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.

  • In a perfect world:

    Whitney plays 90% as well as he did his first season with us.
    Dubnyk posts a .920+ over 60 games played
    J. Schultz posts 35+ pts
    Our pp is top 5 in the league
    Our pk is top 15 in the league
    Yakupov shows the scouts they were right and pots 25 and 25
    Nuge Ebs and Hall all take steps forward
    Hemsky bounces back and pots 15g 35 a
    Gagner goes 20g 30a

    Injuries are equal or better

    …. If all of these things happen, then we are in the playoffs, and Tambi doesn’t have to do much of anything.

    To me, there is one big elephant in the way of all of this happening. That is injuries. Without a physical presence in the top six, this may be unavoidable. I’ve always thought that it should be the player’s job to avoid dangerous areas on the ice… but so long as players like Torres are throwing elbows at Ebs we will need a deterrent. The closest top six player we have that fits the mould would be Harti.. or Eager, but truthfully they both pale in comparison to the players like Lucic.

    I suppose I just hope that Potter doesn’t step on hall’s face and Nuge doesnt ?fall down?. If we can just avoid any fluke injuries of that nature this year could be the year we go from basemen to bubble.

    There is work for Tambi to do, but it isn’t so pressing that he has to force anything.

  • Slapshot

    It’s a good thing Schultz signed with Edmonton,because Tambellini has taken the rest of the month off,By the time he is finished assessing the team,Dithers should be ready for the trade deadline!!!

  • playing Armchair GM…

    1) push hard for Bobby Ryan. He wants out and see if Annihiem is really going to trade him.

    Hemmer, Parjarvii and a conditional pick for Bobby Ryan.

    If the Ducks push for Gagner, I modify the deal and still make the trade. Then look for a stop gap like Arnott.

    2) Although most media guys don’t like fans mentioning trades with Omark because they are usually unreasonable, I still try to off load him to Columbus, Start with a fourth rounder and settle for a sixth or seventh. If that does not work then release him to be UFA.

    3) Wait to see if I can find some sort of deal after movement towards training camp. Talk with Columbus about D men they might be willing to give up.

    It is easy for us to think that Tambo isn’t doing anything, but really who wants to trade what this team may be willing to give up? That is a very likely reason for the lack of trades. GMs from bottom teams making deals are usually m,aking them and loosing the deal. See Toronto and columbus as examples.

  • Once Hall and Hopkins took injury time our results plummeted onto the shoulders of our veterans who burnt up fast . The youngstars still have to carry this team as the rest of base is poor and inadequate . Never took our original club long to form a powerhouse and great base – not with dealers like Pocklington and Sather at the helm . Huge difference in quality from then and now , that is currently running this failed and elongated rebuild now .

    Biggest difference fron old dynasty and todays anti-dynasty is management and owner – not to mention B.Fraser as head scout in his prime .

  • ppg player in ahl, regular in team sweden, paced for 43 points his rookieseason playing mostly 3 line low minutes with scrubs, draw penaltys second in the team behind hall. 60+ games in Nhl and a injury season his second one.That kid isnt evaluated yet, but maybe i hasnt that talentscout vision like a few others.

  • Adding J Schultz is a huge piece! Whitney was better the last 20 & will be better to start the season. Perfect pairing for Schultz! Nothing wrong with Smid & Petry as a pair. Then you have N Schultz to sub in for J Schultz at times to relieve pressure until he’s totally comfortable! Put size on the third pairing with N Schultz in the form of Peckham or Sutton & that D squad looks pretty damn good in my eyes!

    It would be suicide to start trading 19, 20 or 21 year old players with talent at this point! It’s a rebuild, let’s see what we have before sending pieces out in trades!