Is Steve Tambellini the right man to craft Edmonton’s next Stanley Cup Champion?

Jonathan Willis
June 06 2012 02:15PM

My reaction to the news of Steve Tambellini’s extension yesterday was mild disappointment. Mild because the Oilers have been telegraphing this move for months and it seemed inevitable long ago. Disappointment because I think it’s the wrong decision.

The Case For

The primary argument in favour of keeping Steve Tambellini on is a straight forward one: the Oilers made a conscious decision to conduct a full-blown rebuild. That decision involved deliberately icing a bad team in order to land high-end draft picks. Given that the Oilers have achieved that over the last few years, Tambellini was successful in executing that overarching strategy.

Further, it’s impossible to judge Tambellini negatively because there was simply no way to execute that strategy without running a terrible team; doing the things that managers typically do to improve their teams would have undermined the whole exercise.

There are other arguments to be made in his favour. The Oilers’ AHL team, the Oklahoma City Barons, is a far more competent club than the one Tambellini inherited. This reflects that he’s been successful at rebuilding an important pipeline in the Oilers’ organization. The amateur scouting group has a promising early track record under Tambellini.

The Case Against

The Oilers rebuild may have started midway through 2009-10, but that’s not when Steve Tambellini was hired. Steve Tambellini was hired in the summer of 2008. The 2008-09 roster was largely set by the team he came into the picture; Tambellini’s only fault was his inaction over the season. The team missed the playoffs, and was largely considered a disappointment after some positive strides had been made in 2007-08.

Tambellini restructured the club in the summer of 2009, with the mandate of making the playoffs. Injuries played a hand, as did poor decisions the summer before, and the rebuild was launched midway through the season.

We can write of 2010-11; Oilers management did and the team repeated its last place performance. That was by design.

More was expected in 2011-12, however. From the start thru to the end of the season, Tambellini was adamant that his team should not be in the draft lottery for a third consecutive year. Perhaps that was window dressing, but it seems unlikely. Certainly, the coaching staff didn’t view it that way – they shifted from merrily rolling the lines to hard-matching. Finishing 29th in the NHL had to be considered a disappointment.

Beyond the results is the process. The few key decisions the Oilers have made under Tambellini are an interesting study, and none more so than the Nikolai Khabibulin signing.

It’s not just that the Khabibulin signing hasn’t worked out. That can happen, even when a manager makes a wise decision. The problem is that it was a spectacularly bad bet from the get go for so many different reasons.

Khabibulin was already one of the most injury-prone goalies in the NHL when he was signed. At 36 years of age, he was fighting against Father Time. He’d ranged between terrible and mediocre in three of four previous seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. The goalie market was oversaturated, with goalies struggling to find work.

With all those negatives, Tambellini inked Khabibulin to a four-year (no other free agent goalie got more than two), $3.75 million/season (no other goalie earned more than $2.5 million per year). As icing on the cake, Tambellini opted to retain Jeff Deslauriers as Khabibulin’s backup – at that time, he had 10 career NHL games and a 0.901 SV% to go along with a track record of middling play in the AHL.

The number of managerial blunders involved in that pair of decisions is staggering. It represented terrible risk management in two ways. First, Khabibulin’s age/injury record made him a high-risk signing even in the short term, and Deslauriers was a lousy insurance policy. Second, the decision to commit to four years to an old, injury-prone goalie looked bad at the time and looks just as bad now. It represented a terrible understanding of basic supply-and-demand: there were more goalies than there were vacant NHL jobs, and yet Tambellini was unable to find anything even resembling a bargain. It was bad player assessment too; Khabibulin had struggled in every season save the most recent, and those struggles followed him to Edmonton. Finally, in an era where teams like Detroit were showing that a capable but not marquee goaltender could deliver excellent performance relative to dollars spent, it was a depressingly conventional move to pay a premium for a ‘name’ goalie.

It’s not clear that the lessons of that decision have sunk in. Tambellini has always been devoutly loyal to Khabibulin in his public statements, and has guaranteed that the Oilers will retain him for 2012-13. Looking at the contracts the team has signed since, it’s difficult to find even one example of the Oilers landing a real bargain in a contract negotiation – and in many cases, the opposite has happened. Cam Barker was bought out of a hefty contract after struggling mightily as a third-pairing guy in Minnesota; Tambellini found $2.25 million for him. Andy Sutton, a pending free agent and third-pairing guy, wants to stay in Edmonton rather than be traded; Tambellini can’t get him signed for less than $1.75 million.

