TAMBELLINI TALKS TRADE AND MORE

Jason Gregor
March 05 2013 09:47AM

Yesterday the Oilers made a minor trade acquiring rugged winger Mike Brown from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2014 fourth round pick that will become a 2014 third rounder if the Oilers make the playoffs.

I spoke with Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini on my radio show yesterday about that move, but I also got his thoughts on the competitive nature of his team, Taylor Hall moving to centre, Justin Schultz and what is the culture of the Edmonton Oilers.

Gregor: There were rumors and my source that said you put in a waiver request for Aaron Volpatti last week, but obviously Washington claimed him first. Is that true? Have you been looking to add somebody with a little more grit, toughness to your lineup for awhile?

Tambellini: Ya, well first of all I’m not going to comment on Volpatti, he’s not our property. We normally don’t relay that information. With regards to Mike, yes, we’ve been looking for a player that obviously can bring that level of compete. People know his toughness. He’s a very willing combatant that sticks up for his team mates. He has very good speed, we like that part of it. When Ralph needs to ramp up our forecheck and needs the first forward to take some bodies, he’s able to do that. He also has, throughout his career, killed penalties. That just gives the option to Ralph to find different types of minutes for him. In the season, Jason, such a condensed season, managing energy is a very, very important aspect of managing your bench. If you have players that are only there for one specific reason, there are some games where you can get caught because you’re basically playing with ten or eleven forwards and that’s something we don’t want to do.
 
Gregor: Brown has essentially been a fourth line guy, I think he averaged eight or nine minutes last year in Toronto. It’s a lot harder to find a guy who can play that role at fifteen minutes. Is there any chance that Brown will get more of an opportunity to play more minutes in Edmonton? Or is he seen as a fourth line player only?
 
Tambellini: We’ll see. You never know. Historically, Mike has been in that spot where he’s played around ten minutes a night and good, good competitive, tough minutes. Like I said, it is nice to be able to see a guy like that be able to contribute to part of your penalty kill rotation. We’ll see where it goes, but we know what Mike delivers and he knows what he brings. I talked to him this morning and he’s really excited about coming to play with our club. He said he’s ready to do what he needs to do to be a part of the leadership group here to help this team go forward.
 
Gregor: Last week Tim Sestito was on waivers. You obviously elected not to put in a claim because Vancouver claimed after you. Today you gave up a draft pick. Do you think Brown’s a better overall player than Sestito?
 
Tambellini: We were looking for a player that could give us different looks and someone that’s competitive and someone that could kill penalties. Someone that we know is- he’s extremely fit. He’s got impeccable work habits off the ice and he’s fitting into our culture. We’re looking for someone like that. We’ve asked Toronto a couple times over the last year or so if they’d be interested in something like that and I totally understand why they didn’t want to let him go at that point. But they have some depth there right now and this gave us the opportunity to acquire something like that. It’s hard to find the people that can bring what they do best ever night and he seems to be able to do that.
 
 
Gregor: We’re almost at the halfway point. Your team’s been competitive most nights but 5-on-5 scoring has been a huge problem. How do you remain patient when you’re nearing the halfway point of the season and it is still not really rectifying itself? Is a major shake-up something you’ve talked about at all? Or do have to remain patient?
 
Tambellini: Well major shake-up? What are you suggesting?
 
Gregor: Have you looked at a trade? If you look at all the type of players you have in your top-nine they are essentially the same. If you could have a Mike Brown with the skill set of a legitimate top nine guy, would you look at adding that type of player?
 
Tambellini: If those types of players become available, I’m sure they’ll be of great value. If you can find the toughness and the ability to play in your top nine or top six great, but there are not a lot of those people around. But as far as scoring, the skill set of our core that makes up our top six right now, they’re young players that are extremely talented- we know that. There’s no hesitation of thought of them not being great players as they develop, but it’s hard. The league is hard to score in, you’ve got to go to hard areas every night and sometimes fatigue is an issue and sometimes it is just good players playing against other good players, trying to stop you. So it’s difficult.
 
But we know that eventually, Ryan and Jordan and them, they’ll get their goals, they’ll get their assists. We know that. We’re just trying to make sure that we work as hard as possible as a coaching staff and the way we use them, just to make sure that we can put them in the right spots, where they can take advantage of their skill. So there’s only so much as far as the level of top six people that maybe are available through a trade deadline like that, but those players are normally few and far between.
 
Gregor: Have you seen a difference in Sam Gagner’s game that makes you believes this will be the year he takes that his good start of twenty games up to thirty, forty, and maybe a full season, as far as being consistent?
 
Tambellini: I sure hope so. That was one of the things that we talked about with Sam, is that consistency. We spoke earlier of Mike Brown and what he does best is compete. But it’s hard to do that every night and it is hard to be - if you’re playing in our top six to deliver that every night. But that’s what the great players in the NHL do, more than not. They can bring it. I think Sam is maturing nicely. He’s had a real good start to the season. I like the way he’s competed on most nights and I think he’s headed in the right direction. I’m hoping that he can be that guy this year. We need both groups contributing.
 
 
Gregor: Taylor Hall admitted that if he was ever going to try centre, he’d want to do it from the start of the season. Have you guys ever had any serious conversations about a trying him there from the start of training camp and into the pre-season with Hall?
 
Tambellini: We’ve talked about that for sure. We actually talked about it, Jason, in Oklahoma City during the lockout and brought the idea up. He was just coming off of rehabbing his shoulder - six months of rehab- and he really just wanted to get back into a spot where he was comfortable and getting his timing and feeling all the things like that. And that was totally understandable from the coaches and management.

