No Fast Times, But Slow, Steady Progress

Steve Tambellini (and the Oilers management group) are staying the course. It might not be spectacular but it will be effective if they make good decisions on the kids and resist a quick fix. 

Let’s review the major transactions of this calendar year:

  1. March 1: Oilers trade D Denis Grebeshkov to Nashville for the Predators 2nd round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. That picked ended up being WHL forward Curtis Hamilton. This trade looks good already, with the Oilers cashing an rfa they didn’t plan on signing and perhaps picking up a draft sleeper who fell due to injury.
  2. March 3: Oilers claim LW Ryan Jones from Nashville. Picked up a depth player who may help in a 4line role without giving up an asset.
  3. March 3: Oilers trade D Lubomir Visnovsky to Anaheim for D Ryan Whitney and 2010 6th round draft pick. That player ended up being WHL defenseman Brandon Davidson. Traded a more talented offensive defenseman for a younger one with a nice range of skills. The prospect is a flier, may or may not turn out.
  4. March 3: Oilers trade D Steve Staios to Calgary Flames for D Aaron Johnson and a 2011 3rd round draft pick. This is music! Dealing Staios (a good solder but a spent force) and his contract (he was not a UFA) in exchange for a reasonable pick and a depth defender was a nice move.
  5. June 23: Oilers acquire C Colin Fraser from Chicago for Oilers 6th round draft pick in 2010. That player ended up being German C Mikro Hofflin. No lose deal for a 4th line C on a deep team. He could end up being that 2-way center the Oilers have been searching for over the last few years (from the Reasoner/Brodziak tree) and at the very least brings energy and grit.
  6. June 25: Drafted Taylor Hall. Amen.
  7. June 26: Had a nice draft beyond round one. A lot of interesting pieces added.  
  8. June 26: Oilers trade C Riley Nash to Carolina for a 2010 2nd rd draft pick. That player ended up being Slovak defenseman Martin Marincin. Gave up on a young player, which is not in the rebuild handbook.
  9. June 30: Ethan Moreau is claimed off waivers by Columbus. Good times.
  10. June 30: Oilers trade forward Patrick O’Sullivan to Phoenix for D Jim Vandermeer. A depth move to be sure, although the Oilers might have picked up a better player on the free agent wire. Hard to argue with what was a "get out of Jail free" card, though.
  11. June 30: Oilers buy out contract of forward Robert Nilsson. Good luck, Row-bert. And tell your Dad he was a helluva Oiler.
  12. July 1: Oilers sign defenseman Kurtis Foster to a 2-year contract ($1.8M per season). A nice signing, better than that if he can emerge as a legit top 4 defender.
  13. July 2: Oilers sign D Jason Strudwick to a 1-year contract ($725,000 per season). The term is fine, but the number is too much.
  14. July 2: Oilers sign defenseman Richard Petioit to a 1-year contract ($550,000 per season). Good depth for the farm, and maybe he’s this year’s Arsene (only with quicker feet).
  15. July 2: Oilers sign L Steve MacIntyre to a 1-year contract ($500,000 per season). Serves a role the coach clearly wanted filled this summer.
  16. July 3: Oilers sign L Alexandre Giroux to a 1-year contract ($500,000 per season). Possibly the best AHL free agent available this summer.
  17. July 7: Oilers sign C Brad Moran to a 1-year contract ($500,000 per season). Under the radar, he could be an NHL player on this team.
  18. July 9: Oilers sign R Ben Ondrus to a 1-year contract ($550,000 per season). AHL toughness.
  19. July 13: Oilers sign G Devan Dubnyk to a 2-year contract ($800,000 per season). He’ll get more playing time this season and we should know by the summer.
  20. July 13: Oilers sign D Shawn Belle to a 1-year contract ($600,000 per season). Good AHL signing and maybe he can push the kids. If he wins an NHL job, even better.
  21. July 16: Oilers sign L Greg Stewart to a 1-year contract ($500,000 per season). More AHL toughness.
  22. July 27: Oilers sign R Gilberrt Brule to a 2-year contract ($1.85M per season). Every chance to be a value contract.

This is a much better summer. Adding some nice items and then some depth on the blue (Whitney, Foster, Strudwick, Belle), culling the herd up front to make room for the kids and then adding draft picks for Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor.

The omissions are even more heartening. No trading Penner, Cogliano and Smid for the latest Hockey Jesus, and no Jagr rumors or stories about Nylander’s wife. Yes, the Oilers have some holes (veteran center, a winger who can mentor the kids, the goaltending is askew) but there is a plan and a direction.

