It’s been obvious for weeks that the Edmonton Oilers have extended the contract of general manager Steve Tambellini. Today, the team made it official by way of its Twitter feed:

Edmonton Oilers?@NHL_Oilers

"President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announces the #Oilers have agreed to terms on a new contract for GM Steve Tambellini"

Still waiting on a news release from the team. Stay tuned.



"President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announced today the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms on a new contract for General Manager Steve Tambellini.

Kevin Lowe says, "Three years ago we asked Steve to begin a rebuild which we all know hasn’t been easy.  However, Oilers fans can take some consolation in the fact that Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers."

This past season saw Tambellini and the management team make Edmonton’s second number one overall draft pick with the selection of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

After winning the 2012 Draft Lottery, the Oilers will have the opportunity to select first overall for the third consecutive time. Two years ago they chose Taylor Hall with their first ever number one pick.

Tambellini joined the Oilers on July 31, 2008, after 17 seasons as a member of the Vancouver Canucks management team. The 54-year-old native of Trail, British Columbia, served as the Canucks’ Vice President and Assistant General Manager for three seasons (2005-06 to 2007-08). In his role with the Canucks, Tambellini was involved in all aspects of the team’s hockey operations including contract negotiations, scouting and minor league affiliates.

Tambellini and Lowe have previously worked together as members of Team Canada’s management team, helping lead Canada to success on the international stage. As Director of Player Personnel, Tambellini helped put together the roster that won the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was also a member of the management team for Team Canada’s gold medal triumph at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He also served as the General Manager of Team Canada at the 2003 and 2005 IIHF World Hockey Championships, winning the gold medal in Finland in 2003 and silver in 2005.

Inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, Tambellini played 10 seasons in the NHL after being selected 15th overall in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft by the New York Islanders. A member of New York’s 1980 Stanley Cup championship team, the centre played 553 career NHL games with five NHL teams between 1978-79 and 1987-88. After scoring his first NHL goal with the Islanders in 1979-80, he went on to score 160 goals and 150 assists for 310 career points with 105 penalty minutes with New York, the Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

Tambellini’s hockey roots run deep with Team Canada. Prior to working as a member of the management staff for Team Canada, he represented his country three times in international play. He won a bronze medal with the 1978 Canadian National Junior Team and finished fourth at both the 1981 IIHF World Hockey Championship and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta."

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  • Quicksilver ballet

    We can only pray more than half of this contract turns out to be a severance package. Katz figured Tambellini could help take the Oilers to the next level in 2009, long before the rebuild went into action. How is he going to be the guy again at it if he’s already failed once?

    The optics of rewarding failure could carry a heavy price. Katz had a chance to bury the other half of the Souray debacle. The shaming of this franchise continues…

    Thinking there was a legitimate concern about Tambellinis performance amongst season ticket holders. This is probably why they waited till the lions share of renewals were completed before making this announcement.

  • Lexi

    Has he made any good signings? I think his improvement of our AHL affiliate, his depth defensive signings (which in time will show to be brilliant picks) and signing (maybe not re-signing) Ryan Smyth were all great. Also, good call on Ryan Jones. The guy gets paid nothing, hardly plays, and still puts up respectable numbers.

    I think we’re all getting a little too impatient. True, being praised for loosing is kind of ridiculous, but I still think Tambo has done a nto horrible job with the rest of the club, and has a much further vision than the average fan.

    I mean, we’ve been bad for a while, but there are other teams around the league that have been far worse for far longer. Maybe this will be the year maybe it won’t. Regardless I bet in a few years from now someone here will write an article tracing how Tambo actually built the team we bring to the cup. Much in the same way it wasn’t Brian Burke that built the Ducks who won, it was the previous general manager who I’m sure at the time of his firing was being crucified for having done a terrible job.

