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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- June 25: Drafted Taylor Hall. Amen.
- June 26: Had a nice draft beyond round one. A lot of interesting pieces added.
- 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.
- June 30: Ethan Moreau is claimed off waivers by Columbus. Good times.
- 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.
- June 30: Oilers buy out contract of forward Robert Nilsson. Good luck, Row-bert. And tell your Dad he was a helluva Oiler.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- July 9: Oilers sign R Ben Ondrus to a 1-year contract ($550,000 per season). AHL toughness.
- 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.
- 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.
- July 16: Oilers sign L Greg Stewart to a 1-year contract ($500,000 per season). More AHL toughness.
- 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.