We’re not going to like some things in the new Oilers order. They may end up trading Hemsky or Penner because they’ll be UFA by the time this bunch is any good; they’re going to play Horcoff in a role most Oilers fans will hate (unless Tom Renney is off his nut); they don’t appear to be in any hurry to give this roster veteran balance despite useful (and well priced) free agents still being available.

Some will complain the Oilers haven’t addressed the major issues, but there’s no hurry. There are more contracts to burn off, there are kids to develop and their are roles to be decided on merit. This is the beginning.

  • Poo Czar

    Though I much prefer the original pic (oh how that scene helped my adolescence, thanks Phoebe Cates!), in this new one I like to think of Mr. Hand as Lowe and Spicoli as Tambo for the first year of their working relationship. Everyone else in the class is the collective “Management Team”, only half of which are shown.

  • Poo Czar

    Pick ups at a reasonable price if available might be W. Mitchell (if healthy enough ) , Madden and Turco . Several others are still available as role players as well . Any RFA’s worth going after that are low enough priced ?

    • Poo Czar

      I’m hoping that the rumors of the Oil talking to Madden are true. I think he’s the guy we’re looking for to help with the PK (well, one of several that could help). Willie Mitchell, I also like, if we can dump Souray.

      Turco… well… we’ve got a mad jam of goaltenders right now, but I wouldn’t complain if the Oilers picked him up, let JDD go, and then figured out what to do with either of Khabi or Dubnyk. But only if he came cheap. I think this coming season and the next, we have some decent cap space to play with. After that, we definitely don’t want to have any big money contracts lying around. So a 1 or 2 year contract would be good for a good goaltender like Turco.

      I know people are saying “we already have 3!” but we actually don’t have a single goaltender who is reliable. We have one guy who can’t cover the bottom of the net, one that gets beat up high all the time, and one that might face jail time and has injury issues (although ultimately, a healthy Khabi is still a good option, I think). I would easily kiss all 3 goalies goodbye in favor of Turco for a couple of years.

  • Poo Czar


    It could be as simple as someone in the organization suggesting that Nash might spend a couple years in the minors developing and Nash saying…”They don’t like me as a player and I am not going to get a legit NHL shot. I am outta here.”

    From my standpoint, the player forced the hand, not the team. How can you blame a team for moving a player that from all accounts was lukewarm to being an Oiler?

    If that were the case, CFP would still be in Copper and Blue.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Eve Stambellini really should not be stealing from her employer’s time in the first place.

    Then there are important issues such as the freedom of the press (or the blogger) and artistic licence.

    Lastly it is my view that men have been
    simply getting pushed around too much since about 1970.

  • Dyckster

    Andrew Ladd signed for 2.35 million, he had 1 more assist than Brule last year, that’s it.

    Any chance young Mr. Brule is regretting his decision to sign for 1/2 a million less?

  • On the Riley Nash stuff, a lot of prospects just don’t work out. And you’re not going to get 100 cents on the dollar for a player that doesn’t work with your team. It sucks it happened, and I’m interested to know how the rift was created if Nash really didn’t have interest in going back to College this year. But I don’t see it as that big of a deal. We’re going to lose high drafted players for peanuts from time to time, but we’ll also pick up other team’s high draft picks for peanuts from time to time too (personally, I consider the Gilbert Brule an example of that, even if we gave up a guy who was drafted slightly higher).

    We’ll survive 😉

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0


    ya, it sucks that Nash is almost NHL ready, maybe as soon a this year and is a center with legit talent that we could have really used. but getting a player like Marincin for him is starting to look better and better, Martin has a chance to be a very good d-man very soon. here’s hoping!

    • Yah, on a good note, we do have Vande Velde as an up-and-coming centreman too, and he at least is willing to play some games in OKC. When Nash was still here, I looked forward to Vande Velde more than I did Nash anyways, just because of their style of play.

      I don’t know much about Marincin, but from what I’ve read, it sounds like he is a decent prospect to have on our blueline anyways, as you pointed out. 🙂

      Who knows… we shouldn’t count a trade as bad until we’ve seen it completely play out.

  • RFA’s of note : B.Ryan , J.Neal, M.Hanzal , P.Hornqvist , M.Stall , D. Setoguchi , I.White , P.Mueller, and A.Niemi . Any worth a second round loss of next years draft if the price is right . Some obviously will be signed for significantly more than that , however .

  • heh heh.

    Yeah LT stop bringing down this formerly reputable site with all of your Grade A analysis and sexy pictures.