    I see the mantra of, we’re a better team than the standings suggest, coming true this year. Both St. Louis and LA were much better teams than initial standings suggested. It took a coaching change in St. Louis, and maybe LA to simply read their team roster, to demonstrate the same situation. In other words, it might not take much to be the team the players think they are capable of being.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    3 years of pure failure and the result is a new contract? Is there any better indication that Tambo is just doing Katz’s and Lowe’s bidding? As far as being a puppet, Tambo is excellent.

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    Reward for failure- Hmmm we will be expecting more of the the same results as long as we have the Klowe and Tambo duo running the show.
    This has to go down as a sad day in Oil history.

  • Pronger's Wife

    It will be interesting to see how long the term is. It will likely be for three years, as they wouldn’t sign the new coach to a contract that’s longer than the GM’s would they?

    If it’s only two years, what coach would want to sign a contract with a new team for only two years?

    Or maybe Klowe went all Horcoff on Tamby and signed him for 6 years…

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    now in (a somewhat sarcastic) defense of Dithers, with the salary cap floor where it is, is it really that easy to get the first overall pick in 3 straight years? I mean to finish last or second last 3 straight years either takes genius or sever incompetence…
    With Tambo unfortunately I’m pretty sure it’s the latter

    • Unfortunately, by that rationale then, we’re rewarding a guy with an extension for coming in last place 2 years in a row and second last for one when a monkey could have done better.

      Not exactly glowing when teams that are willing to barely spend any money can do better than an Oilers team who is actually paying players “not” to come in last place.

  • “Oilers fans can take some consolation in the fact that Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers.”

    Well, anybody could have led this team to consecutive last place finishes along with finishing 29th this season. The question is, other than the easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick, what has Tambellini really done to improve this team? What talent has been acquired since he took over that anyone can envision playing a key role in the future when this team is contending?

    Rewarding mediocrity should be the Oilers management’s motto over these past 6 seasons.

    • Brownlee loves the word meow

      Meow here is the most annoying question heard over and over and over again that makes absolutely no sense…

      “The question is, other than the easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick, what has Tambellini really done to improve this team?”

      The point was NOT to improve the team. If he had improved the team then the “easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick” would not have happened. The “easy part” was the outcome of not improving the team.

  • Lexi

    His extension is whatever, but the rationale is insane. There is nothing challenging about what Tambellini has had to do. In fact, he’s probably had the easiest GM job in the NHL.

    #1 picks three years in a row are easy and he’s really only been a supervisor not having to make the decision himself. He’s made no trades of value, (in fact his trades have worked out poorly) he’s signed no real difference makers in terms of UFA (in fact his signings have been suspect) and he’s been lucky to not have to answer for the teams poor performance because they’ve been “rebuilding”.

    The initial stages of a rebuild are easy — tank it and select high. It’s the middle stages where everything counts. He better make sure he’s ready to actually make some calls.

    • Dude, building a hockey team isn’t easy! You must be the smartest man in the world. Tell me what you would do and lay out your plan. Let us know that you could do better with UFA’s. Oh, that’s right, your just on a blog site, not in Oilers Management. I think ST could have done worst, and by my estimation, he was a big part of building one of the most promising young hockey teams in the NHL. That goes far beyond drafting #1 over the past 3 years. Look at what’s in the system and not just what is playing in the NHL. There is substance there.

      • vetinari

        Yes, Steve Tambellini could have done worse. The Oilers under his watch could have finished 30th in all three seasons. So, not much worse, but you are technically right.

        I honestly am completely baffled that there’s defenders of Steve Tambellini in this fanbase still. He’s shown himself in four years to be completely unable to bring in ANY impact players, other than through drafting first overall. He’s swung and missed on free agents and a large number of the players he has brought in have played worse in Edmonton than anywhere else, suggesting either they were poor fits or the club didn’t know how best to use them.