As I See It

Steve Tambellini has not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s a bad general manager. There are some things in his favour, and everybody makes mistakes. Due to the nature of the Oilers’ strategy the last few years, he hasn’t had an opportunity to really show what he can do, and some would argue that he deserves that opportunity.

I disagree. Tambellini hasn’t had a long time in the saddle, but with his contract up the Oilers had a decision to make. Based on his work so far, was there reason to believe that he was a better candidate than Jason Botterill or Paul Fenton or Jeff Gorton or Dave Nonis or Julien BriseBois or Joe Will? I’d argue that there wasn’t. I’d argue that the evidence, incomplete though it is, suggests that Steve Tambellini is not the best man to try and build another Stanley Cup Champion in Edmonton.

The Oilers organization has decided otherwise. Fans just have to hope that they’re right.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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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 G Money
June 06 2012, 04:54PM
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A long time lurker - just had to speak ...

Timeline of a rebuild: three years thinking you're a contender and finally realizing you are not, after falling short every year (see also: Calgary Flames). Then finally accept that you have to rebuild. Sell off all tradeable assets for picks and prospects. Stink for three years, work hard to get the best (and also the most) high quality young players. Concentrate efforts on building your farm team and development pipeline. Trade or sign only for players that a. are a reclamation project gamble that could have long-term upside if they work but no long-term downside if they don't, or b. can teach the young players valuable skills. Then for year four, add a few key pieces to your hopefully young and talented team to get them the valuable experience of a playoff chase (and ideally the playoffs). *NOT TOO MANY PIECES THOUGH, as free agents will still be very expensive for your still-lousy team, and your most tradeable assets are the ones you need for your rebuild. Just add enough to make a push for the playoffs credible. Then finally, in year five, you should have established enough street cred as an up and coming club to finally be able to really fill some gaps through free agency without paying through the nose. Contend. Depending on how close you are, year six is when you start considering trading away the future to fill gaps or improve critical areas for the sake of winning now. (Contend for five or ten years while your core is at its peak, then start the whole process again).

(* Alternatively, be like the Maple Leafs, and demand success every year, even when you don't have the core players you need. That way you can wallow in mediocrity for decades)

On my timeline, we just finished year three. At this point, letting the team develop without spending any of the future is the right thing to do, and that's what Tambo's done. I'm not necessarily a fan, because I don't know if that was deliberate or not.

But I don't think most of the criticism he comes in for is justified. I do give him props for:

- improving the farm team and player development process

- improving the amateur scouting

- not giving away the farm in free agent signings. Willis, your article implies criticism of Tambo because "... Tambellini was unable to find anything even resembling a bargain" and "... it was a depressingly conventional move to pay a premium for a ‘name’ goalie." Let us remember that a. the Oilers suck right now, b. they play in the third least appealing city in the league, and c. they are a hockey fishbowl, with (sadly) many fans that seem to turn vicious quite quickly. Because of point a. NO true marquee free agent (e.g. Suter) will come to Edmonton yet, and because of points a AND b and often c. any free agent that has options that does come here will require an overpay, probably a gross overpay at that. Let's not pretend for a second that the Oilers have the success appeal of the Red Wings or that Edmonton has the sex appeal of New York, LA, or hell, even Toronto. So the right thing to do is to wait for the young players to develop to the point that across the league people start to say "that team is scary!" (not "that team *will be* scary!"). That's when you can pursue some free agents (and some trades, since some of the prospects will have developed to the point that they have enough appeal that they can bring some value back the other way).

I do expect that this is the summer Tambo needs to pick up just enough pieces to let the playoffs be a reasonable target. Some of that will come just from having Dubynk in goal for more nights (as long as he doesn't crater), and a lot from the continued development of Habernugags. Bringing in a Nail to complement the Hemmer can't hurt. Adding someone like a Carle, Garrison, or Schultz would be the remaining key. (I'd like more than one of them, but as noted above, they WILL require an overpay, so just one for now would be reasonable). Let's see how Tabmo does.

Bottom line: Though some of his moves are headscratchers, Tambo didn't really do any of the truly wrong things that would f* up a rebuild (and even hinted that he was not doing those things for the right reasons). So it comes as no surprise to me that they re-upped him, and that's probably the right thing to do.

