TAMBELLINI MUST BOLSTER BLUE LINE

Calls had been coming from many corners for GM Steve Tambellini to bolster his blue line long before Taylor Fedun was carted off the ice at the Xcel Energy Center Friday, joining Ladislav Smid and Taylor Chorney as casualties in a 4-3 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild.

Might Tambellini, who until now has resisted repeated suggestions his Edmonton Oilers are woefully short of proven depth with the rearguards still in contention for roster spots, be prompted to listen now?

With Fedun’s right leg fractured in a race for the puck with Eric Nystrom in the second period against the Wild, Chorney lost with a bad knee and Smid gone with a shoulder injury, the Oilers played much of last night’s game in St. Paul with just three defensemen.

While Fedun’s long-term health after a terrible fracture is the most important issue here, the fact is that with Ryan Whitney already on the shelf recovering from ankle surgery, the Oilers today have just six healthy defensemen left on the roster as the face the Vancouver Canucks tonight.

As it stands now, pending Tambellini working the phones — be it in pursuit of a trade or free agent or putting a call into Oklahoma City for short-term reinforcements — the Oilers face the prospect of starting the season with Tom Gilbert, Cam Barker, Jeff Petry, Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton and Corey Potter on the blue line.

See any problem with that?

HELP WANTED

Aside from the matter of having a promising pre-season showing by Fedun come to a crashing halt by a yet another needless injury on a meaningless icing play — we can only hope this isn’t a career-ending situation — what unfolded will certainly force Tambellini into finally making a move to bolster the back end, no?

Is it unreasonable to think any move would — and should — involve more than calling up a body or two from the AHL to fill in against Vancouver? Is Colten Teubert, just getting over a concussion after being sent down to the AHL to get back into game shape, the answer?

Assuming Whitney will be ready to play when the puck drops for keeps against Pittsburgh Oct. 9, and that’s far from guaranteed, how much ice time will he able to log early this season?

And if Whitney can’t carry his usual workload — it would be absolutely nuts to even ask him to — how much ice time can coach Tom Renney reasonably heap on Barker, Gilbert, Petry, Peckham, Sutton and Potter?

I’d suggest yet again that Tambellini take a look at some of the surplus talent he has up front, make a call on who he is willing to part with for a defenseman who can log top-four minutes, and get busy addressing a lack of depth that is painfully obvious.

I can only assume Tambellini will spend the next night or two tossing and turning over the predicament he finds himself in now because he’s failed to do so to this point. It might be an idea, if he is wide awake, to get busy on that phone.

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  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    To me this is going to be one of those things that can make or break Tambo. There are a lot of unwanted d-man out there. Now is time for ST to make a move for one of them and hope they can bring something to this team.

  • This can and should be tackled more than one way.

    Stop gap solutions in the short-term based on the prognosis of those injured right now. Warm bodies.

    Longer-term, even with Musil, Marincin etc in the system, takes more work. This team is short a proven top-4 guy to complement Whitney and Gilbert going into the season and beyond.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I think we are at the point where ST might finally have to give up on someone that he wanted to see more of. Don’t exactly have time to continue to wait for all our forwards to hit their potential.

      If we don’t see an addition in the next couple weeks I think he is telling the fans and the team that once again he is okay with throwing in the towel before the year starts.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Why would he have to give anyone up at this point?

        There’s still the waiver wire, there’s a very good chance there will be a better player or two available there than Chorney. Losing Chorney and Fedun hurts the organizational depth, but the only NHL injury from yesterday was Smid, and:

        (a) we don’t know how long he’s out for

        (b) even if he’s out for a bit, the downgrade from Smid to the best player available via waivers is not catastrophic over the short term.

          • Slapshot

            I don’t disagree, but they didn’t get one then – what makes you think they’ll trade a piece they value to get one now?

            I mean, they may, I’m just saying I wouldn’t be counting on it.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I’m thinking that Whitney’s situation hasn’t exactly gotten better so maybe they realize that they are going to continue to have other injuries and really need another reliable defender.

          • Slapshot

            That is certainly possible, but they didn’t claim Morrissonn when he went on waivers, and didn’t sign, or apparently have any interest in signing, Campoli, and those were transactions that happened fairly recently, after I would guess they knew Whitney wasn’t recovering exactly as was expected earlier this summer.

            Of course, the three injuries yesterday may change there mindset, depends on the Severity of the Smid and Chorney injuries.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            The thing is you don’t pick up Morrissonn as insurance for Whitney. Morrissonn is the type of guy you pick up when your depth gets ripped apart in one game.

  • Panick city throughout the blog world! Obviously not the best situation having Smid & Chorney injured, but I think Chorney was a stretch to make this team anyway. Smid is replaceable without giving up front line talent. The Oilers need to see what Barker, Sutton & Potter can actually bring to this team before making moves in a knee jerk reaction. I believe Whitney will be back in the near future which will solve a lot of problems on the back end.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jason Strudwick is available, i hear he’s even in town and you don’t have to give away anything to get him. He’s probably a week/ten days away from being in game shape but what would it hurt to have him suit up for 30-35 games this season.

    Premium Lottery pick here we come!

