TEEMU HARTIKAINEN: A STEP BACK FOR HARSKI?

Robin Brownlee
August 25 2011 09:19PM

If I was putting together the next edition of the Edmonton Oilers, Teemu Hartikainen would be on the 23-man roster. But I'm not, and I doubt he will be when the 2011-12 season opens, despite what I considered an impressive debut last season.

In that regard, as in starting the year on the Oilers roster, this season could be perceived as something of a step back for the 21-year-old Finnish winger known in the dressing room as Harski.

Despite turning some heads in 12 games with the Oilers last season, a stretch in which he scored 3-2-5 and went minus-3 while averaging 17:25 of ice time a game. when I look at Edmonton's depth chart, I see Hartikainen destined for a ticket to Oklahoma City.

As good a showing as Hartikainen had when summoned to fill one of the holes in a roster riddled by injuries, I was hoping to see more of him this season. I don't see that being the case now unless the injury bug strikes early and often in pre-season.

Where does he fit?

TOO MUCH DEPTH?

It seems laughable, and is, to suggest that a team that finished 30th for a second season in a row has too much depth to take a long look at a big-bodied banger with some skill like Hartikainen.

It's more a case of too many bodies, as opposed to too much proven depth, with the addition of necessary veteran components in Ryan Smyth and Eric Belanger and toughness in Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk to find room for the six-foot-three, 215-pound Finn.

If coach Tom Renney keeps 14 forwards to start the year, how does he find a place for Hartikainen? On left wing, there's Taylor Hall, Smyth, Magnus Paajarvi and Eager.

Down the middle, it looks like Sam Gagner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Shawn Horcoff and Belanger with Anton Lander and Gilbert Brule contesting the position. While it's not guaranteed Nugent-Hopkins will be here beyond nine games, I don't see Hartikainen in the middle.

On the right side. it stacks up as Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle, Linus Omark and Ryan Jones, no?

At this point, Hartikainen projects as a bottom-six forward, so who from the mix of Paajarvi and Eager, Horcoff and Belanger or Omark and Jones does he displace?

NO HURRY

I'm not talking about trying to fast-track Hartikainen. Despite how he looked at the end of last season, a dozen NHL games doesn't give fans or coaches a clear or complete picture. He is, again, only 21. But, like I said, what I saw last season left me wanting more.

Contract situations and waiver considerations being what they are, it looks like those who feel the same way, like Hartikainen, will have to wait, unless he so clearly outperforms somebody ahead of him, there's no choice but to keep him.

Even if he does, we've seen how that often doesn't change the pre-determined pecking order going into training camp and pre-season -- think Omark a year ago -- that is laid out on the organizational chart on the wall in the coaching office at Rexall Place.

My guess is the ETA on Hartikainen is likely closer to January than it is October. That's not necessarily a developmental-derailer or a big blow, assuming somebody takes Hartikainen aside and explains the lay of the land, which obviously wasn't done to Omark's satisfaction a year ago.

Once again, patience is the word of the day.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
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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#51 The Anti-Fist
August 26 2011, 10:33AM
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The ol' fist jokes remind me of grade school when someone made a witty joke, we all went har-har and the uncool kids see the attention thati person got, and beat a joke to death to make themselves feel special.

But on this forum it was done by people to be poop disturbers and makes the casual reader less likely to visit if the banter and comments are juvenile. I don't blame Brownies for adding some class by removing the comments. I'd wish it was done a long time back.

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#52 Anti-Fist
August 26 2011, 10:35AM
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Should of got a IPad rather then this touchpad. Stupid thing auto corrects.

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#53 kgo
August 26 2011, 10:46AM
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look how fresh and unbroken his face looks, he clearly needs more time in the AHL

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#54 Archaeologuy
August 26 2011, 10:55AM
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@Anti-Fist

Did you buy it for 99 bucks?

Anyway, the iPad's autocorrect is so unintuitive that I had to turn the function off. It was brutal.

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#55 Dman09
August 26 2011, 11:05AM
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etownman wrote:

Hemsky's contract situation will play into this as well. I think Eberle is a lock for one RW top six spot & the other top two RW spot will be between Hemmer & Omark. Hartikainen, Jones & Hordichuk (when needed) are exactly what the Oil need for the bottom six wing positions. The beauty about Harski & Jones is that they can move up & down the line up as well without hurting the team!

