Watching the Edmonton Oilers night-in and night-out, it’s easy to forget that the collection of players going out there every night has changed significantly since Steve Tambellini took over as the club’s general manager.
The following list of players were a) Oilers’ property when Steve Tambellini ascended to the general manager’s post in Edmonton and b) played at least one NHL game with the Oilers in 2008-09.
|Coaches||Still With The Team|
|Bill Moores||Not as a coach|
One coach out of the five that Steve Tambellini inherited remains with the team. If we were counting training staff and video coaches, the turnover would be even larger.
|Centres||Still With The Team|
Horcoff and Gagner remain with the team; the three other centres were dismissed. Kyle Brodziak was dealt to the Wild for not much; Andrew Cogliano was sent to Anaheim for a second round draft pick. Ryan Potulny wasn’t qualified and has been a pretty decent AHL player since leaving the Oilers.
|Wingers||Still With The Team|
Ales Hemsky is the lone survivor. Every other winger that Steve Tambellini inherited has been sent down the line.
|Defense||Still With The Team|
The Oilers’ strongest point when Tambellini took the helm was their defensive core. It’s been stripped down, with the Oilers’ top-five from 2008-09 all sent out of town. Ladislav Smid has climbed the depth chart since then and Theo Peckham remains in the system.
|Goaltenders||Still With The Team|
Not one goalie remains from the NHL trio that was with the Oilers when Steve Tambellini became G.M.
There are a few things to take from the above list.
There’s a fear in some sections of the fanbase that the Oilers’ veterans are passing on their losing mentality to the next wave of players. It has always struck me as an exceedingly stupid complaint; ‘losing’ isn’t a virus that passes from person to person. In any case, even if that argument wasn’t a hot steaming pile of lunacy, it’s scarcely possible: 24 of 30 players have been sent away since 2008-09, and 28 of 35 players and coaches. The entire core of the team has been reformed under Tambellini.
This takes me to my second point. Steve Tambellini made a big fuss in the summer of 2009 about the need for an Oilers’ ‘culture change.’ Virtually every player has been hand-picked by Tambellini and his management team, and we’re now in the third coaching regime of his tenure. This is his team.
Occasionally, someone insists that it’s necessary for the Oilers to “change something.” They’ve changed just about everything during Tambellini’s tenure – change alone doesn’t get the job done.