A Dodged Bullet/I’m Suddenly Thrilled Tambellini Signed MacIntyre

ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 18: Derek Boogaard #24 of the Minnesota Wild eyes an attacker during the first period of a preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on September 18, 2009 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

During his time as General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers, Kevin Lowe had his share of dodged bullets. The failed pursuit of Michael Nylander stands out in that category, as does the decision by the Buffalo Sabres to match Thomas Vanek’s offer sheet (thus sparing the Oilers the loss of four consecutive first round draft choices).

We can now add a dodged bullet to Steve Tambellini’s resume.

Just a few short days ago, I offered praise to Tambellini for not ponying up the money to match Glen Sather’s wild four-year/$6.6 million dollar offer to unrestricted free agent Derek Boogaard. After all, there’s no shame in backing out of a bidding war – even for a necessary piece – when the price becomes prohibitive.

Thanks to Larry Brooks, however, we now know that Tambellini wasn’t the one who did the backing out. No, it was Derek Boogaard, who left Oilers money on the table to sign on with the New York Rangers:

Boogaard’s four-year, $6.6 million contract seems wildly excessive and will challenge coach John Tortorella’s familiar assertion that paychecks don’t influence lineup decisions. It is a fact, however, that Edmonton actually offered Boogaard — who is going to Russia this summer to train with Pavel Datsyuk –$7 million over four years.

Leaving aside the question of whether an enforcer without the skill to play a regular NHL shift is a help or a hindrance to his NHL club, does that seem like a remotely defensible deal?

Putting it in perspective, that means Edmonton valued Boogaard at a rate:

  • 3.5 times as high as Steve MacIntyre
  • 3.4 times as high as John Scott
  • 2.9 times as high as Raitis Ivanans
  • 2.9 times as high as Zenon Konopka
  • 2.2 times as high as Brandon Prust
  • 1.6 times as high as Jody Shelley

It’s also worth mentioning that deal would have seen Boogaard under contract for twice as long as any of the players listed above, and four times as long as the player Edmonton eventually signed.

Is Boogaard worth 3.5 Steve MacIntyres for four times as long? He may be the premiere enforcer in the game but he is also a player with a lot of recent injury trouble and no goals over his previous four seasons.

I don’t see how Boogaard was worth either the dollars or the term he was offered, given his health, other on-ice contributions, and the deals being signed by other fighters. It’s just fortunate that Glen Sather was around to offer up a comparable figure, and even more fortunate that Boogaard preferred the New York offer.

UPDATE: Many of you have commented on the credibility of Larry Brooks as a source.  As he is the sole source of this information, it’s entirely plausible that the information he provides is incorrect.  That said, the fact that he states it so strongly ("it is a fact" rather than "I’ve heard" or something similar) as well as the fact that we know the Oilers pursued Boogaard have me inclined to believe the report is correct.  I also don’t think there’s any definite contradiction between Brook’s report and Ryan Rishaug’s; it’s entirely possible the Oilers tabled that deal and chose to end negotiations (hypothetically, if Boogaard’s agent advised them there was a greater premium needed, or if there was a time limit attached to the deal, etc.).

With all of that said, readers must use discernment, and Brooks’ word carries different weight with different people.  I appreciate that readers have brought this up in the comments, as it is a highly relevant point.  With any luck, we’ll get some further light shed on this from another source.


  • fuck off

    Thank god this poor excuse for a hockey player does not deserve that as Macintyre can skate better and hey he is younger and has 2 goals lolol. I cannot imagine the Oil paying this kind of money to an enforcer who plays less than 2 mins a game ????

  • Marc


    I know this makes a great story about how stupid Tambellini is, but is there any particular reason to believe that this is actually true?

    This is, after all, the same man that reported on June 23rd that “the Flyers are talking to the Devils about Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk for Martin Brodeur.”

    Perhaps not your most reliable source…

  • fuck off

    TSN announced that “the Edmonton OIlers have[had] backed out of the bidding for Boogaard”. Maybe Tambi tabled the 7 million offer but it seems clear to me that he thought twice and rescinded that contract.

      • Fartknocker

        You never know…

        For the record – I would have passed on Boogard for almost 7 million for four years….not worth it.