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#2 knobby
June 06 2012, 03:44PM
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My only question is, who is more incompetent. Tamby or the tools who hired and then extended him?

Let's fashion an over/under on when the next rebuild starts. The Oil will be bottom feeders forever as long as the current management is in place.

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#3 Matt Henderson
June 06 2012, 02:29PM
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If these Cup Finalists have proven anything it's that you dont need to make trades or attract UFAs to compete for a Stanley Cup. I feel better knowing that. The Kings Drafted Richards, Carter, Penner, Stoll, and Greene, Right?*

*Double Checks how each team was built*

Oh...wait...

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#4 freeze
June 06 2012, 02:38PM
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I really, really hope Tambo surprises us all and turns this thing around. I'd love to eat my own words if it means the oilers start competing for the playoffs.

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#5 bdiddy18
June 06 2012, 03:52PM
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Tambo

- developed the farm team to a competitive level - has not sought short term solutions by trading away draft picks thus prospect depth is better - has gambled marginally on UFA vets - salaries aside - it didn't affect cap space, essentially trial base contracts, and they are not albatrosses that you can't move. - has managed his cap room well for the predictable salary surge of Eberle, Hall, Nuge etc

He has now declared it phase 2, the spotlight is squarely on him now. No harm in giving him the shot to see it through. Also, the window is still open to replace him before contracts for young guns is up.

Draft Yakupov - or the Fire tambo signs go up immediately !

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#6 Petr's Jofa
June 06 2012, 03:55PM
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The best part of the signing is the press release. According to the release, Tabelinni's accomplishment while GM are finishing last and drafting Hall, and RNH. His accomplishment is that he finished last and chose the consensus pick. Heck, at this point it's still debatable if Hall was the right choice or not.... I guess we should just be happy bumbles didn't show up at the draft table with the NBA draft ranking.

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#7 EL PRESIDENTE
June 06 2012, 04:30PM
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Am i the only person that remembers the mass exodus after the last cup run? Only a player pickled in vodka would agree to coming to Edmonton after that.

Seriously folks, lets get real, we've had a bad team for 6 years, here's a tissue get over it, its been worse in leaf blower land.

IMO Too many Oiler fans are becoming whinny babies, what really bothers me is that those same fans will be the first to proclaim they always believed in tambo's rebuild.

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#8 Bleak Winter
June 06 2012, 02:46PM
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The term of the extension shouldn't matter as much as the remaining tolerance for failure. If this is a three year extension we can all hope that two and a half of those years are nothing more than a golden parachute if we're in last place next Christmas.

The one thing I am trying to focus on these days (my faint hope) is that this time last year we collectively thought Dean Lombardi was a complete idiot. Look how that turned out.

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#9 Lexi
June 06 2012, 02:51PM
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I find it interesting that the Oilers are pretty much at the same stage the Kings were three years ago. I think one of the most underrated moves Lombardi did was sign Scuderi after that year from the Stanley Cup champs. ST better be able to convince a Carle, Garrison, Wideman, Schultz that this is a place to come and help build a winner. If ST and the pro scouts are worth anything they will properly identify the best Dman who is willing to sign here and go hard for him or else Katz has made a mistake.

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#10 LoDog
June 06 2012, 02:55PM
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Come on Arch, you can do better than that.

Doughty, Brown, Kopitar, Voynov, Quick, Bernier,Nolan, Clifford.

They got their best players through the draft, then made trades to compliment them.

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#11 MrBig
June 06 2012, 04:37PM
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Some of the comments on this thread are somewhat short-sighted. While I would not consider Tambellini a good communicator, he has made it clear that this is a rebuilding process and that takes time. We keep hearing that we are now entering year three of a five year plan to ice a competitive team. To me, if you are in year three then you begin to transition from building a young nucleus to the point where you put in the pieces around them. In the final year or two we should expect UFA's to want to come here because they see what is coming and the team should be competitive for another 5 years +.

On this site, what I have found annoying is the willingness to give up on players like Ganger and MPS before they have had time to develop. Look how that worked out for Calgary with players like St. Louis and Savard. The 50 man roster is now getting to the point where it is full of prospects. The team is reaching the point where package deals can be made with some (not a lot) of prospects and later round picks to acquire the required pieces. Take the defence for example; it is clearly an issue but with five or six credible prospects, the odds are that one or two turn out pretty well.