        He’s burned through three coaches in four years, including both members of the coaching “dream team” that he unveiled after his first season at the helm. Between him and Lowe, it is unclear where they expected the team to be in 2009-10 or in 2011-12. There are suggestions that they realized they would be bad and just rolled with it (imagine how that must feel to a player who’s giving it all on the ice to have the management say they never thought that it would be a playoff year and they were fine with that all along?) but at the same time there are plenty of indications (including flat-out quotes) that suggest they did intend a jump up the standings, but were completely unable to accomplish it.

        The management likes to talk about making sure that there’s a winning culture in the dressing room, but these are the guys who are celebrating a third consecutive first overall pick. It’s inconsistent and if the culture in the boardroom isn’t one looking for wins, then that will filter down to the dressing room pretty quickly.

      • DieHard

        Am I “smartest man in the world”? Of course not. I’m not even the most interesting which is reserved for the Dos Equis guy.

        An NHL GM? Nope. But if you read the whole post, I’m not against the Tambellini signing. I’m against the rationale for the Tambellini signing.

        To answer your question though, and provide just a couple examples, I’d never have given an over 35 yr goalie on the decline a 4 yr contract. I’d not have traded Erik Cole at the deadline instead asking the coach to play him in the right position. I’d have addressed the blue line last year with much more aggressiveness than Cam Barker. I’d have signed some veteran depth in case of injury which has killed this team. And I’d have let Stu MacGregor do his job, like Steve Tambellini has done.

        MacGregor and his scouting staff are to thank for the AHL and international hockey depth. Not Tambellini.

        To give any credit to Tambellini might be in the Potter, Jones or Dannis picks up. That’s about it.

        And Tambellini hasn’t begun building a team yet. He’s torn one down, let his scouting staff build one and is now at the point where building the pieces around the current draft picks becomes critical.

        Time will tell if he can do that.

  • So the gist of the press release seems to say “Steve has had an outstanding record of failure leading to the team draftng Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and (soon) Nail Yakupov. Oilers real GM President of Hockey Operations was quoted as saying “Yay Steve!””

    • Brownlee loves the word meow

      Meow I think the term “rebuild” implied that the team was gonna tank, and Oiler fans were directly told it would take some time.

      Since that is exactly what happened I dont think anyone can use the term “failure”.

      The GM has successfully tanked on purpose 3 years in a row. With out this happening, the Oilers would not have Hall, RNH, and soon Yakupov.

      • That’s not accurate.

        The G.M. has successfully tanked for two years in a row (and by his own statements expected significantly better results this year).

        2009-10 was not a deliberate tank job. 2009-10 was a team built with the objective of making the playoffs finishing last in the NHL.

        • book¡e

          This is as overly simplistic as those who call that season a tank job. When Khabbi went down Tambellini announced the tank was on. He could have chose to pick up a goalie and a few parts to perhaps end up 23rd or something. So, yes, that was a failed effort at building a competitive team, but 2/3 of the season was an intentional tank.

        • Brownlee loves the word meow

          Meow it is hard to judge if it is accurate or not.

          I think the real shift was not getting Heatley and subsequently the plan changed. The brakes were tapped after that happened. They tried to win with what they had to work with after that and realized it wasn’t going to work. Did they try and acquire people at the trade deadline that year? Or did they decide to tank it?

          Visnovsky gone
          Staios gone
          Grebeshkov gone

          • Brownlee loves the word meow

            Meow you left out the other superstars that they grabbed to make this playoff push you are talking about… Chris Minard, Matt Nickerson, Dean Arsene, Mike Comrie(PR Move).

            Like I said… AFTER the Heatley fiasco, plans changed. They went with what they had, knowing full well they were not going to be good enough to make the playoffs. Did they tank harder than expected? maybe. Did they make a choice to tank harder before the deadline? absolutely.

  • Either way, I tell you what. When he was hired and given the mandate to build a horrible club, One so bad that it would spend years as the laughing stock of the West, he took it to heart. Some might say that he was so keen on that mission that he started doing it BEFORE Katz even MENTIONED the word rebuild.