ARMCHAIR GM XIV: GOT BALLS?

When July began I complimented Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini for doing some nice work, mostly of the housekeeping variety, this off-season but suggested there was more to do. As August approaches, we’re still waiting on that.

Landing former Anaheim Duck property and UFA defenseman Justin Schultz made for some justified excitement with the fans on the heels of the selection of Nail Yakupov at the Entry Draft, but everybody with a functioning brain stem realizes there is more to do – specifically, putting the right players in a package that will land the Oilers another top four defenseman.

That won’t happen by tossing spare parts at a GM – the Spin-o-rama shootout guy from Sweden, Corey Potter and a box of tape. It’ll take a top-six forward (Sam Gagner), one of the four or so bottom-pairing caliber defensemen the Oilers have looking for a roster spot and a prospect. In other words, a deal that sends out two of three bodies and returns only one. This, we know.

It’ll mean identifying the right defenseman and picking up the phone willing to part with a player who has real value from a depth position to get a player of value where the depth remains questionable. Does Tambellini, who I recall saying more than once this off-season he intends to change the complexion of the team, most likely by trade, have the wherewithal to pull it off?

Again, I don’t have a problem giving Tambellini credit where it’s due, but if you look through his portfolio as Edmonton’s GM, is there a trade that stands out to you as a big bang win for the Oilers – a put-it-together transaction that was both ballsy and smart? I don’t.

No time like the present . . .

WHILE I’M AT IT . . .

. . . So, according to an item Saturday by Jonathan Willis, "Linus Omark believes he’ll be an NHLer in 2012-13." I "believe" I’ll be on the cover of GQ Magazine in 2012-13 as well. That doesn’t mean there’s a chance in hell of that happening, but I’m certainly free to believe it might.

Perhaps, as Willis pointed out, something actually was lost in the translation – like the part about the over/under on NHL GMs who’d have even the slightest interest in the one-trick Swede (and Omark isn’t even all that prolific at his one trick) is probably two, and those are maybes.

. . . Shane Doan is a helluva player and is leader of men, but if he’s expecting a four-year contract for $30 million at the age of 35 to leave Phoenix, he won’t have to worry about the need for a moving van unless there’s an NHL owner out there who has fallen down the stairs and hit his head in recent days.

Sorry, but $7.5 million a year for Doan at this point in his career would be an over pay of biblical proportions. I get it that Doan wants to cash in on his final contract and that Jason Strudwick is a Kamloops alum, a former teammate and a friend, but listening to him trying to justify how Doan is worth a tall stack like that on Jason Gregor’s show Friday made me squirm.

NOT SO FEARLESS PREDICTION

. . . If Tambellini doesn’t get anything done in the way of adding another top four defenseman, I see the roster as it stacks up now missing the playoffs but finishing ahead of the Calgary Flames in the standings for the first time in a decade (I had this discussion on Twitter the other day) in 2012-13.

Aided by the new software I acquired for the Bronte 5000, my best guess is the Flames (90 points in 2011-12) will drop off by five points or so, putting them in or around 85 points. I see the Oilers (74 points in 2011-12) improving by 12-15 points, putting them in the range of 89. They’ll come up short of a post-season berth for the seventh straight year but finish ahead of the Flames.

AND . . .

. . . If you look at the Twitter rankings of people covering the NHL and combine MSM types with bloggers, Eklund rates third behind only Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger of TSN in terms of followers. One of these three is not like the others . . .

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

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      Right on. Good to see a fellow shift worker here at ON. I take it the hall means firehall? Regardless, if you’re being paid to comment here then it must be a good gig.

  • Good read RB

    I really think the Oilers are done for the summer, I don’t see them improving the club much beyond as you see it now.

    I think the Oiler’s don’t want to do anything till the CBA is completed which should take them close to the start of the season, by that time it maybe to late to really complete anything they really need on the trade front anyways.

    A couple things are bugging me, why only one year deal for Samwise? Is it because they want to see if he takes the next step? Is it because the Oilers want a 1-B option instead of a 2nd line center option? A Lazar –Mackinnon – Barkov – Shinkaruk – Monahan are all extremely good draft options to be front line players and all are centers.

    If the Oilers are on a five year plan, as been mentioned by the Oilers then I’m sure it’s also backed by Katz, So it would make sense the Oilers try and get the most out of players like Gagner, Hemsky and Whitney this year to up there trade value come next year or for Whitney at the trade deadline.

    So with Klefbom coming next year, it make more sense to use players like Gagner, Hemsky, Whitney next year to go after that top defensemen and the other pieces the Oilers need.

    If the Oilers are intent on sticking to there plan, then I don’t see the Oilers or Tambellini making a ballsy trade anytime soon. I see a bottom 8 team with a shot at a really great player and the pieces need to move for Weber.

    There’s always next year.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Since it takes two to tango is it possible that our GM has not yet found a team willing to part with a valuable commodity like a top 2 defenceman? I am not a Tambo-apologist but his lack of success on the trade front may not be his fault. I think that if we enter next season with the present line-up, knowing that prospects like Musil and der bomber are a year away, well, it won’t be that bad. Not having Hasbeenbulin stinking for 40 games(if DD is for real) will help our present D immensely.

  • Cervantes

    I think it’s obvious that Tambo doesn’t have the stones to pull off a notable trade. I’m pretty sure the not awful ones that have passed his way (POS for Jimmy VDM, for instance) were someone else’s idea.

    However, now that Mac T is on board, I think that adds some spice to things.

    I can see either Gagner + for a top d, or Whitney (with a medical report and a games played conditional) and pick/parts getting us a replacement / younger mid level d. Does anyone on the Oilers management have the stones to offer our first, a roster player and a prospect? No, probably not. I’d be surprised if they have the wherewithal to get a mid level pick for shipping MVP to a team needing to make the cap floor. I love my copper and blue, but this management team just doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to make hard choices and risky calls. Not saying we need Burke, but when Katz fires Tambo, it will be a happy day.

  • Eddie Edmonton

    Ek is just like Bob and Darren, its just that the two work for TSN and get the backing of MSM. But all three of their rumour accuracy is at 2%.

    I hope the Oilers make a trade before the beggining of the season, but I highly doubt it.

    @Robin You related to Jack, as in Nicholson?

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      do you watch TSN? McKenzie and Dreger are actually plugged in with insiders in the NHL. They have actual phone conversations,texts, and emails with people inside NHL organizations. Everything I’ve seen or heard from and about Eklund is he throws everything including the kitchen sink against the wall and sees what sticks.