Agreed, I think that if they do decided to resign Hemmer than Omark will included in a trade later this year.

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
August 26 2011, 11:07AM
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justDOit wrote:

Yes, ST should have dealt prospects & picks for Bogosian and signed Brad Richards to the NHL maximum for 50 yrs. That's a proven strategy.

Harski will be back soon, and like Omark, he'll be better for it. Until then, he's a temporary victim of the NHL numbers game.

'They' say that ST has been in numerous talks with various teams throughout the summer, and I'll be surprised if we don't see some roster moves before December. Until then, we still have the injury bug to provide open roster spots.

Outside of 4,14,93 and 91 i would have givin anything to add a Couturier or a Larsson. It's those first 3 maybe 4 untouchables that need help as they mesh as a group going forward. I'd much rather have had 4,14,93,91,Couturier and whatever else could be liquidated before the next entry draft to get that second shot in the top 6. It's this much needed group that will carry this franchise going forward, not 89,83 and 6. Before Hall,Eberle,Hopkins and Paajarvi are dominant players in this league, 83,89 and 6 will be long gone by then, send them packing asap to add to that important group.

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#57 yawto
August 26 2011, 11:15AM
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What actually is real funny is how many people can get their panties in a knot over a simple word. It's like reading the word fist ruins your day. Sorry, didn't mean to offend robin or Walter or jack, whatever name you go by.

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#58 TigerUnderGlass
August 26 2011, 11:23AM
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@Anti-Fist

I'll give you the $99 you paid for it...

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#59 mayorpoop
August 26 2011, 11:28AM
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The Anti-Fist wrote:

The ol' fist jokes remind me of grade school when someone made a witty joke, we all went har-har and the uncool kids see the attention thati person got, and beat a joke to death to make themselves feel special.

But on this forum it was done by people to be poop disturbers and makes the casual reader less likely to visit if the banter and comments are juvenile. I don't blame Brownies for adding some class by removing the comments. I'd wish it was done a long time back.

thank you last century for ensuring that certain words are censored for me.

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#60 Slats
August 26 2011, 11:47AM
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Do we need the "injury bug" or does Hemsky, Gagner, etc play to their average of 55-60G?

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#61 loosemoose
August 26 2011, 12:23PM
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While I agree that Harski would benefit from top 6 in the AHL, I would like to see the Oilers switch it up more often. If a regular isn't pulling his weight, send him to the PB and call up one of the young guys. We need to put the pressure on these guys to perform. We are starting to amass a lot of young talent that should help some of the established guys 'break through'. Even if its Hemsky, Gagner, whatever. I mean, when was the last time Hemsky thought he was in trouble of locking up a spot on the roster? (I'm not saying he shouldn't have one, but complacency kills the best of us). It shouldn't just be injuries that get these guys up in the show.

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#62 Craig1981
August 26 2011, 12:49PM
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@loosemoose

If you send any of those guys down they would have to clear waivers first which means you would lose them. Then then to bring them back up even if they did clear you would have to bring them through re-entry waivers and any team could now pick them up for 50% of their salary. There are only one or two players on the roster that you could send down without this issue. (Omark is the only one that comes to mind)

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#63 Team Hall
August 26 2011, 01:03PM
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Brownlee is so old, that when he was young rainbows only came in black and white. Haha, just ripping on you big guy. I like the depth and competition we have up front, I am just dissapointed with our lack of depth on the backend. Could we not have signed Hannan for 1.5M? Isnt that exactly the guy we needed? Maybe they want to keep Chorney as the 7th dman, but it seems we're a bit slim back there. Well stocked on the front end though.

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#65 Quicksilver ballet
August 26 2011, 01:49PM
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This editing of the first post thing could really start to catch on. I'm tempted to throw myself under the bus and see what Rueben has in store for me.

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#66 The Beaker
August 26 2011, 02:00PM
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@Craig1981

He said to the pressbox not to the minors.

