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.

  • Pick nail, unless its a crazy overpayment. It has to be a deal that tambi or any sane person cant say no too. Its huge for tambi bc if he screws this up he might never be a GM again. He’ll be that guy who traded nail for god knows what.

    The safest bet is to draft nail . I think tambi would have had more options drafting in the #2 spot , now he is kinda handcuffed.

  • Truth

    “Best package wins. Let’s make a deal.”

    That would be going into the process with the worst possible attitude. He should go into ith with a let’s see if anyone offers up a modern day Philly offering. Unless the return blows the Oilers socks off, the smart move is to retain the pick and deal him later if need be.

    What he should be doing first is asking every single GM in the league if MPS and Omark gets him a solid 3/4 dman or close to NHL ready d-man prospect (e.g Despres). If he can turn MPS into a d-man, the need to trade yakupov is dramatically reduced.

    And before anyone craps on MPS’s trade value, please remember that Turris brought in Rundblad.

    • Bucknuck

      “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 . . .”

      I think I said the same thing you did, no?

  • good read as always Robin, keep this pick you can unload guys like #89 ( who should have been dealt at the deadline while his stock was a high as it ever will be) and please please #83 and get a good d man back u don’t unload that type of talent period we have enough spare parts we can get rid of that will at least get us a decent d man back, i’m sure free agents might want to come here now seeing the talent pool we have. The only thing that concerns me is that KLowe is still running this team and until that changes we are never going to progress.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    To move the pick would only insure this rebuild will go on for ever.

    Yakupov fills that hole in the top six. There are still two holes in the 1,2 spot on the blueline. Dubnyk may be an adaquate back up but the Oilers need a starter in net as well.

    Oilers would fill one of those holes on the blueline by going after Gudbranson.

  • Thank your lucky stars and grab Nail and hold on him tight.

    Do you trust Tambo and the others to trade him for anything but damaged goods(ala Whitney and Brule) or a bunch of prospects who the trading team has already decided are suspects
    I don’t!!

    • Clyde Frog

      Lol… just lol… You sir are my hero.

      R.Nash is totally worth a #1 right? He has totally scored 70 pts Once! And umm, costs 7 million so he must be good! Maybe we can get a package deal for Scott Gomez?

      • Oilforlife

        Are you really comparing Nash to Gomez. Nash has never had talent to play with. Plus Edmonton needs size up front. Sure he is expensive, but he will help bring other vets to Edmonton to play with the kids. You think Hall is going to convince Suter by phone to come play in Edm.

        • Romanus

          Great players (ones actually worth 7 million) find a way to succeed regardless of who they play with and the make the players they play with better. In my opinion he is a complementary player, not a $7M player. 2 years from now people on this site would be bitching about his contract and how Tambo got screwed, and how he is unmovable, and how we can;t keep the other guys because of it.

          Of course if he doesn’t make this deal, people on this site will bitch about how Tambo screwed up by not making the deal, blah blah.

  • Jeanshorts said it best on Twitter. Passing on Nail to get the next guy is kind of like passing on Malkin to draft Barker.

    Take the BPA. If you develop forward depth then use that to swing a deal for the D-Men you like.

    Also, invent a time machine and go back to where you don’t trade Gilbert for Schultz.

  • Bucknuck

    It would have to be one hell of an offer in order for him to take it. Trading the first overall pick is a very Ballsy play. I don’t see it happening with this GM. That makes me kind of glad.

  • If I hear one more person saying the Oilers should trade the #1 for PK Subban, I’m going to lose it. PK Subban has to be the most overrated player on the internet. He’s also a cancer in the dressing room. I want nothing to do with the overrated Subban.

  • neojanus

    Any feelings on the press conference?

    I think Tom is gone. I got the feeling that Tambellini has his eyes on someone else and is waiting to see what happens. It sounds great to say “time off” needed, but I think someone’s name is going to drop.

    Lindsay Ruff? I have a feeling.

    I also wonder whether Katz has a similar “time off” statement for Tambellini and his job is on the line pending an evaluation and pitch?

    It was a typically deflective interview, but he kept his cards extremely close to his chest this time and didn’t want to talk about his deal… there must be something preventing an official announcement.

  • Ryan Murray: two weeks older he is in 2011 Draft.

    You compare him to his 18yr old peers.
    Hamilton, brodin, Oleksiak, Murphy, Beauliau.

    Murray would have gone #17-#23 in the 2011 draft.

    So why use a #3 pick this year.

    He is not beating out Klefbom who is superior to him.

    yakupov Please!

    Cap worries?
    Tavares signed 5.5M per for 6Yr.
    That is the base.
    so increase to cap per Player to get to 5.5M
    Eberle +4.3M
    Hall +1.75M
    RNH +1.725
    Yakupov +1.7
    We will need 10M cap space in the year we currently have 43m in cap space.

  • Romanus

    How is Edmonton going to be able to keep all these highly touted prospects and still be under the salary cap in coming years? They are going to have to make decisions on some players and with what Tamby has done so far I expect him make the wrong choices on players that are moved.