While I think a few of Tambellini's signings have been questionable, at best, the next couple of years will be a "make it or break it" scenario for him. He has put the scouts in place to obtain the nucleus, now he has to take a larger role and get this team to where it should be in the next 2 - 3 seasons. He knows this and his contract will be depend on it.

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#12 TigerUnderGlass
June 06 2012, 08:34PM
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How are people still defending Tambellini? There is no evidence that he has level of competence required to build a winning NHL team.

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#16 Quicksilver ballet
June 06 2012, 02:18PM
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I stopped fighting my inner Demons. We're on the same side now.

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#17 Cody anderson
June 06 2012, 02:35PM
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Has anyone heard the terms? I don't care for him. I agree that he seems to overpay and overcommit term wise and then the team feels they have to play those individuals to justify their contracts.

It was obvious it was going to happen. I just hope it was a one year deal with the option to extend should he prove 90% of the popluation wrong.

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#18 neojanus
June 06 2012, 02:36PM
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He'll be on a very short leash...

OH YEAH! They hire based on being good friends with this organization.

For f***sake, if this year blows again, there's going to be some kind of hockey riot in the streets. I will lead it if I'm called for duty.

Still, let's see what happens -- maybe the nitrogen-heavy, putrid stench of concentrated turkey manure will yield impressive amounts of fruit this year.

Or maybe we'll stick it on the stove again and get one more big & steaming pile of...

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#19 Nail
June 06 2012, 02:46PM
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Tough decisions need to be made on and off the ice. And Tambo doesn't inspire confidence when making these decisions. It appears he doesn't have a long term vision of how this team will shape up. Could because he keeps his cards close to his chest but there aren't any moves you can say in his tenure that can we can be proud of. OKC looks a lot better but we can thank the scouts for that!

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#20 book¡e
June 06 2012, 02:50PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

If these Cup Finalists have proven anything it's that you dont need to make trades or attract UFAs to compete for a Stanley Cup. I feel better knowing that. The Kings Drafted Richards, Carter, Penner, Stoll, and Greene, Right?*

*Double Checks how each team was built*

Oh...wait...

Yes, but Edmonton is a lot more attractive with some young talent now to help attract UFA's.

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#21 book¡e
June 06 2012, 02:52PM
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Bleak Winter wrote:

The term of the extension shouldn't matter as much as the remaining tolerance for failure. If this is a three year extension we can all hope that two and a half of those years are nothing more than a golden parachute if we're in last place next Christmas.

The one thing I am trying to focus on these days (my faint hope) is that this time last year we collectively thought Dean Lombardi was a complete idiot. Look how that turned out.

Exactly, the difference between a 1 year contract and a 3 year contract is meaningless to fans in that the Owner is the one who's wallet is lighter if they have to fire the GM six months in.

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#22 Cobalt
June 06 2012, 03:02PM
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So from what I just read, Tambo should be relieved of his duties three years into a major rebuild because of perceived inaction and the NK deal? Only to be replaced by one of Jason Botterill, Paul Fenton, Jeff Gorton, Dave Nonis, Julien BriseBois, or Joe Will? Other than Dave Nonis (whose body of work is suspect at best), what does anybody really know about these guys? Bring in a rookie GM to continue what's been started? You can't possibly be serious.

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#23 book¡e
June 06 2012, 03:03PM
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JW, I agree with much of what you write and my support for Tambellini is limited to this summer/early fall at the most.

I attribute a lot of moves that summer to the three headed management hydra that seemed to be in place and from interviews at the time and after, Tambellini has seemed to insinuate that he expressed reservations about some of the decisions. This was backed up by Katz who later announced (at the 'we are now planning to tank' stage) that Tambellini now had the authority to manage the team as he saw fit. An experienced GM would have come in with a great deal of confidence and would have told Lowe and Katz that if they want to run the team their way, then 'I quit', however, that was not Tambellini at the time. Now, its hard to really know what happened and I get that you think this is all too convoluted and that Tambellini was GM when Khabi was signed and therefore he is the guy who made the decision. That's fine, you could very well be correct. We really don't know.