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#67 Shapeman
August 26 2011, 02:38PM
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The Beaker wrote:

He said to the pressbox not to the minors.

Either way you don't have room on your roster unless someone is sent down though. Or injured

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#68 David S
August 26 2011, 02:58PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

This editing of the first post thing could really start to catch on. I'm tempted to throw myself under the bus and see what Rueben has in store for me.

I dunno man. Mess with the bull and you'll get the horns.

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#69 The Beaker
August 26 2011, 03:13PM
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@Shapeman

Oh, I'm sure there will be opportunities. Always are.

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#70 Walter Sobchak
August 26 2011, 03:21PM
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Is Brule both center and right wing? I can see Hartikainen taking Brule's ice time, and Brule being waived and sent down provided he's not injured still.

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#71 Craig1981
August 26 2011, 03:21PM
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@David S

I am yet to step out of line and have Mr. Brownlee give me a stern talk with a poetic (and slightly arrogant) post. But I do tell you, I'm not looking forward to it.......not one little bit. :S

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#72 Craig1981
August 26 2011, 03:23PM
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@The Beaker

Then how does that help make room on the roster for a call up from the A??

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#73 David S
August 26 2011, 03:27PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I am yet to step out of line and have Mr. Brownlee give me a stern talk with a poetic (and slightly arrogant) post. But I do tell you, I'm not looking forward to it.......not one little bit. :S

Just don't let him catch you apple polishing. No sir, that doesn't go over too well.

*Whistles and looks up to the sky*

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#74 Quicksilver ballet
August 26 2011, 03:58PM
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David S wrote:

I dunno man. Mess with the bull and you'll get the horns.

Haven't you ever wanted to wake a sleeping bear David?

Could be fun, taking a walk on the wild side is as good as a rest. There's alot of fun to be had if you act first and think later, everyday can be Friday or Saturday if you want it to be.

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#75 loosmoose
August 26 2011, 04:30PM
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@craig1981. Send them to the PB(pressbox). Just for a game or two. Get the hunger back...you know?

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#76 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
August 26 2011, 05:34PM
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yawto wrote:

What actually is real funny is how many people can get their panties in a knot over a simple word. It's like reading the word fist ruins your day. Sorry, didn't mean to offend robin or Walter or jack, whatever name you go by.

i mean this in the most polite way possible. Are you an idiot or are you being sarcastic?

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#77 gongshow
August 26 2011, 06:17PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Haven't you ever wanted to wake a sleeping bear David?

Could be fun, taking a walk on the wild side is as good as a rest. There's alot of fun to be had if you act first and think later, everyday can be Friday or Saturday if you want it to be.

My wife's cousin, who I know quite well, was pipelining when their backhoe ripped the top off of a hibernating bear's den. The bear was quite groggy and so the cuz took this as a sign that he should creep up on the bear. He got his hand within a foot of giving the bear a noogie before what few brain cells he has left told him that this wasn't the best idea that he had ever had. Somehow, with ideas like that, he's still around.

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#78 Tyler
August 26 2011, 08:05PM
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In my opinion, Hemmers future with Oilers hinges on how Omark does this year. Last year Omarks PP chances/60 were far superior, so he's already showing some signs of replacement. His scoring per 60 is way of Hemmers marks but he was a rookie (old for a rookie) but a rookie no less, playing with more inexperienced help MPS. If Omark can pull those scoring rates up, I think you might see the Oilers keep him over Hemmer. He's younger, cheaper, more creative and if he can be comparably EFFECTIVE this year; Ales is gone. He's got a higher trade value then Omark and could be a heck of a trade piece if he stays healthy and score at the same rate as last year. If Omark stagnates or doesn't deliver, Hemmer gets a new contract and Omark packs his bags. That's the way I'm seeing it at least. Note: I'm not saying Omark is better, i'm just saying Hemmer's future depends on Omarks ability to make it a close race.

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#79 Shapeman
August 26 2011, 08:39PM
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loosmoose wrote:

@craig1981. Send them to the PB(pressbox). Just for a game or two. Get the hunger back...you know?