I think down the line, as Taylor gets more experience and time and he’s healthy, I can see a time where he’s being used and tried at spots like that because one, he’s been good enough on face-offs at this point and two, he’s an incredible skater so he can cover a lot of ground at ease. He’s learning to be disciplined in his own zone. So I think he’s going to end up being that guy where it doesn’t matter where you play him- you play him left wing, right wing, center- I think he’s going to give you the same game. He could give us a different look at center as we go along, I agree with that.
 
Gregor: I think it’s a lot harder than it looks to just make that transition. It takes a lot more work and a lot more mental toughness and focus in a game to know all your responsibilities as a center man. It’s not just saying, “Ok Taylor Hall, we’re going to play you at center and this will be easy.”
 
Tambellini: It’s a total different approach to the game- it really is. It’s so much easier for a center to go to the wing than a winger to go to center. Your responsibilities, especially in your own zone, are one of support and you can never really turn the energy level down when the play is in the defensive zone. You’re normally always the second person in supporting the defenseman that’s chasing the puck. You’re always in position as an outlet pass.

At times, what’s really frustrating Jason, for your players that are offensive players like a Taylor Hall, is that the want to have chances every shift. They want to score every shift. They want to generate chances. But sometimes, as a center man, you may go for two or three shifts where there’s not one offensive chance because you have to be that person that’s a supportive defenseman, supports the play all over the ice and it may not happen. There are sometimes when a young player may lose patience and say, “I wanna go,” and boom it’s in your net. So it’s a real discipline.

You mentioned Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and I don’t know if I’ve seen a center man that age come in and be, not the top player in the league, but his habits in the defensive zone are impeccable. They really are. I’m not sure who was the most influential person in his life as far as his development as a hockey player, but his understanding of the defensive zone is outstanding.  
His offensive instincts and distribution of the puck are just elite. But what he does, what people don’t see, is how he manages- and he’s not even mature, as far as strength yet- how he manages himself in his own zone. It’s really impressive.
 
Gregor: I don’t like to make comparisons, but I look back to Pavel Datsyuk as a young player and just how dedicated he was in his defensive zone. Do you see any similarities at all in their games?
 
Tambellini: Oh I think so. The one thing that you see that stands out is, Pavel Datsyuk is not just a good offensive player, but he’s a competitive player. He is one of the best puck retrievers in the game right now. Those are habits that championship teams develop, that they’re excited to show their team mates that they will pay a price, as far as energy, to get the puck back.

I think Ryan; he’s going to have the chance to be viewed upon as one of those players that can do everything. I really believe that. I mean he’s such a young guy. Also I see a similarity in the way they both move the puck, the way they’re both committed to doing things right. There’s not cheat in their game at all. None. At times you wish Ryan would even be a little more selfish when you’re in the offensive situation. But he is a good example of how you wan to play two-hundred foot hockey.
 


Gregor: You mentioned competitive players. Competitive isn’t just running guys over, it is wanting to get the puck back if you lose it, it is stripping guys of the puck and sometimes it is separating the guy from a puck. When you look, overall, at your team, do you feel you have enough of these guys or are some of them still learning how to be competitive at the NHL level? Have they reached it yet?
 
Tambellini: No, we haven’t reached that yet. We’ve seen spurts, like energy in the Dallas game, I thought the compete level in the Chicago game was solid. You know this road trip, this is a test. Nine games in seventeen days, whatever the days are, it’s a test. The mature teams can find a lot of ways to bring it every night. It’s not just the offensive players that are looked upon for eighteen to twenty minutes.
 
It’s also the guys that are playing nine to eleven minutes. Those people also, they have to bring it every night. Just because they’re playing nine or eleven minutes, they better deliver what they do best every night. Every night. I know it is a lot of work for a physical player or a skilled player, but that’s what this how you need to play at this level.

All parts of this machine have to be working and contributing. If you have a weak area, you’re not going to win. That compete level is something that separates successful teams and players from average ones. I think and it’s not just the physical part, as you say, it is also the intensity and the attention and the determination that the good teams possess; they’re excited to get the puck back from you too.
 
Gregor: Give me your assessment of Justin Schultz twenty games into his NHL career.
 
Tambellini: Ya, well when I look at him, it is twenty games into his NHL career, but he’s also played half the season in the American League so I have to take that into account. I think there has been a couple times where maybe fatigue became an issue. He got banged up a little bit. He seems to be coming back out of it now. But, I mean, when you look at that age of a defenceman, playing the way he does and the minutes he does, how can you not be impressed?

I mean, he has an elite hockey mind. He’s just so relaxed. I think of the last time here in Columbus, just remembering what he did on a half breakaway and he stripped the puck off the offensive player, turned in one motion, and threw it up to the blue line on the tape. Play over. You don’t see those plays too often, never mind from a first year player. I’m always impressed when I see him. I love that he’s just so relaxed out there. He’s going to play big minutes for a long time in this league.
 
Gregor: With Mike Brown coming in did you and Ralph Krueger talk about it beforehand.  Obviously people look and say, “Well if he comes in, somebody has to come out of the line up.” Did you and Ralph have that discussion first to ensure that the coach feels that the guy you’re going to bring in is somebody that he feels will replace somebody in this current roster?
 
Tambellini: Well, if you’re not working closely with your head coach, you’re looking for issues to happen quite quickly that are going to be one of dysfunction. So absolutely we think as a group. Our pro scouts and scouts will target areas where we think we need to get improvement and sometimes you can make a trade where it significantly changes your hockey club and that’s usually a bigger deal. Other times, you’ve got five to ten percent of a certain area where you continually try to upgrade. So yes, absolutely, you speak to your coach and we know that eventually when we’re a healthy team- and I hope to see a healthy team here soon- we’ve got to make changes because there are not enough roster spots for the people that are here.