So, basically, I judge Tambellini from the 'tank point' and the things that concern me the most is this last year where the guys that Tambellini brought in to be a part of the team for a few years (Belanger and Eager) have not worked out well. Now, one arguement is that the problem was with the coach, but that argument is somewhat weak and it is as likley that Belanger and Eager were bad bets and now the team is stuck with them. Unlike guys like Brule, Foster, and even Barker who were reclamation attempts that can be seen as 'no harm - no foul', Belanger and Eager are a concerning sign. There are questions as to whether Tambellini is able to 'win' trades for professional players

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#24 oilerdago
June 06 2012, 03:06PM
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JW, I agree with your general take on Tambellini.

The pro draft has produced above average results under Stu Macgregor and that's a mark in his favor.

His handling of the trade market has been a mixed bag. He did a good job unloading some bad contracts (Staios, Moreau...) but he's also made some bad decisions - Visnovsky for Whitney has not turned out well at all.

There are two areas he's under-performed: the free agency market and the hiring of coaches. Khabibulin, Barker, Belanger, Eager, Fraser all have been busts. And his coaching hires have been terrible as well. Quinn was a bad choice and while Renney did not have the tools, many of his decisions are why he's not coming back for a 3rd year.

When does he finally get held accountable?

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#25 misfit
June 06 2012, 03:08PM
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Tambellini's first year as GM (as well as his most recent), his goal was icing a competative team that could make the playoffs. Both seasons his teams finished in the bottom 10. In fact, I don't think you can give him the rebuilding excuse in his 2nd season either.

I really don't understand why he has so many supporters within the fanbase.

His best UFA signing in 4 years was Eric Belanger (and was 3 years overdue) and his only decent trades have involved sending away NHL players for picks/prospects. It would be nice to see him make a move that actually improves the team.

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#26 Matt Henderson
June 06 2012, 03:12PM
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LoDog wrote:

Come on Arch, you can do better than that.

Doughty, Brown, Kopitar, Voynov, Quick, Bernier,Nolan, Clifford.

They got their best players through the draft, then made trades to compliment them.

Clifford has 3 Games played. Voynov is a good young player, but his 3 points seem a little underwhelming for a puck mover, no? Nolan averages 7 minutes a night. Bernier has played exactly as many minutes in the playoffs as I have.

Nonetheless, the point was that those teams prove that drafting alone isnt enough. So Tambellini best make up for his deficiencies in the alternative procurement department.

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#27 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 06 2012, 03:20PM
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No

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#28 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 06 2012, 03:22PM
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@ Arch

"If these Cup Finalists have proven anything it's that you dont need to make trades or attract UFAs to compete for a Stanley Cup. I feel better knowing that. The Kings Drafted Richards, Carter, Penner, Stoll, and Greene, Right?*

*Double Checks how each team was built*

Oh...wait..."

Bahahaha - one of my favorite conversations on here is when guys dig their heels in and swear up and down that the team HAS to be "built from within"

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#29 LoDog
June 06 2012, 03:26PM
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I certainly agree that drafting alone is not enough.

Just pointing out their 4 best players (the others are LA picks I could think of off the top of my head) were acquired through the draft.

Kinda like the Oilers now.

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#30 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 03:28PM
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Meow I dont see how Khabby was a bad signing. Maybe we over paid a bit but when was the last time cap was an issue here. He is the reason that Dubnyk has been able to develop at the right pace. In managements eyes he was supposed to be a solution in goal for 4 years.. he ended up being a solution to help groom Dubnyk into the starter at a decelerated pace. Take the money out of the equation and Khabby was a longer term version of what Roloson would have been... And arguably a better version...minus the drunken rampage of course.

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#32 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 03:32PM
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Meow am I crazy or was Eager brought in to muck it up? I don't see what expectations he didn't meet? To everyone thinking he was a bad signing... were you wanting him to contribute 82 points or where are you basing this opinion from?

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#34 geoilersgist
June 06 2012, 03:40PM
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No he is not. Come on Steve make me a believer starting July 1

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#35 Cody anderson
June 06 2012, 03:40PM
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The one move he made that I don't dislike was not a clear win.

That was Gilbert for Schultz. I think schultz adds some stability to our blueline and I am interested to see how he does next year.

Obviously it is easy to look and assume that Gilbert will get more points, be more effective on the powerplay and that as that happens even this move will be critisized.

