ART OF THE DEAL: IS TAMBELLINI A PLAYER?

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Talk persists that Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is determined to acquire a second top-10 pick in the first round of Friday’s NHL Entry Draft. While his intent seems clear, the question is how he accomplishes it.

I’ve suggested Tambellini wants to move into a top-five position so he can land Swedish defenceman Adam Larsson after he takes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, and I remain convinced that’s a move he’s going to try to make. But how?

A group of know-it-alls — Ryan Rishaug and Darren Dreger of TSN as well as Jason Gregor and I — bounced some ideas around this morning in the lobby of the hotel after breakfast.

The way I see it, the most direct line for Tambellini, assuming Larsson is the target, is to come calling on the Florida Panthers and GM Dale Tallon, which is something I’ve already put out there — might the Oilers offer the 19th pick this year and their first pick in 2012 to get the No. 3 slot?

MONEY TALKS

Given how much cap money Tallon has to add just to make it to the salary floor next season, it’s obvious he wants and needs to take on some payroll and will have to do that via both free agency and trade.

In terms of the Oilers, could Tambellini offer Tallon a package of players to get the No. 3 pick outright without giving up any picks and would he be willing to listen to that? Would, say, Tom Gilbert and/or Sam Gagner get the conversation started?

Might Tallon be willing to take a look at a roster player like Gilbert or Gagner in a package with Edmonton’s 19th pick for No. 3? Would that be more palatable to Oilers fans than putting the first pick in 2012 on the table? More important, would that be more enticing to Tallon?

Like I said, Tallon needs to add salary, but the caveat is he also wants to stockpile picks, so a combination that gets him both would seem to be the likeliest scenario for a deal. I’m guessing he’ll have a line-up of other GMs looking to, ahem, help him out on both fronts.

THE COLUMBUS FACTOR

It’s no secret Columbus GM Scott Howson is offering up the eighth overall pick and I’m wondering if he could factor into Tambellini’s plans to take a run at Florida.

Howson wants and needs players now because if the Blue Jackets miss the playoffs again, he probably won’t be around for any long-term plans. There is self-preservation at work here.

Tambellini could offer Howson a package of roster players for the No. 8 pick outright. Again, would Gagner and/or Gilbert get the conversation started? Is that too much? Not enough? I haven’t asked Howson, so I can’t say where he stands.

The eighth pick won’t get Tambellini a crack at Larsson, but could he offer Tallon the No. 8 from the Blue Jackets and his 19th pick for No. 3? Would that interest Tallon, even if it wouldn’t address his salary needs?

Gregor and I will be on the sniff tonight to try and find out because from here on in, now that everybody has arrived from the awards night in Las Vegas and elsewhere, the rumour mill will kick into high gear.

MUSIL AT 31?

Long before the renovations to the Oilers dressing room at Rexall Place several years ago, there was a small room just down the hall from the entrance. Some of us called it Frank’s Room because Frank Musil’s children used to play in it on practice days while dad was on the ice.

Back then, 1997-98, David Musil was a little tyke. I bumped into Frank and his family at a restaurant Wednesday and, suffice to say, David is all grown up. Having just completed his second season with the Vancouver Giants, Musil, 18, a six-foot-three, 198-pound defenseman, is ranked 38th by Central Scouting among North American skaters.

David has the same vise-grip handshake as the old man, the same square-jawed mug and the same flat-top haircut. If he has half the work ethic his dad, who played 797 NHL games, did, he’ll have a long career in the NHL. Which gets me thinking — might that career be with the Oilers, who employ Frank as a European scout?

While some think it would be a reach for Edmonton to take Musil with the 31st pick, I’m not so sure. I think Edmonton might play a hunch and take a flyer on him if he’s still there. While CSS has Musil pegged 38th, I see him as a late first-rounder, right in the range of where the Oilers sit.

DARK HORSE PICK?

If you’re looking for prospect with potential to jump into the first round, make note of the name Stuart Percy.

The Mississauga defenseman is ranked 53rd among NA skaters by CSS, but more than one person I’ve talked to thinks he’s vastly underrated and could move up and into the top 30. TSN has Percy rated 34th.

AND . . .

— I’m told by a reliable source that GM Mike Gillis in Vancouver isn’t content to sit and wait to pick 29th, so he’ll be making concerted effort to move up.

