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.

  • Bar Qu

    swany wrote:

    what about a longshot Richards

    My understanding (with the longterm contract he signed) is that Richards is the new cornerstone of the franchise. But, I like the idea of a Gagne. Maybe an all (or mostly) Gagne/r line?

    BTW, Gagne's shooting % the last few years is impressive (15, 14 and 14) along with his shots taken (221, 291 and 334!?).

  • swany

    Bar Qu wrote:

    I hate the idea of giving up Gilbert, but I understand the need to lead with your best available assets. But then again, what does a Gilbert get you in a top-6 winger? And who out there is a willing partner to the Oil? Hopefully someone who is a willing fool with great players ;).

    When you look at the Oilers D Gilbert is the logical choice to move. Reasons Gilbert will get you more than any other D-man 25 years old 45 points moves the puck very well, 4 mil cap hit and signed for 5 more year. You can't trade Souray he is the only guy that we have that has a mean streak. Vish well look what happened to Hemmer and the PP after Vish got hurt, and Gilbert is a good puck mover but Vish is far better, But his cap hit will mean less in return than Gilbert. Grebs we just signed him to a 3 year 3.1 mil contract, he takes Gilberts place on the roster, less money moves the puck as good or better younger. $ puck movers are great but we sure could use a young Jason Smith, I would take 3 puck movers a 3 guys that can hit and play D

  • swany

    Bar Qu wrote:

    I hate the idea of giving up Gilbert, but I understand the need to lead with your best available assets. But then again, what does a Gilbert get you in a top-6 winger? And who out there is a willing partner to the Oil? Hopefully someone who is a willing fool with great players ;).

    Yoy could look to Philly, you might be able to get a Gagne, for a Gilbert+ or what about a longshot Richards Size grit hands Maybe a Gilbert plus Cogs and a prospect. Philly needs to shed some salary and they need a puckmover in the worst way.

  • swany

    We need so many things it's to hard to try and guess where Tambo might start. Top six forward a third line centre who can win faceoffs and PK. More size and grit to go along with the talent WE do have (Pat Quinn). I don't envy Tambo this summer if he could plug just 2 holes I think he has done a good job, if he hits the home run than this would be the best summer an Oiler GM had in a long time.

  • Bar Qu

    I hate the idea of giving up Gilbert, but I understand the need to lead with your best available assets. But then again, what does a Gilbert get you in a top-6 winger? And who out there is a willing partner to the Oil? Hopefully someone who is a willing fool with great players ;).

  • sittingatmydesk

    bla bla bla, we want ( need ) news, whod on the block, whos coming, we know that you have all that info and we know that you are well connected, give us more, its way too long until draft day…
    im going crazy!!!!

  • Ender the Dragon

    Wanye Gretz wrote:

    I love this website so much.

    Oddly enough, we love that you love this website so much.

    *claps once, so loudly that it breaks the silence in the room and starts him wondering why the heck he's clapping*

  • Souby

    If they are going to add another assistant it should be someone who can help the special teams because both stunk last year! Maybe Bucky handles the PK and the other guy handles the PP. Just a thought.

  • Dustin Penner's 2nd Chin

    Thanks for the updates Robin.
    I do not envy the tough decisions Tamby has to make in the coming weeks. It should be entertaining to watch how it all unfolds though.

  • Rick

    With the combine's over and the GM meeting's about to kick off, how long before you media types start getting leaks on what deals may be cooking? Or does it stay pretty quiet?

    As for Gilbert, is there anything to read into him buying a house here in Edmonton? Particularily since he bought it after the season was over.

    I know Lupul bought one and was shipped out shortly after, but it still leaves me wondering if the fact he bought one is an indicator of what he heard from Tambellini at the end of the year.

  • dyckster

    "If Tambellini manages to package up (unload), say, a Robert Nilsson and a Rob Schremp for pucks,"

    There's truth in jest. All the same though….ouch. Being in the media isn't about making friends eh? Although with these two, if they happen to corner Robin in a dark alley, my money would be on Mr. Brownlee.