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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#51 Jasmine
June 06 2012, 05:53PM
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Cody anderson wrote:

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.

If Rolie had stayed, Dubnyk would have developed as he did. Rolie did not like it when he had to share goal.

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#52 Milli
June 06 2012, 05:54PM
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I am mixed on him. He does not inspire confidence. If you look at the Khabby signing, well, Rolli wanted 2 years but was deemed to old???? Compared to 4 years for Khabby? But maybe that was a plan to Fall for Hall???? I dunno, real mixed bag....This next year will tell.

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#53 Ontarioil
June 06 2012, 05:58PM
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I'm as much of a tambo hater as the next guy but if we're begrudgingly talking about his successes getting Ryan Jones on waivers was a nice move, that's obviously coming from the pro scouting department but he has to sign off on that...

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#54 Jesse
June 06 2012, 06:00PM
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Brownlee loves the word meow wrote:

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.

Khabibulin was "decent" in 11-12? What were you watching? From Christmas to the end of March Khabibulin had 1W -11L-4OL .881 SV% 3.74GA. That is not decent. That is probably the worst goaltending in the NHL for goalies who have played over 20 games.

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#55 Jasmine
June 06 2012, 06:07PM
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@TwoSkidoos

Except Slats wouldn't have drafted those 2 players. He would drafted someone ranked lower. See Kelly over Doan.

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#56 DSF
June 06 2012, 06:07PM
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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.

Speak for yourself.

At least one of us thought Lombardi was doing a great job.

And watch out for that Tallon guy.

He's next.

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#57 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 06:09PM
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Jesse wrote:

Khabibulin was "decent" in 11-12? What were you watching? From Christmas to the end of March Khabibulin had 1W -11L-4OL .881 SV% 3.74GA. That is not decent. That is probably the worst goaltending in the NHL for goalies who have played over 20 games.

Meow and those stats could be a lot worse if he was terrible. decent means he stopped some pucks. That might have been the worst defensive team in the history of the NHL. He doesnt have those numbers if he is on a team that can at least compete. We had last place locked up almost the entire year, it wasnt even close. I am not saying he played great, but common give your head a shake, those are numbers you should expect on the worst team in the league.

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#58 Westcoastoil
June 06 2012, 06:11PM
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One wonders if Tamby and the Oilers brass would have a higher value in public opinion if their communication was able to improve to even mediocre status. Their ability to bungle and blunder simple things (end of the season walk off with no thanks to the fans for eg.) seems never ending.

You have to give him + marks for rebuilding the farm, which was a huge mess and is obviously very important, and he's made a few good moves (shedding Staios/Moreau, grabbing Jones).

Belanger was a black hole offensively, but did help a ton on the dot and provide some heavy lifting aid which helped Horc and the kids. The 3 years lowered his cap hit and he can always be traded or buried. Eager was the player he was before he arrived. Jones off waivers was good. Hemsky resigning also good.

The inaction on the trade front and poo poo platter of Khabby's contract, Foster, O'Sullivan, etc., etc. - the pro procurement is the biggest black mark. It would be nice to see him make a trade/signing that is an obvious win. We have been given no evidence to think this is a possibility.

Interesting that in all the house cleaning right down to the trainers, other than the addition of Sutter in 2011, the rest of the pro scouts - to date maybe the org's biggest weakness - have stayed the same since 2009.

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#59 TwoSkidoos
June 06 2012, 06:16PM
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Their stats aren't that far off of each other - Kelly vs. Doan in their junior careers. Especially when you're picking outside the top 2 or 3 it's really a crap shoot.

Slats is a weird dude though, I won't contest that.

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#60 BackEastOiler
June 06 2012, 06:22PM
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The Khabi signing was a complete and total success: it guaranteed the Oilers high draft picks for at least four years. It also provided plausible deniability about what exactly was going on, because at 3.75 million per season he had to be the Starter and past successes basically proved that the defensive corps was to blame. IMO the Khabi signing was day one of the rebuild ...

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#61 GVBlackhawk
June 06 2012, 06:34PM
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@Brownlee loves the word meow

Those stats could have been a lot worse....if the Oilers used a Shooter Tutor. Even then it would be debatable. Seriously though, are you Khabbi's drinking buddy? He's brutal -- take off the blinders. Should you expect those numbers on the worst team in the league? Or are those numbers the reason why they are one of the worst in the league? Hmmmm.

