So, if you woke up this morning and you were Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, what would your list of things-to-do look like? And, no, checking your bank statement doesn’t count.
From hiring a new coach to filling holes and addressing needs on the roster after a third straight season out of the playoffs, Tambellini’s got his work cut out, and there’s no shortage of opinions on what he should do.
Given Tambellini’s stated desire of icing a bigger, grittier team and a handful of obvious needs — a proven top-six forward, a defensive-minded centre who can win face-offs and kill penalties and a shutdown defenceman, not to mention hiring a bench boss who can pull it all together — let’s throw around some scenarios with you in the GM’s chair.
Like Tambellini, you’ll have to keep in mind salary cap space and the fact that no matter which way you go, people will piss and moan. The bottom line is you’d better please Daryl Katz, who signs the cheques, because he’s just sent you a text that reads: “Steve, if we miss the playoffs in 2009-10, I’m firing your ass. Got it? Regards, D.”
The back end
1. You’ve decided to shop Tom Gilbert in the hope of acquiring a top six forward. Coming off a 45-point season, Gilbert’s got some cachet and you’ve got the bases covered in terms of offensive depth with Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov, once he signs the fat RFA offer you’ve got sitting on your desk.
— The Buffalo Sabres offer Derek Roy.
— The Philadelphia Flyers offer Scott Hartnell.
— The Florida Panthers offer Nathan Horton.
Which deal do you take?
2. You’ve taken one of the above three players for Gilbert and you’re getting ready to present your offer to Grebeshkov. Before you do, you get a fax from head office that says Toronto GM Brian Burke has tendered on offer sheet on Grebeshkov that’s worth $16 million over four years.
After you change trousers and wipe your ass, do you match it? Do you send some guy named Bruno to see Burke?
3. The Los Angeles Kings offer a do-over on last summer’s trade: they’ll send you Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene for Visnovsky. Knowing what you know now, do you make that deal?
The Seven Dwarves
1. Unless Snow White has jumped to the top of the short-list of coaching candidates, the need to get bigger up front to complement Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner is the most pressing, so you’re listening to offers for Patrick O’Sullivan and Andrew Cogliano.
— Tampa Bay offers Ryan Malone for O’Sullivan.
— Chicago offers Dustin Byfuglien for O’Sullivan.
— Dallas offers Steve Ott for Cogliano.
Which deal do you take?
2. You’ve got $10 million to spend. Do you offer UFA Ales Kotalik a new deal for three years or do you send Darcy Regier into spasms by tendering an offer sheet on RFA Drew Stafford for four years at $10 million?
3. If not Stafford, would that offer sheet be better spent on Tuomo Ruutu of Carolina or Travis Zajac of New Jersey?
1. You’ve got some dollars for a UFA burning a hole in your pocket — we know how uncomfortable that can be — and you’ve decided to throw some of it around. Who’s the best target?
— Mike Komisarek.
— Francois Beauchemin
— Manny Malhotra
— Scott Clemmensen
2. Dwayne Roloson tells you he’ll re-sign for $4 million over two years. Do you give him the extra season he wants or do you say, “Thanks, and good luck in Philadelphia?”
3. Nashville wants more skill and you want more grit. The Predators offer you pugnacious and noted serial-charger Jordin Tootoo for sometimes-slacker Robert Nilsson. Do you make that trade?
Dazed and Confused
You fall down the stairs and hit your head. You decide that none of the above small potatoes matter unless you can land a BIG name player to throw on the marquee at Rexall Place. Money, at least to the cap limit, is no object. Which makes the most sense?
1. Buy out the final year of Jaromir Jagr’s contract with Omsk for $3 million and give the 38-year-old future hall-of-famer a two-year contract worth $10 million, for a total cost of $13 million.
2. Re-visit the Marian Hossa sweepstakes.
3. Trade one-third of the roster to free up enough cap space to acquire the inseparable UFA tandem of Daniel and Henrik Sedin to play with Hemsky.
4. Let your head clear.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.