This Oilers season is about returns and arrivials, and increasingly about the future. For management, huge decisions are on the horizon that will change the face of the franchise.

As the season comes into focus and teams like the Oilers reach the conclusion they are sellers (Oilers aren’t there yet, but as Robin Brownlee has been saying this road trip will go a long way toward writing the script) that brings a whole new set of questions.

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  1. If Hemsky continues to battle injury, will he have enough value to even entertain offers? 83 might end up getting a one or two year deal because his value could be very low. Should Hemmer rip off a hot streak in January then teams like Detroit and Pittsburgh may come calling. If not, allowing him to walk is bad asset management. 
  2. If a team comes calling for Nikolai Khabibulin, do you entertain the offer? Hey, Nik has played his rear end off this season and frankly without him this team would be pushing up daises already. However, if a team like Tampa Bay made a legit offer, does it behoove Mr. Tambellini to listen? I think it does.
  3. Will owner Daryl Katz shuffle the management? If I’m right on this, Daryl Katz will follow the Detroit model and move Steve Tambellini into a role that sees him on the inside of the groupthink but no longer the trigger man. I suspect there is some frustration with the rebuild’s progress and the amount of losing the kids are doing while learning the NHL game. With the arena issue somewhat solved good results are needed. If I were a betting man ($8!) my money would be on Kevin Lowe to return to the GM post and for the Oilers to possibly reward Stu MacGregor with an additional title (my vote is "President of Amateur Procurement"). This is almost identical to the Mike Illitch model that allowed the Red Wings a "group vote" on major moves and eventually led to Ken Holland’s brilliant run as the Red Wing GM.
  4. Will they trade for a defenseman before summertime? Ryan Whitney’s injury situation means Edmonton is in dire straits at the position. Can Sam Gagner fetch a defender? Ales Hemsky? Khabibulin? Paajarvi?
  5. When are we going to see Hartikainen and Omark? This team isn’t ripping it up offensively, what happened to the old "3 scoring lines" saw we heard for years? I don’t know that Omark will be an Oiler much longer, but perhaps they can play him for 10 games before the deadline and offload him?
  6. Would they deal Ryan Smyth? Jason Gregor brought this up not long ago and it makes sense from a rebuild point of view and Smyth could return in the summer on a longer term, cap friendly deal.


Oiler fans will need to adjust their sights. This Oiler team could be buried by the time we sober up from New Year’s. The future is bright, but there are some massive questions to be answered, including the possibility of managment changes in the next few months. 



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Nation Radio’s New Year’s eve show hits Team 1260 at noon today. You can email questions to [email protected] or drop them off here in the comments section. You can also check @itsnationradio or @lowetide_ on twitter and I welcome your questions and comments.

  • Jonathan Willis will be on the show for the entire first hour. Jon has a mountain of information on the world juniors, advanced stats as they pertain to this year’s edition of the Oilers and the NHL in general.
  • Scott Taylor from Jets Nation. There’s a story brewing here and it involves Winnipeg pushing Toronto out of the playoffs. Scott will give us the Jets view and we’ll talk WJ’s.
  • Pension Plan Puppets have several smart people who monitor the Leafs and one of them will join me today. We’ll talk about the rocky relationship the fanbase has with their goalies and also discuss the importance of the numbers 18-14-5.

Hope you can tune in. We’ll also be discussing cool ways to bring in the New Year, so pass along your suggestions.

  • ralph_u

    Some commentator said Bucky was forced on Renney by head office. Renney wanted Bucky to go to the AHL but someone over-ruled him. Bucky is a Lowe clone. Not a good choice. His act at the AHL level wasn’t exactly a success. House cleaning is in order. I wonder if the co-coach Kruger would be a good alternative. First the Oil need a credible GM who has the ability to put the pieces together.

    By the time the young D get to the NHL (if they do) Hall and Eberle will be approaching free agency. What are the chances they hang around a losing team and an even more frustrating and embarassing losing organization?

    It’s impossible to fly with eagles Blah, blah, blah ….turkeys.


    Whoa Nelly! I am not sure why all the panic here. No one really expected the Oilers to make the playoffs this year. I expected them to finish in the 7-10 draft positions. I say stay the course and maintain a level heading of 2014.

    What is all this talk about trading our youths ie. MPS. Patience, man. We showed signs that we can play with the big boys and play it well during the month of October to about mid November. Now we are in abit of a rut, the young line of Eberle-RNH-Hall are holding their sticks abit tight and having some tough luck finishing. It comes with the territory of having young and inexperience youths as your top line.

    Hemsky is still not to form which breeds inconsistency and ill-timed decisions on the ice. We are not playing our best Dman, Whitney and that really hurts our backend in terms of mobility, QBing the PP, first pass out of trouble option and shutting down opponents top line. Gilbert and Smid have been playing very well esp the former. The weakest links are the 2nd and 3rd pairings which are young and inexperienced. Our backend needs to be fixed. Guys like Gernat, Musil, Klefbom and Marincin are still 2-3 years away.

    We are quite loaded upfront and trading some players maybe an option to get a top pairing D guy or another first round pick. We may want to make anther trade possibility for a tough sob who can play in the top 6. A guy like Zack Kassian (Buffalo) who can score and be very physical and mean. He could protect the kids. I think Buffalo would take two of the three offerings of Hemsky, Omark and or Gagner.

    Suggesting that Lowe comes back as GM is utter insanity. I am sure Tambellini is getting OKs from Lowe already for any transactions. Who is to say that Katz didn’t move Lowe up (or really sideway promotion) to avoid any more gaffes with his past dealings-Comrie’s bonus, on-air trashing of Burke etc. I think Lowe prefers his position as President of Hockey Ops-you stay out of the lime-light and attention plus less travelling with the team.