Btw, the Blue Jackets had last place locked up all year, not the Oilers.

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#62 Reality Check to the head
June 06 2012, 06:41PM
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@ G Money

Great point, hopefully people take the time to read this comment.

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#63 Copperblueandwhite
June 06 2012, 06:48PM
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Is Steve Tambellini the right man to craft Edmonton’s next Stanley Cup Champion?

NO

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#64 Harvey X.
June 06 2012, 07:24PM
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The guy does nothing to convey confidence or clear direction. Only arrogance and indecision can be listed as his trademarks. His quote at the draft lottery "if you're here you may as well win it" was typical of his arrogance. Maybe he should use that attitude when building this team!!!

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#65 Jesse
June 06 2012, 07:27PM
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Brownlee loves the word meow wrote:

Meow and those stats could be a lot worse if he was terrible. decent means he stopped some pucks. That might have been the worst defensive team in the history of the NHL. He doesnt have those numbers if he is on a team that can at least compete. We had last place locked up almost the entire year, it wasnt even close. I am not saying he played great, but common give your head a shake, those are numbers you should expect on the worst team in the league.

Give your own head a shake. Those stats *mean* he's terrible.

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#66 AGUY
June 06 2012, 07:37PM
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For the same reasons I was a little disappointed Renney was released, I feel Tambellini should stay. He started something, and he should finish it. There is clearly an agenda here that has gone against winning hockey games at times. Those days, especially with Yakupov, should be just about over now. So with intentional losing now a part of the past, lets finally see what Tambo and Oil can do. Here is a basic idea of how I see the rebuild:

1. Dump contracts, trade players for prospects. 2. Lose badly. Intentionally. Attain high draft picks 3. Allow the youthful core to develop for a while until highly competitive. This phase is the most important. Tambi has to know when the exact right time is to say, ok, this is it, all the youthful assets are here and able. Which ends by: 4. Building around the core, via UFA and careful trades. 5. We become Champs.

^^^All hypothetical.

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#67 David S
June 06 2012, 07:46PM
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I have a sneaky feeling Jonathan's "Case for" is pretty much on the mark. You don't re-up a guy unless he's successfully executed your strategy. It wouldn't surprise me if Tambellini got a Ferrari bonus after this year.

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#68 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 06 2012, 07:51PM
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That Presidents Choice brand of blueliners the Devils wheeled out for these finals, sure looks overwhelmed by the Kings.

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#69 Pucker
June 06 2012, 08:00PM
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Perhaps his extension is for 7 months. That would send a message.

Khabi was headscratcher for sure. I think it was in desperation to sign a 'name' at that time. After heatley, before the rebuild.

The other headscratcher for me was his proclamation at the beginning of the season to be playing meaningful games in March.

He did dump a lot of contracts and apprent attitudes. I think we're in a better position now than we were 3 years ago. Mr. Money's #41 makes a lot of sense, but it's time to show a marked improvement lottery finishes. Failure to even be close to playing meaningful games in March should put a noose around his neck.

A couple new faces. A new coach. Maybe we'll get some enjoyment next season. It's time to do something.

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#70 TigerUnderGlass
June 06 2012, 08:28PM
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Brownlee loves the word meow wrote:

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.

Dear Lord. Are we really dealing with this sort of argument now?

The comparisons to Dubnyk have been made repeatedly and Khabibulin has consistently been the worse goaltender.

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#71 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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#72 I am the Liquor
June 06 2012, 08:48PM
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DSF wrote:

Speak for yourself.

At least one of us thought Lombardi was doing a great job.

And watch out for that Tallon guy.

He's next.

I thought Burke was next?

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#73 vetinari
June 06 2012, 08:53PM
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Accountability. I keep hearing about accountability being the watchword from top to bottom of the Oilers' organization. Yet, let's look at Tambellini's record over the last three seasons:

He's going to be on his fourth coach in three years.

His teams's average finish over the last three years is 29.67 out of 30.

His team's record the last three years is 84-132-30 out of 246 games. Out of a potential 492 points during those three seasons, the Oilers earned 198 points for a league worst average of .402 points per game. This, in an era of potential three point games which skews the average points per game UP. Comparing wins to loses + overtime loses, I am three times more likely to see a loss than an Oilers win.

