So, with the Edmonton Oilers becoming just the second team in NHL history to own three consecutive first overall picks in the Entry Draft after the balls fell their way Tuesday, will people now be calling for GM Steve Tambellini to follow the "Quebec model?" The Oilers should be so lucky.

The Quebec Nordiques, before they packed up and moved to Denver as the Colorado Avalanche, were the first team to turn the Entry Draft trifecta and the fall-out from that good luck changed the fortunes of both the Nordiques and Philadelphia Flyers for more than a decade.

After taking Mats Sundin first overall in 1989 and Owen Nolan first in 1990, Quebec stepped to the podium with first overall selection in 1991 and took Eric Lindros of the Oshawa Generals, ignoring obvious indications that the highly prized Lindros had no intention of playing in Quebec.

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Lindros held true to his word, and the Nordiques dealt his rights before the 1992 Entry Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers for a package that included Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Steve Duschene, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, a first-round pick in 1993 (Jocelyn Thibault) and a first-round pick in 1994 (that eventually became Nolan Baumgartner).

Now, after consecutive 30th-place finishes landed the Oilers Taylor Hall in 2010 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011, Tambellini again holds the No. 1 pick and the right to select, most think, dynamic Russian winger Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting and the possibilities that go with it. What will Tambellini do? What should he do?


While critics point out that Tambellini’s main accomplishment as Edmonton GM has been to oversee the Oilers to finishes of 30th, 30th and 29th , thus they don’t have much faith he’ll get it right, the stroke of luck that saw him jump ahead of Columbus in picking order presents a huge opportunity.

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Now, in today’s salary cap world and with nobody in the 2012 draft class, including the talented Yakupov, hyped or projected as the generational talent Lindros was coming out of Oshawa (I still have 10 or 12 of his rookie cards for sale if anybody is interested), Tambellini has no chance to trade his pick for the kind of bounty the Nordiques fleeced the Flyers for. Won’t happen.

That said, given the other wants on needs this team has, Tambellini would be a fool not to inform his peers with the 29 other teams in the NHL that he’s willing to entertain offers for the first pick and that he’d like them in hand as soon as possible. Best package wins. Let’s make a deal. That’s a message that should have been sent already. "It presents options," understated Tambellini to open his availability with reporters today.

Those options are many. Darren Dreger of TSN, for example, threw out a theoretical situation today involving the Montreal Canadiens, asking what if the Habs were willing to part with P.K. Subban? I’m guessing that is, or will be, an E5 soon enough. What else is out there? Who wants that pick?

If Tambellini doesn’t get an offer he likes, no worries. He steps to the podium in June and adds Yakupov to Edmonton’s growing talent pool with Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle and sees what happens from there. He can draft Yakupov and then trade him. Maybe Yakupov is a keeper and somebody else goes . . .

Again, Tambellini isn’t going to land the mother lode that sent Colorado on its way to a decade of dominance and the Stanley Cup and Philadelphia the other way, but if he can’t turn Tuesday’s gift from the hockey lottery gods into the turnaround fans of the Oilers have been patiently waiting for, chances are he never will.

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

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  • MrCondor

    Draft him. Increase his value by adding 2 years of NHL experience.

    If we want to keep him – Great. If we want to move him – Great because his value has increased. Moving the pick is silly. Moving an NHL player is the only way to proceed, should we want to trade.

    Oilers aren’t going the distance next year no matter what, so why the rush?

    • Just as I figured. I shall take a hiatus from Oilers’ blogs until the draft is over. There is no way this trade ever happens.

      Also, am I the only one worried with Yakupov’s numbers from this season. RNH was around 1.54 PPG in his final WHL Regular Season, Taylor Hall was about 1.8 ppg in his final OHL season, Sequin was close to 1.7 ppg in the OHL and Yakupov is sitting around 0.6 ppg in the OHL.

      • Clyde Frog



        Yakupov was 1.6 ppg with the injury problems. Also he almost scored 50 in his 16-17 year old season and racked up 101 pts, way better than Hall, RNH, Seguin and the rest.

      • Clyde Frog

        69 points in 42 games is a 1.64 ppg. The previous season he had 101 points in 65 games which is a 1.55 ppg. So I’m not sure where you got 0.6ppg game from but it seems to be grossly inaccurate, unless I completely missed your point.

    • bazmagoo

      Me too. But I would also add – a signed Weber minimum 5 year contract.

      Can’t see anything else prying that #1 pick unless maybe Columbus throws the #2 at us plus something good (Ryan Johansen?).

      • canucknnv

        I too agree. I would go as far to say that this has to happen. We are all told that NSH can’t afford both Weber and Suter and that’s probably accurate. I would throw the moon at Poile for this deal. Weber is that important of a player. 1st overall 2012+31st 2012+Marincin and a roster player. I dunno, I’m just ham and egging it here but if there is any way to get Weber even if the price is steep it needs to be done. They know who our untouchables are but any other roster player should be on the table. The Oilers need the huge minute eater of D to hide some of their defensive deficiencies. Steve make it happen.

  • Aside from the 3 kids, who really on the current Oilers roster has high scoring prowess… Ganger can’t hit 50 points, Hemsky is questionable, Smyth is getting up there, Horcoff’s role on this team clearly isn’t to put up high numbers, Omark isn’t strong enough and will be gone soon, PRV unlikely will be that guy, etc.

    Depth is just as important offensively as it is defensively and I’d much rather have 4 elite scorers than 3, especially with the injury history of this team.

    You cannot trade for a player like Nail Yakupov. So unless someone is going to offer Tambo the moon and stars, this isn’t rocket science.

    (I posted this earlier but I’ll post it again. Oilers 1st overall and Ganger to the Ducks for Ryan and the 6th overall is an interesting trade option. I didn’t say I’d necessarily take it, but its worth mentioning)

  • Calvin De Haan & NYI’s 1st or hope the Preds exit early for a signed Webber 1-1?

    Drafting Yakupov means losing one of the ‘Fab Four’ when it’s time to re-sign. Has a Russian player ever taken a home-town-discount? (Datsyuk?)

    Oilers will develop faster with Ryan Murray/Reilly & a Webber/Subban.