Gregor: You had mentioned early that Brown fits into the culture of your team. Can you define what the culture of the Edmonton Oilers is right now?
 
Tambellini: Well, you want to see the championship type of principles. You look at our hockey club and just think of what this looked like, say, four years ago and what this looks like now and you see people that are just hungry to play the game. They might not have it every night, but they love the game. They totally respect what Ralph is trying to do, with their on ice and off ice approach to the game.

It’s healthy, they care a lot, they want to win and they expect to win. They expect to get in the playoffs. They’re not happy when they play a game like last night. So there’s a heck of a lot more accountability in that dressing room than what I’ve seen in the past.
 
So I’m happy that it’s going in the right direction from that stand point and that’s what we have to build on; a consistency of principles that’s going to make this organization good for a long time. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • The GM agrees that the Oilers have yet to learn what it takes to be succesfull and win in the NHL on a nightly basis. Considering how young the core is that makes sense, but the organization needs to ensure that they learn what it takes over the next few seasons. Otherwise, despite all their skill and talent, they won't become a legitimate contender.
     
  • The hard questions for Tambellini and Lowe will be recognizing which players are learning what it takes to win and which ones just can't grasp it. It will be a fine line and difficult balancing act I presume.
     
  • It sounds like Taylor Hall preferred to focus on just playing this year rather than switching to center. I wonder if he will be open to the move next September?

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Will
March 05 2013, 12:32PM
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Wow, so did anyone else read about the lottery changing. Now all 14 bottom teams will have a shot at winning first overall. I mean, that's not incredibly significant for those bottom teams except having a crazy outside chance of picking number one overall. But the team with the lowest points only has a 25% chance of winning which is significantly less than the 48% chance of yester year.

No team can move down more than one spot so I guess a team that is tanking on purpose is guaranteed a second overall which is till worthy of building a team around.

However, for the Oilers, we really picked the right time to tank "on purpose".

Not to mention, how insane would it be to finish say 22 in the league or like 10th overall in the west, and win the lottery again.

Would anyone like to suggest what we do with that pick? I say either grab Jones as a Jones, Schultz, Klefbomb trio looks mighty good. Or trade down to three or four and pick up a big centre.

I know it's too early to be talking about picking high in the draft, but this is kind of big news.

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#52 DSF
March 05 2013, 12:32PM
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Will wrote:

How is anyone complaining about a fourth round pick for this guy. This is what you trade fourth round picks for.

Anyone who thinks we need to hold onto our pick so we can pluck out a Datsyuk is dreaming. Does anyone think our second round pick of last year would be better on the oilers than Brown?

Can anyone tell me the last great deep steal in a draft? Jamie Benn is about the only name I can think of. And i don't think he went in the fourth round.

2005:

Vladimir Sobotka 4th round Boston

Keith Yandle 4th round Phoenix

Niklas Hjalmarssom 4th round Chicago

Darren Helm 5th round Detroit

Nathan Gerbe 5th round Buffalo

Sergei Kostitsyn 7th round Montreal

2006:

James Reimer 4th round Toronto

Korbinian Holzer 4th round Toronto

Matt Belesky 4th round Anaheim

Viktor Stalberg 6th round Toronto

Derek Dorsett 7th round Columbus

Eric Condra 7th round Ottawa

2007:

Alec Martinez 4th round Los Angeles

Matt Frattin 4th round Toronto

Justin Falk 4th round Minnesota

Dwight King 4th round Los Angeles

Keith Aulie 4th round Toronto

Jamie Benn 5th round Dallas

Nick Bonino 6th round Anaheim

Carl Hagelin 6th round New York Rangers

Carl Gunnarsson 7th round Toronto

2008:

Braden Holtby 4th round Washington

Dale Weise 4th round New York Rangers

T.J. Brodie 4th round Calgary

Gustav Nyquist 4th round Detroit

Andrei Loktionov 5th round Los Angeles

Matt Martin 5th round Islanders

Jared Spurgeon 6th round Islanders

Zac Rinaldo 7th round Philadelphia

Jason Demers 7th round San Jose

Since it takes about 5 years to assess a draft and it normally takes a little longer for late round picks to get a shot, it remains to be seen who will emerge from the 2009-2012 drafts but it's pretty clear you can pick up some pretty good players in round 4 and below if you know what you're doing.

It would appear that Toronto's scouting staff is certainly among the best since I count 5 actual NHL players they picked up in round 4 or later.

In reviewing all that, it's pretty clear the Leafs just absolutely killed it in the 2006 draft:

Round 1 Jiri Tlusty

Round 2 Nikolai Kulemin

Round 3 No pick

Round 4 James Reimer

Round 4 Korbinian Holzer

Round 5 No pick

Round 6 Viktor Stalberg

Round 7 No pick.

So, with 5 picks every one of them is a legit NHL player. Pretty nice work.

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#53 Worried
March 05 2013, 12:32PM
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With all the talent Oilers have, I'm worried they will get too good too quickly and we won't be able to keep the team together.

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#54 DSF
March 05 2013, 12:38PM
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Worried wrote:

With all the talent Oilers have, I'm worried they will get too good too quickly and we won't be able to keep the team together.

The longer it takes, the more likely the Oilers won't be able to afford to keep them together.

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#55 David S
March 05 2013, 12:45PM
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bdiddy18 wrote:

"At times, what’s really frustrating Jason, for your players that are offensive players like a Taylor Hall, is that the want to have chances every shift. They want to score every shift. They want to generate chances. But sometimes, as a center man, you may go for two or three shifts where there’s not one offensive chance because you have to be that person that’s a supportive defenseman, supports the play all over the ice and it may not happen. There are sometimes when a young player may lose patience and say, “I wanna go,” and boom it’s in your net. So it’s a real discipline. "

BINGO BANGO BONGO ! this in a nutshell is the problem of teenagers running your squad. DISCIPLINE and MATURITY - trying way to hard to create everything on one shift, instead of treating the 60 mins like a the chess match it is..calculated attacks, strategic decisions .leading to overwhelming the opposition into a goal after 3 or 4 shifts of setting it up.