  • Slapshot

    The NHL should have put a no touch icing rule in effect years ago.I hope that Fedun recovers from this injury, it is very sad to see any player, playing any sport,getting a serious injury, that may effect there future playing career.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    They weren’t ever going to get someone as insurance for Whitney this late barring a big trade, any pickup would always have been about depth.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Holy panic batman. No one knows what the deal is with the defenders.

    We know Feduns not playing, I have not heard anything on Chorney who wasn`t making it, or Smid. If Smid is hurt longer then 2 weeks, we got a problem. We don`t know what his status is, and often in preseason a player who is slightly injured is taken off for precautionary reasons.

    Tambo should of addressed dmen, getting a solid NHL depth defender this summer, unfortunately he wanted to give the kids an opportunity to woo him. I was hoping lately for one of Campoli, McCabe, Hannan or a miracle. Something will happen I hope…(as I rock back and forth clenching my teddy Bear)

    • Where is the panic?

      A need that should have been addressed during the summer has been pushed front and centre again by these injuries.

      I know it makes some people feel smart to speak as the voice of reason — your “Holy panic” line qualifies as that — but I’m not sensing panic here.

      Tambellini can’t undo the fact that he chose to stand pat heading into camp, but he can do something about it now by recognizing the need.

      • Did Tambo stand pat this summer? He changed out 1/3 of his D. Granted Sutton for Van de Meer switching one for the same, but getting Barker is a significant change. We will see if it is for the better.

        The Oilers may have lost one D man last night if Smid can’t go. At least see the prognosis on Smid before we do a panic trade.

        At the start of camp nwither Fedun or Chirnay were not expected to play at the NHL level. We don’t know if Chorney is out long term and will be sent to OKC as soon as he is healthy.

        I don’t see the injuries last night as being so critical to the Oil at this point. If they were a teanm that could at least contend for a playoff spot the outlook might be different.

        • Please read what is written before tossing out the term “panic trade.”

          Nobody said Tambellini stood pat this summer. He was asked early in camp why he hadn’t brought in MORE depth and he said he’d rather have the younger prospects feel like they had a real chance to land a job, so he didn’t bring in more veterans.

          Whitney is iffy and his ankle, even if he gets into the line-up Oct. 9, is unproven. Smid has shoulder issues. If you don’t see a problem waiting to happen with that, I can’t help you.

          Doesn’t matter a damn bit if Fedun was going to make the Oilers or not. Now he’s out of the picture in OKC. Potter, for the time being, will have to stay here whether he’s ready or not, so he’s out in OKC. Teubert is coming off a concussion. He’s in OKC. He’ll be less than 100 per cent to start the season. Name the top six D-men in OKC now.

          If you don’t understand the ripple effect — how one or two injuries to an already questionable group at the NHL level forces the remaining healthy bodies in the organization into roles they might not be ready for — again, I can’t help you.

          Tambellini needs to address it.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Tambellini did say he wanted guys like Tuebert and Plante coming to training camp with a shot at making theOilers hockey club. We’ll soon find out if Stevie was just bullshipping Colten and Alex.

    • Steve Staios would have been happy to come back to Edonton if they would have offered him a contract.

      He told Matheson and I that while skating with a bunch of the Oilers at Kinsmen Arena. Staios still lives here. His family is here. His kids are in school here. The Oilers showed no interest.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        I don’t see Staios as being the answer to much. He was dealt for a reason and the Oilers aren’t lacking bottom pairing d-men. Maybe today Staios makes some sense, but it didn’t all summer.

  • Coppperhead

    The Oilers are in no position to make a trade right now. Everyone they come to will be selling high knowing that Tambellini is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Is a #5 / #6 defenceman worth Omark? Hell no. But that’s the kind of offer we’d get.

    Instead I hope Tambellini uses the waiver wire to find a couple bodies. We all know this year isn’t going to be the year the Oilers truly break out so why trade under duress.

  • Tambi wont do anything, he has shown that he will sit back and let this team self destruct. I was all for the team hitting rock bottom and getting some draft picks out of it because we werent getting better sitting at 19th or 20th overall. But enough is enough. You have the keys to make a trade, put your faith in your pro scouts and get a defenceman already. Im sick of the bandaid answers, and letting the team struggle to make it out of the bottom of the league. Get your thumb out of your ass and make a move already. Dont let this team start in last place already, at least give them a chance

  • robgilgan

    You asked: Is it unreasonable to think any move would — and should — involve more than calling up a body or two from the AHL to fill in against Vancouver?

    I’d answer in the affirmative. Gilbert, Barker, Potter, Sutton need to bring their best game. Peckham and Petry will respond. Plante and Teubert on deck. I’ll qualify that, however – you said ‘any’ move, which offers too much latitude. Adding Strudwick falls into ‘any move’. There may be a steady defender available that doesn’t require us giving up an asset like Omark or Hartikkainen.

    Whitney and Smid will be along presently, not to worry.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Maybe we should’ve sold the farm last summer afterall. Adam Larsson would sure look great in Oiler silks about now, who knew.

    Out with the quantity for another shot at quality, should’ve been priority these last two years.

  • Would Linus Omark + Gilbert Brule for Kevin Klein be realistic?

    $2.75 million going to Nashville and $1.35 million for 2 years coming to Edmonton.

    Oilers get a 20 minute per game d-man & Nashville gets more offense.