Armchair GM V: housekeeping items

Even with the hiring of head coach Pat Quinn, associate coach Tom Renney and assistant Kelly Buchberger taken care of, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has a full plate these days.

The first order of business for Tambellini right now is schmoozing and setting the table for possible deals down the road at a meeting of general managers in Pittsburgh over the next couple of days.

While we media types refer to trades made at the NHL Entry Draft as, duh, draft-day deals, the feeling out process begins weeks ahead of time when the GMs get together to kick tires as to what-ifs and possibilities with an eye to when everybody gets together again at the draft.

Given the significant tweaks Tambellini is looking to make to the roster, the glad-handing, huddling and casual inquiries that mark these gab sessions will be particularly important before the draft begins in Montreal.

Hey, big spender, can I buy you a drink?

Looking ahead

If Tambellini manages to package up (unload), say, a Robert Nilsson and a Rob Schremp for pucks, I mean picks, chances are the seeds of that deal will be sown in Pittsburgh before the action heats up down on St. Catherines Street in Montreal.

Same thing if Tambellini is looking to move up in draft order from the 10th spot. I know, it never happens with the Oilers, but there’s no harm in asking what it might take to slip into the top five, and Tambellini will do his due diligence on that front.

Likewise, you can bet Tambellini will ask around about players who might fit into one of his top six-forward spots, preferably on left wing. Would making a defenceman like, say, Tom Gilbert (you knew this was coming) and a leader of men like Ethan Moreau available be the start of a meaningful discussion before things get busy on the draft floor?

You’d have to be profoundly dense not to understand Tambellini has depth on the blue line and that, jettisoning spare parts aside, the most likely move is that he’ll use that depth to attempt to fill that top six spot.

The checklist

From what I understand, Tambellini will wrap up the GM schmoozefest and jet to Kelowna to oversee meetings with assistant GM Kevin Prendergast and the amateur scouting staff in preparation for the draft.

Aside from going over his staff’s draft list — who is this Turkish goalie we’ve got rated No. 10? — Tambellini has his work cut for him in the next 10 days. In no particular order:

— What about naming a head coach in Springfield? I’d be stunned if it isn’t Rob Daum, but I’m going strictly by common sense and the job Daum did at the end of last season despite being saddled with, essentially, an ECHL roster, especially on defence. Indications are we won’t hear anything on the Springfield front until next week.

— What about adding a second assistant to the coaching staff? People are already guessing about who that might be, but I haven’t heard one firm word from anybody who calls the shots that the decision has even been made to go with a staff of four.

— Who replaces video coach Brian Ross, a Craig MacTavish hire who was let go with assistants Charlie Huddy and Bill Moores?

— What happens with goaltending coach Pete Peeters?

— Does Rod Phillips come back for his 37th season as radio play-by-play man or does he hand the microphone over to Bob Stauffer?

When I know, you’ll know.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    Chris wrote:
    Why skate Cogliano as a 30 point winger when you can trade him as a 50 point center?
    Or better put: Why not trade Cogliano for a player more comfortable or suitable to play the wing.
    Also, I still have had no opinions regarding post #110. Which is the better line? Think about it. The logic applies before you consider forcing Cogs to the wing.

    Too early to call which is the better line. If Gagner puts up Savard #'s and Vorachek puts up Saku Koivu numbers I'll take the out of position player.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    @ Robin Brownlee:
    I know the consensus is that Tambellini will offer up a top four d-man as trade bait for a top six forward. Why not trade one of either Cogliano or Gagner instead? The defence is fine… why mess with it? IMO, the problems with the forwards relate more to the overall mix, not the overall talent level.

    We'd still have too many PMD's vs physical guys on the back end.

    Our defense is highly overated on here… our GAA has been to high for far to long.

  • Chris

    @ Ogden Brother:

    I see your point… but you are arguing to UPGRADE the defence through changing the MIX on the backend. Many people who post here regularly argue in favor of scenario's where net talent is moved out of the back end to upgrade net talent on the front end. This doesn't necessarily have to occur. There are valuable pieces on the front end that can be used as trade bait also.

  • Chris

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Too early to call which is the better line.

    IMO Voracek will eventually be a first line player… as will Gagner. Ideally, Tambellini needs to find a legitimate first line left winger to fill the hole left by Smyth so many years ago. It is easier to replace/upgrade the hole at third line center via free agency if you move Cogliano to fill this need, as opposed to replacing a top four D-man if you move Gilbert.

    Essentially, I'm saying if you move a D-man for a top six forward, you further cloud the situation upfront, while sacrificing depth on the back-end. Obviously, moving a d-man for a forward, will likely set off a chain reaction of other necessary moves. If multiple deals cannot/won't fall into place, it may be easier to simply move Cogliano for a forward of similar quality; a forward who fits more logically on the depth chart.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    I see your point… but you are arguing to UPGRADE the defence through changing the MIX on the backend. Many people who post here regularly argue in favor of scenario’s where net talent is moved out of the back end to upgrade net talent on the front end. This doesn’t necessarily have to occur. There are valuable pieces on the front end that can be used as trade bait also.

    Ya, I'm not sure why no one wants to trade forwards. In my mind the perfect summer would be:

    One of Cogs/O'sully and one of Souray/Vis/Gilbert/Grebs out

    One of Volchenkov/Phillips/Mitchell (or someone similar) and one of Horton/J Staal/Malone/Hartnell in

    Wouldn't matter who goes for who as long as some variation is accomplished.

    complimented with a Malhotra or Pahlson and Anderson/Clemmenson/Harding signing.