    Just you wait till I write my next article. My singular goal is to get you fired by my choice of picture. Now bear in mind I am on Vacation so it might take me awhile to get around to it, what with beer being sold in 30 packs now.

    *looks at liver with disdain*

  • Jodes

    In regards to a comparison between Khabibulin and Mactavish, this is what wikipedia had to say. Perhaps those with better memories than me would recall things differently.

    “MacTavish missed the 1984–85 season after being convicted of vehicular homicide, having struck and killed a young woman while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. MacTavish pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol in an accident the night of January 25, 1984 in Peabody, Massachusetts. Kim Radley, 26, of West Newfield, Maine, died four days later of injuries sustained in the crash.[5] MacTavish spent a year in jail as punishment for this offence. While incarcerated, he watched most of the games that were televised. After MacTavish was released from prison, the Bruins offered to let him out of his contract. MacTavish accepted.”

    So to be fair, I think the Oilers should support Khabibulin publically, even if he was incarcerated, but that does not mean he should be on the team when he gets out.

  • LT, I would argue that the decision to trade Nash was a smart one, the decision to draft him to a team laden with skilled smurfs however, was not. The former lands on Tambo, the latter on Lowe. Can’t blame Tambo for the sins of his predecessor.

    • Marco Sturm will be on LTIR to start the season for the first couple months & I’m sure Michael Ryder’s contract is on thin ice… still gotta add Seguin, though.

      What was the rumor ‘Big Al’ relayed the other day (on Team1260)… Tomas Kaberle for Blake Wheeler, Mark Stuart & Michael Ryder ??

  • Bryzarro World

    Sincere apology for not knowing the answer to this Q but is James Neal an RFA who has NOT sought Arbitration? Such that he is capable of receiving an RFA offer? Because if so, he is EXACTLY the type of player to add to this type of roster even if we had to overpay

    Not big game hunting but rather judicious addition to our roster of the right skill set at the right age

  • Jodes

    Was reading the mynhltraderumours site and came across this dated July 28th:

    •Michael Arace of the Colubus Dispatch: (written before the Blue Jackets and Anton Stralman settled before their arbitration, 1 year, $1.95 million.) The Blue Jackets will look to improve their defense, and will look via trades and not free agency. 3 options could be Tomas Kaberle, Kevin Bieksa and Sheldon Souray. Arace believes the Blue Jackets have made a pitch for Kaberle, inquired about Bieksa, and made a ‘token’ call about Souray. Nikita Filatov’s name probably would come up.

    1) How reliable is this site?

    2) What does Columbus have (other then Ex Captains, Goalies and D men) that we’d want? What would Howson give up for Souray?

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    I love the Oilers direction this off season, as outlined by Lowetide. I am not expecting a miraculous turn around this year but I hope we can play the season like we started the season last year. The Oil were exciting to watch when they had all their soldiers in the lineup to start last season. If they can manage to score some goals and compete for the puck in the tough areas of the ice, I will be satisied even if they loose 6-4. If they are entertaining to watch like they were at the beggining of last year and they can make some strides with their young talent (Brule, Gagne and Cogs included) I will be a very happy Oiler fan even if the boys fail to make the playoffs again.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Perception is reality. Perception is that the team has moved in the right direction. Right now I would grade Tambo a B+ for his efforts in the past few months. I still think we should sign Mike Comrie. I see him as a guy who can and will give this team reliable 2cd or 3 rd line minutes and chip in 20-25 goals. Since I haven’t seen him sign anywhere else and he was at the Oilers table at the draft I gotta believe that Tambo is going to ink him in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    @ michael

    I am torn on the Comrie situation. He is definately affordable and like you say he can certainly contribute 20-25 goals. However I am not sure you can sign him without moving someone out especially if more than two rookies crack the lineup.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    @ michael

    I am torn on the Comrie situation. He is definately affordable and like you say he can certainly contribute 20-25 goals. However I am not sure you can sign him without moving someone out especially if more than two rookies crack the lineup.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    1st line: Gagne-Penner-Hemsky

    2nd line: Horc-Brule-Hall

    3rd line: Eberle-Cogs-Jones

    4th line: Fraser-Stortini-Macintyr/Jacques

    That is 13 forwards not to mention MPS and Omark could make the team……. I have trouble getting Comrie in the lineup without moving at least one guy.

    • Cheesenaka

      The only way I see it possibly happening is if Jacques gets sent to Oklahoma and you’d then have Macintyre/Jones for the 12th and 13th forwards.

      Also, Eberle plays right wing so you’d have to have either Cogs, Comrie, or Brule Centering the 3rd line.