That being said we needed another defender that you could count on that could grow with the team and help to keep the puck out of our net

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#36 Cody anderson
June 06 2012, 03:43PM
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Who would not have prefereed Rolie to Kahbi?

I probably would have let rolie go as well, but i would have signed someone younger, cheaper and for a shorter term.

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#37 Matt Henderson
June 06 2012, 03:44PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Dont get me wrong, I believe that you cant compete without drafting your own talent, but look at the Kings. Are they in the Finals without the names I listed? Doubtful.

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#38 DieHard
June 06 2012, 03:52PM
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book¡e wrote:

JW, I agree with much of what you write and my support for Tambellini is limited to this summer/early fall at the most.

I attribute a lot of moves that summer to the three headed management hydra that seemed to be in place and from interviews at the time and after, Tambellini has seemed to insinuate that he expressed reservations about some of the decisions. This was backed up by Katz who later announced (at the 'we are now planning to tank' stage) that Tambellini now had the authority to manage the team as he saw fit. An experienced GM would have come in with a great deal of confidence and would have told Lowe and Katz that if they want to run the team their way, then 'I quit', however, that was not Tambellini at the time. Now, its hard to really know what happened and I get that you think this is all too convoluted and that Tambellini was GM when Khabi was signed and therefore he is the guy who made the decision. That's fine, you could very well be correct. We really don't know.

So, basically, I judge Tambellini from the 'tank point' and the things that concern me the most is this last year where the guys that Tambellini brought in to be a part of the team for a few years (Belanger and Eager) have not worked out well. Now, one arguement is that the problem was with the coach, but that argument is somewhat weak and it is as likley that Belanger and Eager were bad bets and now the team is stuck with them. Unlike guys like Brule, Foster, and even Barker who were reclamation attempts that can be seen as 'no harm - no foul', Belanger and Eager are a concerning sign. There are questions as to whether Tambellini is able to 'win' trades for professional players

I agree with most of this. Belanger was brought in for face-offs and everyone thought it was great but should have been a 2 year not 3 year contract. Everyone thought Eager was a great signing for what everyone thought he would bring to the table. As for being able to win trades or even make trades, it is only now that we actually have players in the system that other teams would want. These next few years are really critical for Tambellini's career. If we did make a switch does that mean a new plan would be made or would the new GM be told what to do?

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#39 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 06 2012, 03:57PM
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@ Arch

Exactly, you aquire talent any and everyway possible.

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#40 Cobalt
June 06 2012, 04:04PM
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@Jonathan Willis

And what is it that you know about each of the guys you mentioned that would make them better options? That Gorton was responsible for Boston's success that you suggest in your linked article is a slight reach. Everyone in the league took a run at Chara (including the oilers). Rask didn't do anything but sit on the bench for the cup run and still hasn't done anything of significance in the NHL. Lucic and Marchand are both good players, but if you're pointing to the drafting of those players as reason to believe Gorton would be an upgrade on Tambo, I'd suggest you're doing so with only a sliver of information.

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#41 DLS
June 06 2012, 04:06PM
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I hate this extention and I haven't even been following the Oilers in detail for very long. I'm not sure what Tambi is thinking signing players 35 years old to 3 and four year contracts. On top of these horrible signing is his inaction when clearly the Oilers need help. He has said that he was going out and getting the team two NHL defenseman. Lets see if he carries through, but my money says he fails miserably. Several other areas he needs to improve in, such as goal, but there won't be anything there. The Oil's lone improvement this year will be the #1 draft pick, hopefully he doesn't screw that up.

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#42 vetinari
June 06 2012, 04:08PM
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No. Next question please...

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#43 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 04:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

You don't see how it was a bad signing? Seriously?

Year One: Injured.

Year Two: Terrible.

Year Three: Good for nine games, then terrible.

It was a bad contract from the moment it was inked, and the results confirm it.

As for Dubnyk's development... if anything, Khabby's presence this season (and Renney's reliance on him) kept Dubnyk from playing as frequently as he should have.

Meow as a stats guy I would expect that you would analyze the team in front of him and compare that to his stats and analyze what teams he was played against as compared to Dubnyk etc etc etc. But instead you have your biased opinion that lends you to the average fan that doesnt see anything but the negatives and over simplifies things so he can makes something look worse than it is.

I can play along..

Year one: Injury-could have happened to anyone, all players have injuries.. including the elder Roloson option. You still have not stated a free agent goalie who worked out better that year so Roloson would have been the other choice. If we drafted Sequin would T-Hall have a gigantic gash on his head?

