish better than that, say 7th or 8th worst, i think the difference in quality of prospect from 4th this year to 7th/8th in 2012 is less than the difference from 4th this year to 1st/2nd in 2012. One might even up arguing that the player taken 7th or 8th next year is just as good as the player taken 4th this year. Obviously that's just a guess, but I'm not sure it's a poor one at this point in time - hard to imagine the scouts wouldn't be consulted on that.

- you also give up 19 OV in this year's draft, and while I agree that these picks are generally overvalued it's maybe something like a 10% chance at an impact player.

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#124 Chris.
June 19 2011, 10:14PM
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If Tambellini trades the 2012 first, and then lands near the bottom of the standings: at least we'll know he didn't tank on purpose.

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#125 @Oilanderp
June 19 2011, 10:58PM
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@speeds

Good point. My argument assumes each draft year is more or less equivalent (which we know not to be the case). If next year is so good then the chance of winning the trade involving our first rounder next year goes drastically down.

I guess we'll have to leave it to the experts ;) Can't wait for draft day!

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#126 Brandin
June 20 2011, 09:04AM
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I've been reading this site for a while but this is the first time I've felt inclined to post.

I am in favour of trading the 2012 first rounder, a.) because I think if we have a shot at another top C or D prospect this year I think we'd be crazy not to take it (with Stu's blessing), and b.) It shows the fans and the players that our core group has been established, and takes away any incentive to perform poorly. Acknowledging that the core group is set does not indicate that the rebuild is over, and that should be clearly communicated by the organization. It means that we move on to the next step, which is surrounding our core with functioning NHLers and role players.

I always hear people refer to “a culture of losing” and it seems to be shining through on this board. Despite the fact it’s extremely unlikely the Oilers will be in the running for a playoff spot next season, the team should not bet on itself to finish in the bottom five. Trading the pick takes away excuses. Trading the pick forces management to make forward progress, and doesn’t give them the option to throw in the towel half way through the year (again).

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