Don't care how much you want to dump on the GM - the organization has mandated the vision, and it requires patience and an understanding of what turning a team over to youth's does. The GM just carries that out. The organization has called for a rebuild through the draft which means a LONG and FRUSTRATING road that requires a GM to not be reactionary to the everyday events and go for the homerun, but to ensure that the pieces continue to develop while you handle the wrath of media/fans while the kids grow out of their pimples.

Precisely why a rebuild via draft is not what most GM's will attempt - its unpopular - it highlights how far behind you actually are when you attempt it - it takes so much time you can easily lose focus or succumb to the outside pressure to accelerate and you mess it all up. It takes leadership to stay the course and handle the storm and move onward.

The Owner has called for this type of rebuild - his executives just carry it out. An the owner has demonstrated he clearly has the patience to see it through despite all the headaches and grumblings.

Imagine if Katz was emotional and reactionary like he bungled the Arena deal for a while...we'd be screwed.

Yeah. Because buying contracts and trading for actual NHL players is something that just doesn't happen in the NHL anymore.

I'll keep reminding people that Montreal pretty much sucked the hind banana last year and now they're back on the horse. Funny how making "winning" your primary goal changes your timeframe. Think Montreal fans would EVER allow their team to suck so bad for so long?

Still, if we want to tank for draft picks that's OK I guess. But the team can't complain how their players have forgotten to be competitive when it was blatantly obvious there wasn't any of that desire in the front office. Now we have a team of guys who have learned that it's OK to lose. It takes a looooong time to break that habit.

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#56 Smokey
March 05 2013, 12:47PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Steve isn't stupid, he's just doing a difficult job.

How long will Oilers management keep pissing in the fans ears, then tell the fans with a straight face, it's only raining. The Oilers won't ever admit yet another lotto pick is their goal. Drafting high buys them time and masks the organizations difficiencies.

Shakes head in confusion over Steve isn't stupid comment.

I like Steve fine, but he's over his head. My Oiler mug is empty of Copper color koolaid, can you give me some of yours?

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#57 John F
March 05 2013, 12:54PM
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At what point will they (Lowe and Tambo) be accountable? How many years?

Where do you draw the line?

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#58 DSF
March 05 2013, 12:57PM
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Todd wrote:

So the Wild have to go 15-9-3 right? Equally as unlikely.

Personally I think the cut off will be at 55pts.

Well, if you think the cutoff will be 55 points, the Wild will only have to go 14-10-3 which I think is possible since they are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

I still think the Wild may pass the Canucks and take the NW division since the Canucks are not really playing all that well and Kesler is out of the lineup for another 5-6 weeks.

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#59 John
March 05 2013, 12:58PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Yea, I am one of the "band wagon, koolaid drinkers". Having a seat near the front of the wagon, I prefer the taste of the Koolaid being served rather than the "DSF" brand which leaves a quite a bitter taste, questionable bouquet and a certain murkiness.

Having announced which side of the fence I am on, I enjoyed Tambellinis interview. I was all for blowing up the Mac T / Klowe version of the Oilers and Tambellini has blowed it up good, in fact blowed it up real good.

If you go back to his press conference he outlined a plan to address the reality that the Oilers had a poor culture, poor prospects and even poorer prospects of attracting quality players wanting to make a commitment to the city and the Oilers.

Changing a team look, culture and future takes time and I like the direction we are going in. I liked the attitude of wanting to build this team with a culture based approach, not grabbing the first or every shinny bauble that comes along. I like the patient approach.

Are there questions? Sure, don't like some of the (actually most) of the contracts i.e. too much for Dubnyk, Jones, Eberle, which will impact choices that can be made when it counts which is not today. Team toughness, yes it needs to be addressed but you gather some assests first and then see what they are worth. Is Tambellini the guy to convert the assests? Who knows. I am not terribly excited to see another version of the MacT show, been there done that. Lets keep the course.

Not too long ago the Avalanche were up and coming, they came back down to earth. Last years heros, the Panthers, are back on the heap. Last years bums, the Ducks are one of the top teams. Whats the reality of the Canadians? Chicago built the core has had some success and now are reaping the reward again. We will see if our core is in place when and if Klefbom and Marincin make the move. Time will tell. All of this hints that building a sustainable winner is not as easy as it appears. We are certainly more than one move away.

I liked Tambellinis plan and it needs to keep moving forward; prudent, patient and long term.

The view from the front of the wagon looks pretty good. I am glad it is not too crowded.

Completely agree with this. You can also add Calgary to your list. They will be 9th or worse for years to come because they won't blow things up. If we had not sucked the last three years we would be in the same boat as Calgary just hoping that we might squeak in the playoffs (like we have for the 15 years after the glory days).

Do I like where the team is going? No. But they people that can't wait for the Lowe/MacT regime to take over are just plain stupid. Do you guys know who is next in line after MacT? Ryan Smyth. Hall probably after that. We should start trying to draft some players who will make great coaches or gms instead of looking for actual talent.

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#60 106 and 106
March 05 2013, 01:04PM
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Hey Jason,

In reading the script - and I think there's a consensus that Tambellini is not the most gifted of communicators - did he sound like he had any urgency to address the issues of the team?

He seemed to defer to the scouts and pro-scouts to evaluate and (maybe this is just how it comes off typed) wait for those who are injured to come back.