I agree with the idea but unless someone's injured you wouldn't be able to call up someone to replace an unmotivated vet because there isn't roster space. You would have to use a player that is currently a healthy scratch. Or send your scratches down if they aren't waiver eligibile or you don't care and call up some young'uns you want a look at.

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#80 justincider
August 26 2011, 09:46PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

A few threads back you were saying how another bottom finish would be good for our team. I called you " the most patient Oiler fan I have ever come across. " So which is it?

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#81 justincider
August 26 2011, 09:48PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

While your mother may approve of fisting, there will be none of it attached to items I write. Established and spelled out long ago, like it or not.

Now, pull your insulted self together, accept it or not and move on.

HAHA...Oh man, BEST REPLY I HAVE READ IN AGES. Kudos Mr. Brownlee.

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#82 justincider
August 26 2011, 09:53PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Patience is for lawn bowling and golf. I'm so sick of hearing this word now.....and to be only half way into this rebuild, it's a damn good thing Smytty's back to distract us from reality.

Should have included your original comment, just so there is no confusion.

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#83 justDOit
August 26 2011, 10:59PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

While your mother may approve of fisting, there will be none of it attached to items I write. Established and spelled out long ago, like it or not.

Now, pull your insulted self together, accept it or not and move on.

While we don't know exactly what yawto said in that original comment because you censored it, it's clear that you don't understand your own rules. The only thing more immature and ridiculous than the whole 'fisting' thing, is implying that someone's Mom takes it up to the elbow. Sorry, but not cool.

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#84 justincider
August 26 2011, 11:14PM
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justDOit wrote:

While we don't know exactly what yawto said in that original comment because you censored it, it's clear that you don't understand your own rules. The only thing more immature and ridiculous than the whole 'fisting' thing, is implying that someone's Mom takes it up to the elbow. Sorry, but not cool.

Disagree, still wiping the tears from my eyes.

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#86 Dave Lumley
August 27 2011, 01:15AM
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For God Sakes someone write an article. It's coming down to arguing about the infamous FIST.

For God Sakes Brownlee, it's just the exuberance of youth, "Hey look at me I came in first". This is a sports blog where being first means something. We live our lives vicariously. If you think its some weird sexual thing get your head out of the gutter, unless of course you can work in a clever double entendre.

Yes, my Mother would go back and edit it just like she would say it's silly to worry about being first. Let some other Kid come in first to make him feel good. You just sigh and realize - She just doesn't get it!

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#87 @Oilanderp
August 27 2011, 02:41AM
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May the fisters fist, the anti-fisters not, the writers write, and the editors edit. All is as it should be.

Rookie training camp for my local WHL team this weekend! We're getting close! WE'RE GETTING CLOSE!!!

*drools with blank 1000-yard stare*

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#88 pelhem grenville
August 27 2011, 05:13AM
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Dear Moammar...

which F-word is it that I'm not allowed to use when you write a piece on OilersNation?

Regards

chain sufficiently yanked

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#89 Quicksilver ballet
August 27 2011, 10:34AM
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justincider wrote:

Should have included your original comment, just so there is no confusion.

We're still hanging onto pieces that aren't part of the future here. I was hoping a few more of these faux top 3,top 6 players had been moved by now to add to this 4,14,and 93 group that desperately needs company. I'd rather go with a group of 6-8 lottery picks over this span of 4-5 yrs while we're residing in the basement. The type of drive that we see in Taylor Hall wasn't taught/passed onto him by the experienced veterans on this hockey club. I'll take my chances these new kids can accomplish much more on their own without that so called veteran help. Gretzky/Messier and company seemed to do fine on their own as well.

Two opportunities have slipped by and Tambellini hasn't been able to add to what we were already due in the last 2 entry drafts. The plan should've been netting 6 lottery picks over a span of 4 yrs (3 which have already passed), perhaps 3 or 4 of those 6 turn into impact players that are desperately needed here. Even with all the changes that have been made over the last two seasons, here we are again, looking through the windshield at another possible last place finish. After what must've been a difficult first season in the NHL, Taylor must be thinking to himself, is that all Tambellini could do for us, getting us a kid whom may not even make the club this season.