    Belanger was a bad signing and if he keeps him for his full length of his contract thats just silly, Not trading Sutton at the deadline was dumb, signing Hemsky for 5 large was dicusting, Eager might be something, How he has handled Souray and others, Omark situation, Smiling like a complete [email protected] when we won the lottery again. The guy is a loser the only thing I can remember that he has done to make this team better was trading Gilbert for Shultz. But did he have any say on that really? Oil change isnt a realible source of info on this but he seemed stunned the whole time during trade deadline. The guy is a deffinition of a PLUG

  • Clyde Frog

    Robin, I’ve seen Nail play & I don’t quite understand why you’ve downplayed his skill? This kid has a lot of talent & would make the Oilers offence scary good.

    The Oilers have a number of quality defencemen in the system already that should start to emerge this coming year or the next for sure! Patience is still the order of the day in my opinion! The Oilers need to be sure they know what they’re trading away if they make trades because Yakupov is an exceptional talent I would hate to see him playing on someone else’s roster!

    My take on Tambo’s comments was this opens up the possibility of trading other assets like Gagner, Omark, Paajarvi or Lander! The Oil need grit that can play minutes with these highly skilled players, that’s the key to having success.

    • D

      Show me the part of the item where I downplayed Yakupov’s skill.

      Asking for offers doesn’t mean you don’t value an asset, it means you’re willing to see what’s out there. Don’t like it? Keep the asset. Not a difficult concept.

  • Romanus

    yakupov is part of an elite Scoring Group.
    0.7 goals per Game @ 18 in the OHL:
    The last ten years:
    Yakupov; Rieder; Seguin; Hall; Skinner; Tavares; Hodgson; Stamkos; Kane; O’sullivan;

  • D

    My worry is that Tambo is precisely the person who could get fleeced in a trade like this – and a lot of the other GMs probably know it. It will probably be Katz who makes the final call on this pick, and I am betting that he keeps the pick and takes Nail.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I am super elated to have that third in a row #1 pick and ya gotta take the kid Yakupov. He broke the one hundred point barrier as a rookie and he broke records from those such as Stamkos too. Hell, he was injured and yet he scores what?….sixty nine points in just 42 games? ….wow thats very very good.

    Making Moves? Then step up and trade some assets for the rights to get a defenceman like Suter/Weber and sign one of them to a three/four year contract, or, go for it with that new about to be UFA defence whiz kid Jason Shultz.

    The Oil has had forward injury problems again this year, has had scoring problems other than the three kids and so taking Yakupov gives more high end depth for this. The kid may turn out to be another type Pavel Bure and only an idiot would not take a kid like that. As Bob Stauffer stated on his show today, the Oilers scored only six goals in their last set of games. Plus, now taking Yakupov then adds to a definite new and very much more potent type powerplay next year.

    We have many many assets now to trade with and… we have what….six or more very good to high end defence prospects coming up (Musil, Klefbom, Marancin, Bigos, Hesketh, Gernat Blain, Davidson, Fedun). I also can’t see these 2012 ranked defenceman kids helping too greatly or immediately like a drew doughty or a votto etc. Look at Cam Fowler who is very good a future type kid but one who is still not fully developed or too explosive and this is now coming up to year three for him.

    The Oilers should keep building the firepower up front to offset the defence gaps until those gaps are fully fixed. Give Dubnyk the chance to keep going like he did the second half of the season. We are on our way up but lets be sensible too….as also excited.

    How many teams could boast having a type lineup of kids with Yakupov joining Eberle, Hall (next Captain), Nugent-Hopkins with exception….say Pittsburgh or a couple of others?

    What do any of ya think?

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I can see the oiler war room at draft on next years oil change

    Tambo,Toronto has offered us Schenn and we switch picks

    Sammy ,he can have my number

    Stu,I liked him in junior

    Tambo,sounds good to me let’s do it

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I have a question that just occurred to me….if Lindy Ruff isn’t still mad at the Oilers for that offer sheet with Vanek…lol…would a trade package of them sending Tyler Myers, and Cody Hodgson and their 1st round pick to us for the #1 over-all pick, Hemsky,and say a defence prospect be a good deal?

    Just a thought but one I like if we don’t take yakupov

    • bazmagoo

      I was going to suggest Tyler Myers and their 1st round pic for our 1st and second pics.

      I would do the deal above as well, although I think we might be able to get more in a Hemsky trade.

      Yakupov is too small to join our already small lineup. He undeniably has the skill, but small teams are easy to play against.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        From a fellow Marty Turco supporter.

        Just a post season synopsis of Martys time in Boston. 4 starts,2 wins,3.68 gaa and a .854 save%. At the ripe old age of 35, it could be time to hand Turco a front loaded multi yr deal to tend net here in Edmonton.

        You figure 10.5 over 3 yrs would earn his loyalty? The time is now my friend.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            You and i, aren’t the men we used to be either. Someone has to keep the old gaurd company.

            Carey Price and the Habs 3rd overall to the Oilers for the No. 1 pick and Devan Dubnyk?

          • D-Man

            Why would the Habs deal Carey Price – especially when they made the commitment to him by dealing Halak???