He puts out the vibe that it's fine to be where they are at.

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#61 Dave Lumley
March 05 2013, 01:05PM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

Next steps? Answer some questions and make some minor moves at the deadline.

Will the next high pick be the big centre or a Dman? Is Yak the real thing? Can Hall play centre? Is Paaravi a player? - top six or bottom six?

If Smid, Petry, J. Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin, 2013 pick(?), Fistric/Peckham (or add your personal favorite) make up the core of our future D, there is some assets to move. That answer is at least a year away.

Once you know, here are some assets that can be moved; Hemsky, Eberle, Yak (?), Gagner. Three out of these four can be converted into something that the team specifically needs.

Hopefully we are moving Whitney, Khabi, Belanger at this deadline and at some point Horcoff to upgrade our bottom six.

I think we have lots of opinions here but not a lot of answers. More time, more patience.

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#62 common sense
March 05 2013, 01:12PM
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The writing's on the wall for Tambellini. As the radio-ad of realtor Paranych proclaims: "Pack your bags"....

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#63 Lochenzo
March 05 2013, 01:23PM
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The Detroit Red Wings were immensely successful for years without a rough and tumble type player in their top 6. But they did have a guy that went to the net and won many a battle at the lip of the crease.

I mention this because while getting the next Lucic would be awesome, let's not put on the blinders and only look for that kind of player. The key is finding a guy that can maintain possession so that plays don't die with him, ala JF Jacques, but also a guy that will create time and space through a physical presense. For Holmstrom, his willpower and guts made him a physical presence. He didn't have to fight or drive guys through the boards to be effective in a top 3 role.

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#64 Will
March 05 2013, 01:25PM
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Fair enough on the late picks. I would definitely argue a few of those are not the greatest players.

I suppose I'm trying to say that a fourth rounder takes time to develop, and since the team needs to win now, is ti really that bad they are trading a fourth round pick to upgrade their bottom six?

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#65 Lochenzo
March 05 2013, 01:31PM
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I'm one of the optimists when it comes to Mike Brown. A 4th rd pick is a heavy price, but I won't complain if we give up a 3rd rd pick because that means the Oilers are in the playoffs. If Mike Brown can come in here and wear down the opponent's D, then it will be worth it. I don't think we've been hard enough on other teams. It's been years since we've had a 4th line that could spend a lot of time in the offensive zone and wear down the other team. It's right after those kind of shifts that you ice RNH, Hall and Eberle to take advantage of tired defenders. I don't know if Mike Brown will be enough to elevate the effectiveness of the 4th line, but it's worth a shot.

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#66 Sox and Oil
March 05 2013, 01:33PM
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Couple of random thought floating around my cavern.

The Mike Brown trade will be great if we don't get our hopes up. He's a dependable 4th liner who will keep the other team on their toes, we shouldn't expect him to play up the roster and even though he can PK hopefully he isn't a primary (or secondary) option.

Next idea floating around is Stephen Weiss. I'm sure everyones heard he's being shut down for surgery. Would sending a prospect (Plante or similar) and a late round pick for some early negotiation be something to consider? He'll probably command a large salary but maybe could be signed for short term (1 to 2 years) with a chance to prove he's healthy and get a even bigger FA contract in a couple years (similar to Hemsky)?

Looking at a team like LA, you never can have too many centers and Edmonton could sure use a bigger one.

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#67 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 01:33PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Next steps? Answer some questions and make some minor moves at the deadline.

Will the next high pick be the big centre or a Dman? Is Yak the real thing? Can Hall play centre? Is Paaravi a player? - top six or bottom six?

If Smid, Petry, J. Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin, 2013 pick(?), Fistric/Peckham (or add your personal favorite) make up the core of our future D, there is some assets to move. That answer is at least a year away.

Once you know, here are some assets that can be moved; Hemsky, Eberle, Yak (?), Gagner. Three out of these four can be converted into something that the team specifically needs.

Hopefully we are moving Whitney, Khabi, Belanger at this deadline and at some point Horcoff to upgrade our bottom six.

I think we have lots of opinions here but not a lot of answers. More time, more patience.

Next year's top pick is irrelevant. Not going to help this team win in the next 3 years. Draft a quality D or F, it doesn't matter.

The fact that you ask if Yak is the real thing makes me question your whole argument. Use your own advice here and be patient before asking this question.

Hall cannot play centre. Not nearly as effectively as he can play wing. Not an option.

Paajarvi may or may not be a player. Last game was a positive sign. But why does this matter again? If he's a player, he plays in top 6 or top 9 and brings speed. That's it.

The D you outlined is not good enough to be the core of the future. Need more quality defensemen.

Your questions are answered. Now let's do something to address this teams unwillingness to compete and overcome its mental obstacles.

I think you're right, Hemsky, Eberle, and Gagner, along with all the prospects are the Oilers bargaining chips. Tambellini doesn't need to wait for anything. Questions are answered.

Whitney, Khabi, and Belanger are not going to get us upgrades to our bottom 6. You're saying trade our bottom feeders to someone else for better bottom feeders. Doesn't work like that. These guys will get you likely the same thing Mike Brown got the Leafs - 4th round pick.

I agree with you that patience is needed to build a competitive team. It doesn't happen via a few trades. But this isn't patience. This is stagnation.

Management has been patient and got the team this far. It's time to roll up the sleeves, go to work, and make some tough decisions.

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#68 druds
March 05 2013, 01:51PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Props!

jk

This is a stupid comment!!! Unless my sarcasm detector is malfunctioning........

No its not sarcasm but since your one of the morons I could care less...have a nice day in the basement!