  • RossCreek

    @ Chad Ya I've heard that too. Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated is reporting that they have a 7 year deal done, but have to wait for the playoffs to be over to announce it. Of course, this could just be speculation at this time, but I don't think this would surprise anyone.

  • speeds

    Chris wrote:

    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Cogliano
    or
    O’Sullivan-Cogliano-Voracek.
    Trying to convert Cogliano to the wing makes less sence than just making an appropriate trade. If you can never seem to make an appropriate trade: why not just draft a winger in the first place?

    I'm not the guy to ask, as I said I'd have drafted Voracek to begin with, and think just as much of him going forward as I do of Gagner.

    I also reject your "If…?", because I think you can make an appropriate trade – the Oilers probably just really like Cogliano and value him more than the offers they have received. That said, I think he's somewhat likely to be traded this summer, and I think he holds more value in a trade for a winger than picking a clearly inferior winger that looks less promising and keeping him.

    All that said, I don't disagree that when you've got two prospects you judge to be more or less equivalent in value, it makes more sense to draft the one that fits your organizational depth chart better.

    I don't agree with picking a clearly inferior PF prospect when your team is small, over a clearly superior smaller F prospect. You're giving away too much value, IMO, even if you have to make trades later and that isn't the easiest thing in the world.

    But there's a selection bias problem, because you don't have the "problem" of having to make a trade in the case where you pick an inferior prospect and he busts, because you don't have an asset of value.

  • Chris

    @ speeds:

    I always said I support the BPA concept… but even the Oilers MUST have known Gagner and Voracek were close. Since they were so close, I think Predergast should have taken Voracek based on need; It wouldn't matter if Gagner was "slightly" better. The only explanation I can come up with, is either Predergast strictly adheared to his list, or he didn't really KNOW what he had in Cogliano… The latter wouldn't surprise me. I'll lead the fire Predergast bandwagon; he seems very uninformed about his own prospects.

  • Chris

    I'd bet a Detroit fan who wandered onto this site would find the way we agonize over the possibility of trading players like Cogliano, or even Hemsky, rather amusing.

  • kingsblade

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    @ MyrJ:
    It’s more difficult to move Souray or Visnovsky, given their ages and cap hit.

    Isn't that also a good reason for why the team should try to move them first (Souray anyways, I don't really want to move Visnovsky) and move Gilbert only as a last resort?

  • David S

    Chad wrote:

    Well anyone who hoped that the Oil would sign Hosa may be let down. Rumors floating that he will sign a 7 year deal with the wings at the end of the finals.

    Just watching the Wings right now. If I'm Hossa, re-signing with this organization is a no-brainer.

  • Chad

    David S wrote:

    Chad wrote:
    Well anyone who hoped that the Oil would sign Hosa may be let down. Rumors floating that he will sign a 7 year deal with the wings at the end of the finals.
    Just watching the Wings right now. If I’m Hossa, re-signing with this organization is a no-brainer.

    I would like to be saying this about the Oilers but unfortunately I am saying it about the wings…..they are the best run franchise in the NHL today and have been for IMO the last 5 years.

    The way they handle their rookies is amazing. It seems that they have endless talent because of it.

    Lets hope the Oil are taking notes.

  • Chad

    Just wondering other peoples thoughts on Nikolai Khabibulin. Last year he had a Cap hit of 6.75MM while Roli's was 3.7MM. It would probably still require a deal to dump some salary to sign him but it is an option that I think Tambs will have to think about.

    I have a couple concerns: 1 – Money, what will he sign for? and 2 – age, was his injury the start of more to come?

    Who else on the UFA list interests you?

  • @ Chad:
    IMO, that last place the Oilers want to blow their wad on right now is goaltending. look at the teams that spend huge $$ on Goal (I'm looking at you, Calgary, Vancouver and NJ!) – they don't get very far in the playoffs, because they don't have the supporting cast. When's thr last time a 'superstar' goalie has won the cup? it hasn't happened yet in salary cap era. Also, I think these teams rely on that goalie too much in the regular season, and they are spent by the playoffs.

    Edmonton has too many other needs to fill, and they can get someone reasonable in goal for pretty cheap – those options have been discussed here before.

  • Chris

    Chad wrote:

    The way they handle their rookies is amazing. It seems that they have endless talent because of it.

    I tried more than once to push that agenda on this website. I love Gagner and Cogliano… but only a poorly run organization gives children important NHL ice time.

  • David S

    Chris wrote:

    I tried more than once to push that agenda on this website. I love Gagner and Cogliano… but only a poorly run organization gives children important NHL ice time.

    Or more to the point, how good would Gagner and Cogliano be if they were in the Red Wings org? Yeah, they'd still be rippin' up the minors this year, but my god they'd be good when they finally came up. And they'd be learning the trade from the likes of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Jeeezuz!

  • swany

    RB what's with all the Vinny rumours again, how do we get him while not moving to much money the other way. Gregor was on with the guy from TB and he also said that the three teams he keeps hearing about are the same ones as up here L.A., Montreal, and Edmonton. Is Gilbert = to Johnson from L.A. do they want Gagner or Cogs. To me this doesn't make much sense (and Vinny is a hell of a player) but this causes more problems, if Vinny comes then Horc is moved to second line Gagner is NOT a 3rd line centre so does he go to the wing and they move Cogs. And we still don't have a LW for the first line. I thnik they should trade Gilbert, Cogs, Nilsson a prospect and a 2nd round pick for Gagne, and Hartnell. That gives you a very good first line and a second line of Hartnell, Gagner, Sully