            Montreal also has forwards almost as small as ours – Yakupov (as gifted as he is) might not be the greatest fit…

            If we trade the pick – the best offers are going to come from the teams picking 20 to 30… The teams the most interested will definitely be good enough to spare a top-2/3 defencemen and a decent draft pick… They’ll also be attracted to Yakupov – not only because of his skill but his cap hit (max at about $3.0 million/year, $975K per year in actual cash paid)… They would be able to unload a high cap player and get a gifted player in return.. They’d also be able to be patient with the rookie; should he need more time – they could send him back to junior and not suffer the wrath of committed fans…

  • Wax Man Riley

    I wrote of Lindy Ruff being ticked off cause Kevin Lowe sent an offer sheet to Vanek for huge money and Ruff blew up at Lowe while matching the Sheet. I just was wondering also if a deal for Myers and Hodgson was worth being done and good with….the first round picks being swapped at #1 for #12, along with say Hemsky and a defence prospect or two prospects thrown in.

    Would other people want to see this type deal? or would they change this alittle, or even say NOT and just take Yakupov?

      • Wax Man Riley

        Oh…lol…thanks for the update….don’t know why I kept thinking about Ruff being both coach and managerof the Sabres. Had read earlier about Ruff turning down coaching in the world champs today so that is probably why I kept putting in Ruff’s name as Sabres GM. Thanks.

        But, the same trade possibility scenario between Oilers and Sabres interests me cause I like those two Sabre kids alot and…. with Myers being already a huge tough and good offensive defenceman and with Hodgson being a very good young centre of which both have played with Hall and Eberle before, I like this idea trade.

        What do ya guys think?

  • Wax Man Riley

    We are in a no lose situation. Either you get the moon for Yakapov or you keep him and see what he is capable of doing in the NHL?

    The question has to be what can we expect that is reasonable in return that will take us to the promised land…….playoff that is. If getting a solid defenseman and a prospect is all that is available for this prospect………Tamby has to make the deal.

    From all I have seen and heard about Yakapov, he is not the second coming of Pavel Bure , but no one will have the answer until he plays a couple of seasons.

    I don’t have any reason to doubt the Oiler scouts but Tamby is another story……..Mr. Dithers to the rescue.

  • Shaun Doe

    Okay this might be blasphemy, but I was thinking about a trade today just for giggles sake. What about trading the pick to Anaheim for Getzlaf? I know the danger is he is only signed for one more year, but he is that big, nasty right handed centre everyone is always talking about here. He is only 26, and there were rumors chasing him most of the season as one of the big 3 possibly on his way out of town. Perhaps include a conditional pick from Anaheim that increases in value depending on if he resigns with the oil.

    Other than being only signed for one more year is that we would have to pay him big dollars sonnet rather than later where with nail we get to wait at least 3 years. Add to that he had a down year by his standards but perhaps nothing to worry too hard about. Anyhow just a mad idea I thought of .

      • The Soup Fascist

        I agree but you can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shi …… er ….. feathers. I don’t see a big body centerman in the system that could have the upside of a 1st line center like Getzlaf (or what Getzlaf was a couple of years ago). Oilers have some nice D prospects but Weber is a flat-out witch. Not many 230 lb D-men with wheels, a cannon, stamina to play a half an hour a night and play with an edge. No chance getting Weber IMO and would not give up 1st overall for Getzlaf, but I do not see anyone CLOSE to these guys in the system.

        I agree with the sentiment. Just don’t know who the building blocks are.

      • Shaun Doe

        Well it was really more of an idea towards those who would prefer to move the pick than use it. Getzlaf’s and Weber’s deffinetly don’t grow on trees, so some times you have to go to the store and get them that way. It just seemed, to me anyways, like a trade that actually addressed a need that could help the team in the now, rather than the later. As for myself, I am not sure what to do with the pick but I feel for the time being that picking Nail can’t hurt us. We could put him in the minors for one more year to see if he can make it through the next season healthy while burning one more year of Hemsky’s new contract, or we could move one of our roster pieces to make room for him now. Or we could decide we just don’t need him as bad as what some other team is willing to offer. So many options.

        • Wanyes bastard child

          Or we could draft him, play him next year and sort out the contracts/cap issues when it happens.

          Who knows what the next CBA is going to bring or what the cap space is going to be in the next few years, as it stands the raises for Hall and Nuge isn’t going to be that much, Eberle a little more. I can’t see contracts and cap space being as big an issue as everyone is making it out to be.

  • Wax Man Riley

    3 words yet again:

    Yak. U. Pov.

    We score more goal. It not matter how many shoots Canada have. We score more and win. 80,000 boo. We have 40 guys from Siberia with Russian jersey on. They cheer. We win.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    This is 2007 top 10 draft picks see how many panned out…. MOVING DOWN IS DUMB
    1 CHI Patrick Kane

    2 PHI James van Riemsdyk

    3 PHX Kyle Turris

    4 LAK Thomas Hickey

    5 WSH Karl Alzner

    6 EDM Sam Gagner

    7 CBJ Jakub Voracek

    8 BOS Zach Hamill

    9 SJS Logan Couture

    10 FLA Keaton Ellerby