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#69 Dave Lumley
March 05 2013, 02:08PM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

I don't know about getting no good bottom six guys. In fact my feeling is, that is how you do get them. My name sake Dave Lumley came as part of a 4th round pick trade. So did Jason Smith. Kevin McClealand for Tom Roulston. Good trading can get you character bottom six guys and the odd home run like Smith. Especially at the deadline. Never say never.

If our 2013 pick is Jones? That makes a big difference, no pun intended.

You are right about Yak, need more time with him.

We have come so far, if you want to become the NYI north then pull a snow job. It's too early. I am not convinced about Hall not playing centre but who knows, need some time. Lowetides got a good look at Paajarvi, worth a read.

You are right about one thing though, the time is coming for moves, they don't have to be now but they have to be the right. Are we really that close to a legit playoff run or better to do it now? I for one would not want to be pulling the trigger.

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#70 ScottieA
March 05 2013, 02:11PM
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Sox and Oil wrote:

Couple of random thought floating around my cavern.

The Mike Brown trade will be great if we don't get our hopes up. He's a dependable 4th liner who will keep the other team on their toes, we shouldn't expect him to play up the roster and even though he can PK hopefully he isn't a primary (or secondary) option.

Next idea floating around is Stephen Weiss. I'm sure everyones heard he's being shut down for surgery. Would sending a prospect (Plante or similar) and a late round pick for some early negotiation be something to consider? He'll probably command a large salary but maybe could be signed for short term (1 to 2 years) with a chance to prove he's healthy and get a even bigger FA contract in a couple years (similar to Hemsky)?

Looking at a team like LA, you never can have too many centers and Edmonton could sure use a bigger one.

Where are you getting this dependable fourth liner stuff from? He's an offensive black hole, and the ice is tilted in the wrong direction when he is on the ice. When I saw that Krueger put together a line consisting of Eager-Smyth-Brown I was speechless at the stupidity.

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#71 Sox and Oil
March 05 2013, 02:20PM
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@ScottieA

Maybe I'm not expecting a 20 goal scorer on the 4th line. But a 4th of Eager-Belanger-Brown is fine by me.

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#72 ScottieA
March 05 2013, 02:29PM
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@Sox and Oil

So a line that can't score to save its life, and will almost always be pinned in its own end whenever it is on the ice? Yep, sounds like a great 4th line.

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#73 Sox and Oil
March 05 2013, 02:42PM
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ScottieA wrote:

So a line that can't score to save its life, and will almost always be pinned in its own end whenever it is on the ice? Yep, sounds like a great 4th line.

I'm not sure why you have such a issue with the 4th line, or how you know they always will be pinned in the defensive end of the rink. If your hockey team depends on the last line for regular scoring you may need to look at the top lines.

I'll take a player like Brown on my 4th line, wouldn't flirt with the idea of playing him in the top nine, PP or PK.

What do you expect of a fourth line anyway?

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#74 Jimmer
March 05 2013, 02:51PM
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Oiler History at Centre:

Good Move: Moving Messier to centre from the wing.

Bad Move: Should have made Hemmer make this team as a centre when he came into the league. Being a playmaker from the wing does not work.

Good Move (Hopefully!!!): Moving Hall to centre from the wing.

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#75 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 04:23PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:
Gregor: We’re almost at the halfway point. Your team’s been competitive most nights but 5-on-5 scoring has been a huge problem. How do you remain patient when you’re nearing the halfway point of the season and it is still not really rectifying itself? Is a major shake-up something you’ve talked about at all? Or do have to remain patient?

Tambellini: Well major shake-up? What are you suggesting?

Listening to the Radio during this part you could really get the sense that the thought of making a trade that involved a roster player was giving Tambellini a bad case of Vertigo.

I mean the mere suggestion that this team (4 points out of dead last in the NHL) needed a shakeup was mind boggling to him.

Exactly. He was stunned.

Shockingly, there is still some rhetoric from fans who continue to preach patience (towing the party line like a bunch of sheep). They say that the expectations are too high, too unreasonable.

Wake up people! Last year, before Christmas, Tambellini was interviewed during a HNIC game vs. the Sharks. He commented, and I quote, "We expect to make the playoffs this year". Result was 29th place.

The team should always expect to win, expect to make the playoffs, expect to do everything they possibly can to improve the club. The rest is just excuses for failure.

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#76 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 04:24PM
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The most telling part of this interview is the last question:

"Can you define what the culture of the Edmonton Oilers is right now?"

I heard the interview, and correct me if I am wrong, but Tambellini had no idea. He stumbled over his words and tried to pull a nothing answer out of his hind banana.

He has no idea what kind of culture he is building.

Clueless.

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#77 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 04:30PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Yea, I am one of the "band wagon, koolaid drinkers". Having a seat near the front of the wagon, I prefer the taste of the Koolaid being served rather than the "DSF" brand which leaves a quite a bitter taste, questionable bouquet and a certain murkiness.

Having announced which side of the fence I am on, I enjoyed Tambellinis interview. I was all for blowing up the Mac T / Klowe version of the Oilers and Tambellini has blowed it up good, in fact blowed it up real good.

If you go back to his press conference he outlined a plan to address the reality that the Oilers had a poor culture, poor prospects and even poorer prospects of attracting quality players wanting to make a commitment to the city and the Oilers.

Changing a team look, culture and future takes time and I like the direction we are going in. I liked the attitude of wanting to build this team with a culture based approach, not grabbing the first or every shinny bauble that comes along. I like the patient approach.

Are there questions? Sure, don't like some of the (actually most) of the contracts i.e. too much for Dubnyk, Jones, Eberle, which will impact choices that can be made when it counts which is not today. Team toughness, yes it needs to be addressed but you gather some assests first and then see what they are worth. Is Tambellini the guy to convert the assests? Who knows. I am not terribly excited to see another version of the MacT show, been there done that. Lets keep the course.