He's been at the centre of at least three huge management PR controversies: the Souray situation; the Heatley blowoff (with Lowe); and the Smyth/Fraser trade which ticked off LA.

He signed Brule to a $1.85M/year contract for two years. Sent him down. Lost him on waivers and paid half his salary this past year to play for Phoenix.

In goal: Khabibulin was our man. Then also JDD. Then Khabibulin again, but now with DD. Sticks to Khabibulin as his projected starter for 2012-13.

Contracts that were a bust on his watch: aside from Brule (cap hit/waiver claim), Souray (cap hit/buyout), Nilsson (cap hit/buyout) Sullivan and Khabibulin, no value from Barker, Foster, and Belanger.

General management issues: blowing the Paajarvi recall. Trading Brodziak for a 4th and 5th rounder. Getting nothing for Schremp, a former first rounder. Turning a former first rounder named Cogliano into a second rounder from the Ducks. Oh yeah, and turning a former first rounder named Riley Nash into a second rounder from the Hurricanes.

Problems with young players: Omark, Riley Nash and Schremp.

Yeah. Tambi's a keeper alright. Or a Flames plant. You decide.

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#74 DSF
June 06 2012, 08:59PM
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I am the Liquor wrote:

I thought Burke was next?

Burke already has a cup.

But he'll win another one before Bumbellini ever does.

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#75 The Soup Fascist
June 06 2012, 09:09PM
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I am the Liquor wrote:

I thought Burke was next?

In fairness to DSF he did sing the praises of Lombardi and said that the Kings were a model franchise before the playoffs began. I scoffed and I admit I was wrong.

I doff my chapeau sir. You are the "Rainman of Oilersnation".

"Father says I am an excellent driver"

"Tallon is a Genius. A genius"

"10 minutes to Wapner. The Kings are a model franchise"

"A six. The next card is a six"

Well done DSF. You are a savant.

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#76 I am the Liquor
June 06 2012, 09:56PM
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DSF wrote:

Burke already has a cup.

But he'll win another one before Bumbellini ever does.

Youve been saying the Leafs will make the playoffs for three years now.

Arent you even a little bit embarrassed?

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#77 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 10:05PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Those stats could have been a lot worse....if the Oilers used a Shooter Tutor. Even then it would be debatable. Seriously though, are you Khabbi's drinking buddy? He's brutal -- take off the blinders. Should you expect those numbers on the worst team in the league? Or are those numbers the reason why they are one of the worst in the league? Hmmmm.

Btw, the Blue Jackets had last place locked up all year, not the Oilers.

Meow before you comment maybe do some reading... This comment wasnt based on this year... It was based on the year prior. When the oilers had the worst record. If you look at his stats this year they prove you wrong about him being "brutal". Here is a quick comparison when we finished 2nd last since you obviously want to talk about it instead.

Fleury - .913 - 2.43GA Khabby - .910 - 2.65 Mason - .894 - 3.39

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#82 DSF
June 06 2012, 10:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It is worth noting that Tambellini's approach to the team the last few years has given the Oilers flexibility; since Khabibulin, the team hasn't inked an albatross contract.

Paying Hemsky $5M X 2 while piddling on Ryan Smyth who outperformed Hemsky by a wide margin tells you pretty much all you need to know about Tambellini.

The Hemsky contract is acceptable because it could have been so much much worse...but that doesn't make it right.

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#83 DSF
June 06 2012, 10:51PM
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I am the Liquor wrote:

Youve been saying the Leafs will make the playoffs for three years now.

Arent you even a little bit embarrassed?

Actually no I haven't.

I've been saying Burke needs a #1C and goaltending.

If he gets both...watch out.

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#85 The Soup Fascist
June 06 2012, 11:09PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Agree 100% on Hemsky. ST made the best of a bad situation. If Hemsky stays healthy and does not get traded (a couple of big ifs) could see a comeback year.

Smyth is tough. I respect his work ethic and commitment of the past. The bigger issue than a quarter mil for me is if he will accept and succeed in a 3rd / 4th line role or if he will sulk and become a locker room lawyer. Jury is still out.