My understanding is he’s put both forward Cody Hodgson, the 10th overall pick in 2008, and goaltender Cory Schneider in play to see if he can get some business done. Gillis will most certainly call on Howson.

— I’ll be attending the prospects luncheon this afternoon before I go on the air with Gregor and I’ll file something from that, Most likely, I’ll talk to Nugent-Hopkins about donning an Edmonton jersey Friday.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I am still against shopping next year’s first rounder. That said, if it would land Larsson on top of Nugent-Hopkins then Tambellini’s job would be dependent on making sure that our team would be picking in the 8 to 14 range at least next season.

  • Another thought. I realize some of you are not sold on Brayden Schenn but could Dithers possibly trade a roster player or two and the 19th pick for either Schenn or the 8th pick. Couturier might still be available at 8 and Flyers have depth at center still. Would still like to see a possible move with Florida for third overall but I don’t think that will happen.

  • wuthering

    The nostalgia in all of us fans want Smitty back and the bonus is it makes decent sense: he’s still a pretty solid player, the cap-floor must be met, and his leadership is his identity. If Tambo doesn’t sign him you would think that he must have an out-of-this-world scheme already in play, i.e., getting a top 1-2 d-man long-term. Whatever the case, it is incumbent on Tambo to do either/or because the fan base will lose its patience with him now that the waters have been chummed.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @NamelessNed
    @Mantastic

    Penner did not play well in a short span of games in LA.

    He does however have very good career stats that have been shown many times here and at CB.

    He will stay at the same level he has shown, maybe even improve, he’s 27 not 37.

    I mentioned Vorachek because he has not produced at Penner’s career level and is a lightweight one dimensional player, Penner has more dimensions to his game and more production.

    My point was if Simmonds and a minor league player, or a .5 PP in V pulled the big names they did, Penner had more value potential than was realized for him, which I also thought at the time.

    The problem was timing, and when ST unloaded him for no good reason, he did it at a time when the market wasn’t there, and he got squat for a good player. These are the deals that hurt rather than build teams.

    Try to get past your anti Penner bias and look at the numbers he has put up on the worst team (high production for a LW league wide post lock out), who he had to baby sit on his line with the Oilers, and the fact he is 240 lbs and tough. He didn’t lose any fights that I saw. In fact what I saw was guys turning away from him at a whistle – they wanted no part of him.

    Guys like that are rare. The fact he had trouble adjusting to LA does not mean he is a bad player. Lombardi and Murray should have realized criticism is not the way to handle Penner after MacT’s bouts with him.

    Kaberle is supposed to be an elite D and he didn’t blow the doors off in Boston either.

    • Clyde Frog

      Penner got amazing returns according to everyone not in Edmonton.

      Wingers do not garner the same return as centres. Percieved second line wingers especially, his numbers were fine overall. His compete and drive have been questioned throughout, as has his physical fitness levels.

      Carter and Richards were traded off for low salary returns specifically. Penner would never have been involved in these trades, if there was a chance why did LA not include him in the package and save Schenn?

      He made too much, is a pending Free Agent and didn’t fit any needs.

      Kaberle’s returns weren’t amazingly better than Penners, Couburne was having worse than a bust of a season in AHL.

  • Clyde Frog

    I get what your saying.

    I think Penner had/has more value than what we got. ST didn’t do his due diligence on Teubert (which is backed up by Oil Change) and assumed he is good because he was a first rounder and they coveted big mean D.

    In fact he was something like 7-8th in the Kings system.

    Those are the kinds of deals that ruin teams like the Isles, giving up good players for little (as many blogs have shown after the top 5 picks most years the odds of getting a good player drop rapidly). It was not worth trading him for two long shots. There was no urgent need to do that deal.

    Especially given so many Oiler forwards only were productive with him and we are a tiny team.

    If you deal a player like Penner, alone or in a package, it is only worth it if the return is enough. I’ll bet the Canucks wouldn’t mind a huge productive tough top 6 winger about now.

  • Clyde Frog

    Liles deal…

    It isn’t costing much to get good or decent upgrades on players right now. A second rounder for a good D.

    If a team were, uh, trying to get better seems like there’s no time like the present. Especially if you have som extra picks to move.