Not too long ago the Avalanche were up and coming, they came back down to earth. Last years heros, the Panthers, are back on the heap. Last years bums, the Ducks are one of the top teams. Whats the reality of the Canadians? Chicago built the core has had some success and now are reaping the reward again. We will see if our core is in place when and if Klefbom and Marincin make the move. Time will tell. All of this hints that building a sustainable winner is not as easy as it appears. We are certainly more than one move away.

I liked Tambellinis plan and it needs to keep moving forward; prudent, patient and long term.

The view from the front of the wagon looks pretty good. I am glad it is not too crowded.

Dave, the blinders are for the horse, not the people in the wagon. Please take them off.

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#78 Old Retired Guy
March 05 2013, 04:32PM
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Jason,

When Tambellini was resigned, was the term of his new contract ever made public? Has it ever leaked out?

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#79 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 04:32PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:
Gregor: We’re almost at the halfway point. Your team’s been competitive most nights but 5-on-5 scoring has been a huge problem. How do you remain patient when you’re nearing the halfway point of the season and it is still not really rectifying itself? Is a major shake-up something you’ve talked about at all? Or do have to remain patient?

Tambellini: Well major shake-up? What are you suggesting?

Listening to the Radio during this part you could really get the sense that the thought of making a trade that involved a roster player was giving Tambellini a bad case of Vertigo.

I mean the mere suggestion that this team (4 points out of dead last in the NHL) needed a shakeup was mind boggling to him.

lol!

ST:"Major Shakeup? What are you suggesting?"

ST:"No, really... what are you suggesting, because I have no idea what to do."

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#80 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 04:35PM
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druds wrote:

No its not sarcasm but since your one of the morons I could care less...have a nice day in the basement!

lol

"your one of the morons"

*whistles a tune and walks away*

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#81 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 04:35PM
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DSF wrote:

2005:

Vladimir Sobotka 4th round Boston

Keith Yandle 4th round Phoenix

Niklas Hjalmarssom 4th round Chicago

Darren Helm 5th round Detroit

Nathan Gerbe 5th round Buffalo

Sergei Kostitsyn 7th round Montreal

2006:

James Reimer 4th round Toronto

Korbinian Holzer 4th round Toronto

Matt Belesky 4th round Anaheim

Viktor Stalberg 6th round Toronto

Derek Dorsett 7th round Columbus

Eric Condra 7th round Ottawa

2007:

Alec Martinez 4th round Los Angeles

Matt Frattin 4th round Toronto

Justin Falk 4th round Minnesota

Dwight King 4th round Los Angeles

Keith Aulie 4th round Toronto

Jamie Benn 5th round Dallas

Nick Bonino 6th round Anaheim

Carl Hagelin 6th round New York Rangers

Carl Gunnarsson 7th round Toronto

2008:

Braden Holtby 4th round Washington

Dale Weise 4th round New York Rangers

T.J. Brodie 4th round Calgary

Gustav Nyquist 4th round Detroit

Andrei Loktionov 5th round Los Angeles

Matt Martin 5th round Islanders

Jared Spurgeon 6th round Islanders

Zac Rinaldo 7th round Philadelphia

Jason Demers 7th round San Jose

Since it takes about 5 years to assess a draft and it normally takes a little longer for late round picks to get a shot, it remains to be seen who will emerge from the 2009-2012 drafts but it's pretty clear you can pick up some pretty good players in round 4 and below if you know what you're doing.

It would appear that Toronto's scouting staff is certainly among the best since I count 5 actual NHL players they picked up in round 4 or later.

In reviewing all that, it's pretty clear the Leafs just absolutely killed it in the 2006 draft:

Round 1 Jiri Tlusty

Round 2 Nikolai Kulemin

Round 3 No pick

Round 4 James Reimer

Round 4 Korbinian Holzer

Round 5 No pick

Round 6 Viktor Stalberg

Round 7 No pick.

So, with 5 picks every one of them is a legit NHL player. Pretty nice work.

Not to mention the fact that players like Mike Brown can be found for nothing. Waver wire, free agency, redundant organizational prospects are all better than giving away a draft pick.

It's just another stupid move.

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#82 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 05:01PM
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DSF wrote:

2005:

Vladimir Sobotka 4th round Boston

Keith Yandle 4th round Phoenix

Niklas Hjalmarssom 4th round Chicago

Darren Helm 5th round Detroit

Nathan Gerbe 5th round Buffalo

Sergei Kostitsyn 7th round Montreal

2006:

James Reimer 4th round Toronto

Korbinian Holzer 4th round Toronto

Matt Belesky 4th round Anaheim

Viktor Stalberg 6th round Toronto

Derek Dorsett 7th round Columbus

Eric Condra 7th round Ottawa

2007:

Alec Martinez 4th round Los Angeles

Matt Frattin 4th round Toronto

Justin Falk 4th round Minnesota

Dwight King 4th round Los Angeles

Keith Aulie 4th round Toronto

Jamie Benn 5th round Dallas

Nick Bonino 6th round Anaheim

Carl Hagelin 6th round New York Rangers

Carl Gunnarsson 7th round Toronto

2008:

Braden Holtby 4th round Washington

Dale Weise 4th round New York Rangers

T.J. Brodie 4th round Calgary

Gustav Nyquist 4th round Detroit

Andrei Loktionov 5th round Los Angeles

Matt Martin 5th round Islanders

Jared Spurgeon 6th round Islanders

Zac Rinaldo 7th round Philadelphia

Jason Demers 7th round San Jose

Since it takes about 5 years to assess a draft and it normally takes a little longer for late round picks to get a shot, it remains to be seen who will emerge from the 2009-2012 drafts but it's pretty clear you can pick up some pretty good players in round 4 and below if you know what you're doing.

