It was a fairly good day for news coverage of the Oilers, with plenty of relevant coverage in the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun on the upcoming draft, some thoughts about pending UFA’s, and of course Dany Heatley.
Let’s start with the article that had everyone here talking this morning, Jim Matheson’s piece on Dany Heatley, featuring this quote from the ever-popular anonymous source:
“The Oilers aren’t close,” said a source.
While not overly encouraging, we can get a more rounded view of the situation from Allan Panzeri (an Ottawa-based reporter with Canwest):
Several league executives contacted Tuesday said they’ve heard that a number of teams interested in Heatley will not make an offer until after July 1 to avoid paying the bonus….
The Edmonton Oilers are thought to be interested in Heatley, though the word is that haven’t yet approached the Senators.
As eager as fans are to spend Daryl Katz’s money, it doesn’t surprise me that he’d like to avoid paying the 4MM signing bonus. If the Oilers are interested, I’ll imagine we’ll find out about it after the draft, since Bryan Murray’s recent statements seem to indicate that he has a deal in place that he’ll make before July 1st.
Meanwhile, both Tychowski and Ireland have articles up about the coming draft, featuring many quotes from Steve Tambellini which are also available on the Oilers official site. Without any disrespect, I think it’s fair to say that the preview Robin Brownlee put together for OilersNation yesterday was not only more in-depth but also gave us a far better picture of the Oilers’ intentions in Montreal.
Moving on, Steve Tambellini was pretty cavalier about signing free agents Dwayne Roloson and Ales Kotalik – particularly the former, shrugging off concerns that the Oilers wouldn’t have a goaltender:
“At the end of the day, we want to make sure we have a strong goaltending team, but if it doesn’t happen right now, I’m not worried about it,” Tambellini said. “If we don’t have something in place a week from now, we’ll have time to make sure we have a strong goaltending team by the time we start our season.”
That article also discusses the decision to put Rob Daum in charge of Springfield. It’s a one-year contract only, so this is really a zero-risk move for Tambellini and should finally give us a chance to see what an experienced AHL coach can do with the Oilers’ prospect group. Daum garnered a lot of public sympathy for being unceremoniously dumped from Craig MacTavish’s coaching staff; now, we’ll see what he can do with a group of underachievers and a thin roster.
Speaking of which, assistant G.M. Kevin Prendergast (who may or may not be on thin ice himself) is going to be tasked with overhauling Springfield’s disappointing roster – a roster which had been put together by him in the first place:
“We have to replenish the players in Springfield, too,” said assistant general manager Kevin Prendergast. “We have a lot of important things to do in the next two to three weeks.”
With a new G.M. in place here in Edmonton, I’d imagine that Prendergast needs to show something here if he’s going to be in the management mix going forward.