        I can’t say Tambellini or Sather are “stupid” because it’s a chemistry thing. If you think that somehow a player could be the catalyst for good things you might overpay a bit to make it happen (for better or worse).

        I think it’s awesome that we signed Big Mac. What better than for Hall, Eberle, and MPS to look down the bench and know that MacIntyre has got their back?

        Boogard….Boogard would be better.

        He is a better fighter and everyone in the league knows he’s the baddest….including the new kids. MacIntyre is a gamer but he gets hit a lot and doesn’t fight with as much skill as he should.

        It’s one thing to know that a tough guy has your six. It’s another thing to know the toughest guy in the league is there to back you up. Same goes for the deterrent factor….who do players worry about more? Big Mac? The Boogeyman? What’s it worth to the Oilers to have Boogard riding shotgun?

        Could it be that as Oilers fans we have grown so tired (to a fault) of bloated contracts and now can’t even consider a somewhat overpaid player? Are we jaded because of our disappointment with Oilers management recent history (the last decade) that we couldn’t give them credit for at least potentially having a more advanced idea of a fighter’s role on a hockey team?

        The question for any player is: Did they earn their pay?

        You never know. I’ll wait to see how the Rangers do.

        Welcome back Big Mac. (Please move your head more after you drop the gloves)

      • fuck off

        I’d have to say pretty bright.
        Overall he’s done nothing but good. This is one supposed report that even if it was tabled he didn’t follow through with it. Considering it was July 1st and maybe Tambi got excited and verbalized $7mil/4yrs but he sure didn’t follow through with it and that shows his smarts ALONG with everything else he has done right thus far.

      • Dyckster

        But, but, we don’t know at what point Tambo backed out of the bidding? Maybe Sather was raging a $$ war against himself starting at $750,000/year? He might you know Ender, really, he could have, couldn’t he?*

        *Bows head, knows he wouldn’t.

  • Ender

    If we had actually signed the Boogeyman to that deal, can you imagine how pleased our new Senior Hockey Advisor would have been? All of his hopes and dreams finally coming true . . .

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Jonathan, I suspect bias is showing through here, as you’re basing your article on a dubious source, IMO. Sometimes it’s just too good to pass up, even when you really should…

  • I'm a Scientist!

    So here we all are basking in the glory of Tambi (myself included) due to the fact that some good moves have been made lately, and then we find out that they seemed to have learned nothing. 4 years 7 mill??? WTF you gotta be kidding me? Thank God that didn’t happen. The other thing I’d like to point out is the current situation that is Sheldon Souray. Please K-LOWE and Tambi remember the Pronger deal when deciding what your going to do with Souray (like you said you would in the oil change documentary). If you put him in the minors and hope someone will pick him up at 2.5 mill on re-entry waivers that would prove that, yet again that you learned nothing. I say make him start the year here. Showcase him and hope his value goes up. Maybe he even likes playing with this new team we have, you never know…look at Penner!! Go Oil!!

  • I'm a Scientist!

    This is like taking a girl out for a night on the town. You send her a dress before hand, you buy her flowers, buy her a wonderful seafood dinner, wine, chocolate dessert, go to a play, you schmoooze all night long. Then when you lean in to kiss her good night, she slaps you for being cheeky. Costs you all that money and you don’t even score. Sure, you get the physical play, but not the right kind.

    Thank the hockey gods! If indeed we DO need this type of player on the team, then SMACK will work just fine, and would probably put out even if you just took him to the dollar theatre and split some popcorn.

  • Ender

    We have no idea if this is factually accurate.

    Sather took a lot of heat on the signing on July 1 and 2nd. It was known that the Oilers were in the hunt. Is it not possible that Sather fed Brooks some “info” about what Tambo bid to make his bid look more reasonable in comparison?

    I would say that is at least probable, if not likely.

    I don’t trust that report at all.

  • Ender

    When I first read the comment by Brooks earlier this morning, I assumed it was incorrect. I still do. Lowe/Tambi couldn’t really be that stupid. To hold on to my sanity, I have to believe that.

    • Dyckster

      Seconded, I’m not privy to the bio’s of all the NHL MSM guys, but there have been some who suggest Brooks is the NY version of Ecklund.

      Edited: Wassup JW? it’s not like you to base an entire article on the word of another media guy with the supposed reputation of this one?