It would appear that Toronto's scouting staff is certainly among the best since I count 5 actual NHL players they picked up in round 4 or later.

In reviewing all that, it's pretty clear the Leafs just absolutely killed it in the 2006 draft:

Round 1 Jiri Tlusty

Round 2 Nikolai Kulemin

Round 3 No pick

Round 4 James Reimer

Round 4 Korbinian Holzer

Round 5 No pick

Round 6 Viktor Stalberg

Round 7 No pick.

So, with 5 picks every one of them is a legit NHL player. Pretty nice work.

Very good draft year from T.O. for real.

As far as the 4th+rd pick, essentially there is about a 10% chance of a pick, rounds 4-7, playing in the NHL.

Meh.

Not that big of a deal. Especially with players like Gustav Nyquist. 5'11" 185lbs, 23yrs old, 20 NHL games.

Meh.

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#83 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 05:06PM
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DSF wrote:

Well, if you think the cutoff will be 55 points, the Wild will only have to go 14-10-3 which I think is possible since they are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

I still think the Wild may pass the Canucks and take the NW division since the Canucks are not really playing all that well and Kesler is out of the lineup for another 5-6 weeks.

Tambellini sucks, we all know that.

What happened with Tallon in Florida though.

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#84 Smokey
March 05 2013, 06:11PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Not to mention the fact that players like Mike Brown can be found for nothing. Waver wire, free agency, redundant organizational prospects are all better than giving away a draft pick.

It's just another stupid move.

Who's a NHL player that the Oilers had a chance at so far this year. Don't say Volpatti, or Sestito. These guys are sometimes available, but goodness it was a 4th round pick. We're not drafting the next Datsyk at that spot.

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#85 Todd
March 05 2013, 06:13PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Tambellini sucks, we all know that.

What happened with Tallon in Florida though.

zing...

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#86 bigguy13
March 05 2013, 08:31PM
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@Lochenzo

I would like to correct you that Detroit have always had a tough player. Starting with Bob Probert and joey Kocur for late 80's to mid 90's then Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Sean Avery, Brad May, even Chris Chelios. Most if not all of these players played huge rolls in helping Detroit win cups. This fantasy that everyone keeps talking about how great Detroit does it with skill is complete garbage. most of these players did play top 6 also

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#87 nuff
March 05 2013, 08:43PM
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JG,

Tambellinni poisoned you with words.

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#88 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 10:18PM
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Smokey wrote:

Who's a NHL player that the Oilers had a chance at so far this year. Don't say Volpatti, or Sestito. These guys are sometimes available, but goodness it was a 4th round pick. We're not drafting the next Datsyk at that spot.

I'm saying in an average year, not this year in particular as it is a lockout shortened season and the rules are a bit different. One example of a waiver pickup on the Oilers roster is Ryan Jones.

Sestito is not much different from Mike Brown, btw.

There are plenty of examples of decent players being drafted in the fourth round. The Oilers own pick from last year, Daniil Zharkov, has the potential to be a decent player.

Do you know who you can't get without that 4th round pick? Anybody.

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#89 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 06 2013, 04:24AM
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Did you ask him when I go back to work? I've got little lite bulbs to feed.

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#90 pelhem grenville
March 06 2013, 08:03AM
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...a waist of good time transcribing an interview with our GM ...i hope you understand what i'm suggesting...i'm majorly shookup!

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#91 gcw_rocks
March 06 2013, 08:07AM
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ya know, I keep posting on the various Oiler blogs that Tambo is not the problem, he's the symptom, since I do not believe he has any actual decision making authority. I believe that power rests with Lowe, and now MacT.

But when you read/hear interviews like this one, it is easy to see why he is such a lightening rod for discontent. As symptoms go, he's a bad one.

Sadly, unless we hold the whole management team accountable, Tambo will get fired, Lowe will get a new "set of downs" with macT and NOTHING will change.

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#92 Benhur
March 06 2013, 09:13AM
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BLAH BLAH BLAH! I'd rather listen to a politician!

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#93 Jon
March 06 2013, 03:03PM
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Tambo is a foolish man in a three man band that creates a crappy brand of glam bland big zeros with twiggy kids and washed up heros. This guy can't spot diamonds in the rough, he sees the game through three feet of (explicit). he picks vets based on there past even when it's obvious they are hauling ass. He either picks twigs with skill or meat heads with a build. He has no in between, no balance, no ying yang. Barf

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#94 Mike Honcho
March 06 2013, 04:02PM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

If they can acquire a power forward that can scrap, that should be enough to make them a playoff contender (fighting for 7th/8th that is).

A guy like WSimmonds/Tootoo/Chipchura, playing legitimate minutes - instead of Paarvi/Belanger - would give everybody a bit more confidence imo.

That team should be able to compete for a playoff spot. (still a couple positions + some battle scars short of being an actual contender)

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#95 steelymac
March 06 2013, 05:34PM
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@Jon

Ever consider being a RAP artist?

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#96 Wax Man Riley
March 06 2013, 06:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Pretty much agree with everything you say.

I expected them to finish 13th in the WC and that looks to be on track.

However, I think they could have addressed the D in the offseason and didn't and I'm not sure the management team actually knows what else is needed to improve the team.

Just adding draft picks and waiting won't hack it.

You picked them to be 12th...

still, right on track

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#97 Randy35
March 08 2013, 09:19PM
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Well, the good thing is the Oilers are playing every second night. The BAD thing is the Oilers are playing every second night.

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