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#86 DSF
June 06 2012, 11:12PM
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Why couldn't Tambellini replace a 36 point player (-18) on the free agent market for less that $5M over two years?

That's pretty much a no brainer.

Considering Hemsky is likely going to be a third line, 2 unit PP player going forward, it's a massive waste of money.

I agree on Smyth...and Barker.

There are many ways to structure a contract to make that work.

Pissing on Smyth is just another embarrassment for the organization

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#87 Oiler Al
June 06 2012, 11:15PM
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Hemsky is not playing like a $5mil. player. But seeing has how Oiler cant attract decent/in deamnd UFA's they over pay Hemsky instead. Not saying he's worth the money, but he had to have a raise at his tenure in the NHL.Otherwise, it would have been cant attract UFA's and can't keep them either.By signing Hemsky, something tells me that Tambelini has not intention of signging Yarkapov, unless Hemsky becomes trade bait for a d-man or big center.

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#89 The Soup Fascist
June 06 2012, 11:34PM
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@DSF

Who is this 36 point player you speak of?

Ales Hemsky has scored at a .77 ppg game clip over his career and averages 62 games per year including the fabled 22 game season of 09-10.

Assuming 0.77 ppg and a realistic 65 game season we are looking at a 50 point player - accounting for his injuries. Certainly, not a bargain but a solid signing.

To call Hemsky a 36 point player after a single year where he is coming off a major injury is a tad disingenuous - no?

Edit: Man - I never agree with Willis now I am riding on his coattails. Ignore my offering - Willis said the same thing, but he said it first.

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#90 DSF
June 06 2012, 11:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Tell you what: you let me know, right now, which free agent winger Tambellini can sign that would be better than Hemsky next year.

Hemsky's been close to a point-per-game guy over his whole post-lockout career; defining him solely by his most recent season undersells his abilities significantly.

Hemsky has averaged 47 points per season over the past 5 seasons.

A quick check of NHL stats would seem to indicate 35 RW who scored more than that last season.

Milan Hejduk just signed a one year contract for $2M.

Not much of a downgrade for $3m a year.

If you are playing the lame old song "who could Tambellini sign"? I can't help you.

I'm not the GM, Tambellini is.

Gillis was able to find Chris Higgins for $1.9M and he's a better all around player than Hemsky.

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#92 The Soup Fascist
June 06 2012, 11:48PM
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Hejduk is 36 years old. Hemsky is 28 (29 in August). No comparison.

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#93 Pouzar99
June 07 2012, 02:22AM
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You don't really make the case against Namby Tamby, Jonathan, which doesn't necessarily mean that it can't be made. Khabi was a poor signing but everybody makes bad signings. Besides it was made when he was brought in to 'win now,' which was Mission Impossible. I would say the biggest mark against ST is not shaking up the Oilers pro scouting stff who are as bad as the Amateur scouting is good, unless ST is ignoring their advice and winging it, which I a doubt. Assumung he is following their advice, there are the guys who were impressed with Teubert, and recommended Eager and Barker. They might have got a little unlucky with Belanger and a little lucky with Sutton but last year's signings get a D, if you assume they were designed to succeed. I'm not sure. My fear is that Tamby is about to make the big, big mistake and draft Murray over Yakupov to fill the holes on defence, possibly to cover his ass even though Yakupov would give the Oilers a core 4 forwards to die for. Murray is clearly not as good, looks more a solid, steady eddy second pairing guy, not even as good a prospect as Justin Schultz. The Oilers should definitely offer the Ducks a conditional pick for the early negotiating rights to JS, depending on whether they can sign him and I dare say it is possible to get some hint from the Shultz camp about whether that would be a wasted mission. With or without Schultz they need to sign a second pairing free agent D man, although I have little faith in the pro scouts to get this one right. I am not wholly convinced by ST but I think both he and Renney deserved extentions, although most of the credit goes to the amateur scouting staff.

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#94 Oiler Al
June 07 2012, 05:12AM
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UFA choice can be a D-Man, which oilers dearly need. ... Garrison, Jackman, Wideman, Salvadore. How about Parise, or an old fashion trade with Pitts for Staal... Tambelinni is not creative and inovative and is not a big game thinker in my books.My dog picked the Lotto picks. so leave that out of giving him stars on those pages. He has not made one big splash trade or UFA singing yet. Dont need Hemsky if your going after Yapakov. He's useless on the third line, because his checking is not there.