Year two: Terrible(decent) on a Terrible team. What would have made the defense worse this year?

Year three: Spectacular for nine games then played decent on a team destined to finish in the bottom.

As for Dubnyk... Maybe this was one of those tough decisions Renney was talking about where he made a choice for the future instead of for the now. There is a reason that Dubnyk is being eased in rather than thrown to the wolves. Should he have played half the games?... ohhh just wait... he did.

A Starting goalie 60-70 games Dubnyk started 42 games and officially played in 47 games.

I am assuming next year he will probably be in the high 50's maybe even the 60's.

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#44 Ducey
June 06 2012, 04:26PM
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I guess you will have to wait another year or two before they appoint you as GM, Willis.

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#45 oldhippy
June 06 2012, 04:40PM
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Belanger signing would have been outstanding, if his numbers were the same as his numbers in Phoenix. His career shooting% went from 10.5 to less than 3.5. Zone starts? I challenge this as a bad signing. If Belanger can continue his faceoff prowess, and mentor Nuge and Gagner in this regard, this signing should be considered a success. Especially if his numbers return to his career average. Hemskey would have been signed as a UFA for the same or more, considering the lack of scoring in the UFA pool available this off season. Whether by design or incompetence, we have way more prospects than we had 4 years ago. We have become much younger and with more talent. We moved a lot of past their prime, veterans. We have building blocks. The team that Tambo inherited had no bargaining power, and no ability to attract free agents. We only have to look 270km south to see what continuing to chase free agents gets you. With the addition of Yakupov,Hall, Eberle, and RNH, we now have players that free agents will want to join. We also have the bargaining chips we will need to acquire support players in trades. We have prospects and a decent farm team. Ideally, Tambellini's contract should have been extended one year at this point last year. If we still suck at the end of next season, I will stop defending Tambellini. Based on what he inherited and where we are now, I believe he has earned one more year of patience.

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#46 RexLibris
June 06 2012, 05:05PM
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When I think of Tambellini's becoming GM back in 2009 I am reminded of the term "kludge". An imperfect and ad hoc solution to a problem.

Tambellini served a purpose when he was hired. Staying on with Lowe was not going to fly and hiring someone who, by many accounts at the time, was considered to be a decent hiring.

The problem with a kludge is that when the details of the problem/environment change it can go from being a temporary solution to a fundamental problem.

In this way I believe that while Tambellini has his strengths and has done some good things for this organization, the time has actually come for a new person in this role.

I'm one of the many curious about term. Ideally, I would like to see Tambellini moved in a year's time to oversee an area where he has had decent success (AHL team development) and a new person brought in. A GM candidate like Bob Green of the Oil Kings comes to mind. He's inexperienced at the GM level but has shown an aptitude in building a team in the exact same fashion that I think the Oilers would like to puruse, through the draft and small, complementary trades.

Anyway, at least I can sleep soundly knowing that we don't have Pierre Gauthier or Jay Feaster at the helm.

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#47 voom04
June 06 2012, 05:06PM
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just wondering, anyone know who ST drafted in the 2nd,3rd,4th,5th rounds the last 2yrs, would this not be a telltale sign of his work, I would think getting the top pick in every round should net u something?

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#48 TwoSkidoos
June 06 2012, 05:19PM
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Belangers signing a good one!? Good grief, he was atrocious.

ST isn't the guy for this club in my mind, he's terrible at communicating, is not classy in the slightest, and aside from dumping contracts hasn't made a decent trade or free agent signing.

Anyone could have drafted Hall and RNH, he really deserves no credit there. It's sheer luck that he's drafting first again, it isn't in any way, shape or form a function of ST - save for his suckiness as a GM.

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#49 Clarkenstein
June 06 2012, 05:30PM
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Suggesting Tambellini shouldn't be renewed is basically like saying you want to fire the puppet not the puppeteer. He's simply Lowe's puppet. He can't take a crap without running it by Lowe and everybody knows it. Every dictator needs a yes man and Lowe is keeping his. The whole thing makes me sick.

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#50 Bucknuck
June 06 2012, 05:32PM
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My biggest concern is that the team will do just well enough to keep him on for the long term, but not win anything. Hopefully Katz has a fuse and it's lit.

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