There's no way i would've surrendered Eberle to get Seguin in that 2010 draft but i don't think the price was near that high to have had Adam Larsson or Sean Couturier coming to camp along with Hopkins in two weeks. We can only hope whoever is the Oilers GM heading into next summers entry draft, has another ace up his sleeve to go with the one we'll already be due. I fear your comment on patience is being abused by Steve Tambellini and company.

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#90 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 27 2011, 12:09PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

We're still hanging onto pieces that aren't part of the future here. I was hoping a few more of these faux top 3,top 6 players had been moved by now to add to this 4,14,and 93 group that desperately needs company. I'd rather go with a group of 6-8 lottery picks over this span of 4-5 yrs while we're residing in the basement. The type of drive that we see in Taylor Hall wasn't taught/passed onto him by the experienced veterans on this hockey club. I'll take my chances these new kids can accomplish much more on their own without that so called veteran help. Gretzky/Messier and company seemed to do fine on their own as well.

Two opportunities have slipped by and Tambellini hasn't been able to add to what we were already due in the last 2 entry drafts. The plan should've been netting 6 lottery picks over a span of 4 yrs (3 which have already passed), perhaps 3 or 4 of those 6 turn into impact players that are desperately needed here. Even with all the changes that have been made over the last two seasons, here we are again, looking through the windshield at another possible last place finish. After what must've been a difficult first season in the NHL, Taylor must be thinking to himself, is that all Tambellini could do for us, getting us a kid whom may not even make the club this season.

There's no way i would've surrendered Eberle to get Seguin in that 2010 draft but i don't think the price was near that high to have had Adam Larsson or Sean Couturier coming to camp along with Hopkins in two weeks. We can only hope whoever is the Oilers GM heading into next summers entry draft, has another ace up his sleeve to go with the one we'll already be due. I fear your comment on patience is being abused by Steve Tambellini and company.

lotto picks are rarely traded unless another high pick is coming back (ie at team trading down a few notches).

The chances of the Oil netting 2 extra lotto picks in 4 years has to be close to nill.

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#91 Quicksilver ballet
August 27 2011, 01:48PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

lotto picks are rarely traded unless another high pick is coming back (ie at team trading down a few notches).

The chances of the Oil netting 2 extra lotto picks in 4 years has to be close to nill.

I agree, if you're not going to put forth the effort, nothing will ever come your way. These are extraordinary times for Oilersnation, is it too much to ask for an extraordinary effort from the GM?

There's nothing wrong with a 2 step process to move up into this scenario. A Hemsky or a Gagner for an 8th and then swap that 8th and a roster player for another shot in that top 5. The impossibles are those little hurdles we all have to overcome in our paths. Miracles, well, they can be more difficult.

Have to believe this is Tambellinis last year here anyways. He's done what he was brought here to do by driving this franchise face first into the mud. Maybe things would have been different for him had he not had Kevin Lowe looking over his shoulders and okaying everything he's done during those roundtable tribal council meetings they hold. With Steve sitting on his hands during the four Oiler entry drafts to date, one has to wonder if he even has the contacts to do what needed to be done.

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#92 striatic
August 27 2011, 03:06PM
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agree hartikainen most likely does not make the roster out of training camp.

he should be the first call up though, in case of trade or injury [at least on the wings] so he'll see play for sure.

same situation as omark last year.

if i had to guess, i'd say 30 to 60 games played.

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#93 pelhem grenville
August 27 2011, 04:51PM
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...all riled up&wordy Q is...and t'think i was actually calling him MrTambelini after what i thought was a pretty descent draft (other than completely missing Coutourier)...but i'm back calling him our GM and i am hoping that this IS his last year, extension and all...keep up the good fight and remember what a wise old sage once said... "These are extraordinary times for Oilersnation"

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#94 loosemoose
August 27 2011, 06:00PM
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I hate to even appear like I am disagreeing with Quicksilver,but...I don't know how you can pile on Tambo for not getting another lottery pick...who know's what was offered/rejected/wanted/asked for...whatever...we got the prize...now have to cash it in...hope its still valid come september...

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#95 Quicksilver ballet
August 28 2011, 01:26PM
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Thanks for listening guys. Just feel we're much better off going with 6-8 new kids than we are with a mish mash underachieving veterans.

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