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#95 BigE91
June 07 2012, 08:08AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Further on Khabibulin:

This is a list of every active goalie with more than 50 GP since Khabibulin signed with Edmonton.

There are 58 players on the list. Khabibulin is tied for 52nd in save percentage, with Curtis McElhinney and Jeff Deslauriers. Just four guys have a worse save percentage: Conklin, Gustavsson, Mason and Auld. among the players ahead of him are Andrew Raycroft, Al Montoya and Peter Budaj.

Devan Dubnyk, breaking into the NHL in the same time period and with the same team, ranks 20 spots higher, tied with Martin Brodeur and Corey Crawford.

There's no case that Khabibulin has been anything but terrible for the Oilers.

Deva

The saddest part of that comment is that 3 of the bottom 8 were Oilers at one time or another. There was a time when this team consistently could boastof having a good goaltender. Here's to hoping Dubnyk can be that guy for them again.

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#96 Eulers
June 07 2012, 08:11AM
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I really hoped the column was going to be a one word answer: "NO"!!!!

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#97 bdiddy18
June 07 2012, 10:05AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Tambellini was in a tough spot with Hemsky - he can't really replace him this summer in free agency and in a terrible slump he wasn't going to get value at the deadline. I thought the contract was a good decision from an asset management perspective.

I'm very curious to see what happens with Smyth. If he walks and signs for reasonable dollars elsewhere it's going to reflect badly on management.

On the other hand, I'm continually taken aback by people who have no problem forking over ridiculous money to Cam Barker ('it's a one year deal, who cares!') but demand the Oilers fight tooth and nail for the last penny on Smyth ('if he wants a cent more than $2.0MM, to hell with him!'). I'm content with an overpay for Smyth on a one-year term - particularly if he has a reasonable base salary with the overpay contingent on bonuses.

If Smyth signs elsewhere for any dollars - who cares??? The Oilers moved on when Smyth was traded to NYI and good thing he walked or we'd be talking about another mistake in KLO's contracts that hurt the team. The Oilers were not SEEKING smytyy's return - the player wanted to come back.

HE DOESN'T FIT IN THE PLANS! - Not in the top 6 and would rather have Haartikanen play LW on the third line than to watch him lose time in development so Smyty can have another year.

Having Smyth - bumped Paajarvi down and was demoted last year..he'd have the same effect this year to some other prospect.

Smyth has tugged on the hearts on Oiler fans..if Management makes another call - good on them to not do the popular thing and do the right thing!

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#98 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 07 2012, 10:20AM
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If Edmonton is going to give Horcoff 6 million this yr, as well as line Hemmers pockets with 5 million, one could make the argument why shouldn't Ryan Smyth be in that realm? Similar minutes played as well as offensive parallels.

I'm not saying Smyth is worth 5 mill for this coming season, it's just there's no consistency organization wise. Edmonton is all over the map confirming the issues/managerial incompetence at play here.

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#99 VMR
June 07 2012, 10:58AM
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I hate the Khabibulin signing as much or maybe more than anyone but I dont think it's all on Tambo. I see that as continuing the strategy KLowe had set out the previous few seasons with the RFA offer sheets, overpaying for the defensive liability that was Sheldon Souray, making the big offer for Nylander. The chase for Heatley falls under that tarp as well.

I agree that overpaying on contracts is a problem especially for middling players. It seems like they believe the Oilers cant get anyone unless they significantly overpay.

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#100 BILL
June 07 2012, 11:14AM
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For me the jury's still out on Stevie T but I really don't have faith that he is proactive or creative enough to do what needs to be done. JW, I agree totally with the your comparisons between NK & DD. It's DD all the way. As far as your arguements about Smytty...you're wrong!! Smyth doesn't want to be the player the Oilers need him to be...a leader, a mentor & for sure no more than a 3rd liner!! He was as bad as a forward as Bulin was as a goalie after Christmas!! The Hejduk comparisons should be with Smyth not Hemsky & I would take Hejduk over Smyth any day. For me...don't resign Smyth and let him walk!! It's up to you Mr. T. PS. Why the lack of interest in Alex Galchenyuk who would fill the team's ultimate need at centre??

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