The Edmonton Oilers have procured boatloads of elite level young talent. That requires a loyal fanbase, an owner willing to buy in (or in this case suggest) on a rebuild, an effective scouting group and time. To build a winner, there are a few other elements.


"More recently, the Red Wings have been able to build around good players–not only good players, but great players. They did a good job drafting other guys, now they can be patient with their other players. Kenny (Holland) can argue that it’s a strategy, I think it is more a product of how deep they are. I think more often than not, you succeed by leaving your guys–like a fine wine–to let them play in the minors. I remember being so envious of Kenny over, say the last three to five years. He was so matter of fact about what was going to happen to his team next year and the year after. ‘We have this guy, he’s going to fit in here.’  It was all going to fall into place because he knew he had Datsyuk signed. He knew he had Zetterberg signed. He had Lidstrom signed for two more years. With those guys, you can win."

-KEVIN LOWE, Behind the Moves

I believe there is a lot of the Oilers current roadmap in that quote. The signings of Hall and Eberle–perhaps imminent based on credible sources like Ryan Rishaug–would represent the first two of four ‘franchise’ contracts to be negotiated during the last days of the rebuild. Get those gentlemen signed to reasonable, long term deals and it sets the outer marker for Nuge, Nail and the rest.

The other item–and this may partly explain the inertia displayed by the Oilers after noontime July 1–is that the club may finally be willing to ‘roll their own’ role players via the AHL. Although we’ve been talking about a guy like Teemu Hartikainen for a long time now, he is still not a waiver worry this fall! The Oilers could send him down and have him play in OKC for another season. That’s what Detroit would do, difference being it is going to be very difficult to argue that Hartikainen is outside the 12 best forwards on the team–Magnus Paajarvi too for that matter.


Detroit always seems to have the right man in the right spot. Although there are some short term missteps (Dave Lewis as head coach), they are quickly fixed in a precise manner and things roll along as usual. The Oilers have been doing some fine addition in this area over the years, with (imo) Stu MacGregor and Todd Nelson clearly quality in their roles.

The jury is out on the front office trio of Tambellini, Lowe and MacTavish but in fairness the decisions made so far–since the owner suggested rebuild Feb 2010–have had more to do with the draft table than signings and trades. I’d count management victories over the last 5 years as the hiring of Stu MacGregor in his current role, retaining Ales Hemsky, bringing back Ryan Smyth, improving the farm system and winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes.  Your mileage may vary.


We’ve been in a black and white, two channel world for several years now but the foundation seems solid, the leaks are slowing being fixed and the improvements up front give massive curb appeal.

Upate: word from Bob McKenzie’s twitter is that the Oilers and Taylor Hall have concluded negotiations on a 7-year, $42M contract. MUSIC! 

  • RexLibris

    I think the best thing about the Hall signing is that $6 million a year is now the line in the sand. If Eberle, Yakupov and perhaps even Nugent-Hopkins (though I’d go a little higher for a center) all come in around that number we will be set.

    I’d like to hear what all the doomsayers say now. I imagine they will compare the length of this contract to the DiPietro one and troll about Hall being injured the entire duration.

    Trolls = envy = we’re doing something right.

  • If Steve Tambellini gives more money to Eberle than to Hall, we officially know he is literally two decades behind.

    I could almost understand giving them identical contracts, as if the cap hit is low enough, it might send the message to Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins that they will have to take money in the same range. If the cap hit for both of them is long-term and under six million, I could live with overpaying Eberle slightly.

    If they give Hall six and Eberle 6.5, though, they’re just begging for Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins to demand seven or eight coming off of superior offensive seasons.

  • Mantastic

    Hallsy is here for 8 more years (7 as part of the new contract, 1 on his existing). Great news. $6M is a good number, and in 8 years, that will be a steal. Beware though: 2020 will come quicker than you think.

        • DieHard

          Really man…..would not have everyone done the same thing?? His contract was due to expire next year, the CBA is ongoing, and others have to be signed?

          This hardly consitutes a management victory……..if Tamby want to impress us, do something totally on your own, that the fanbase is not expecting. A major trade for current unperforming talent, acquistion of draft choices, sigining a UFA that no one expects to come here, now that would be impressive.

          • Wax Man Riley

            I have to sort of agree with Rama Lama. Tambo still has not proven anything. Lowe and MacT orchestrated Schultz’s signing. Smyth traded himself (props to Tambo for the re-up though). Apparently (can someone find me a link??) Lowe did the Hemsky deal. A monkey could have picked Yakupov, but I guess … props to Tambo for putting this team in last place for the Yak pick, I guess??

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            Does the sun ever shine where you live?? It’s a great day for the Oil, you’re allowed to be positive for once.

            Your schtick is getting old. Even John Travolta agrees. I watched a movie of him last night and he kept singing RAMALAMAISADINGDONG.

          • DieHard

            ” A major trade for current unperforming talent”
            Need to drop the word “major” then.

            “acquistion of draft choices”
            What, a 4th rounder for Omark?

            “sigining a UFA that no one expects to come here”
            like Schultz?

            Sorry, this is all still part of a HUGE rebuild. From the ground UP!

  • Lowetide

    pelham: I don’t know that the GM can be credited with a lot of those victories. Smyth traded himself, Hemsky negotiated with Lowe, MacGregor and his group drafted the kids.

    I don’t know that Tambellini is the wrong man in the GMs chair, but I don’t know if he’s the right guy either.

    Suspect the Hall/Eberle contracts will be major tells.

    • paul wodehouse

      …your point is well taken, I can see you are clearly sitting on the fence though and i wish you wouldn’t say “i don’t know” because you sir DO KNOW …MacT has a Masters in Business and while I think he was supposed to get the coaching job in Van City after Vigneault failed to get his team a SC two years in a row MacT always had the trump card that is his position now with the Oilers…[see OldBoysClub]not sure what our GMs’ credentials [educationally speaking] are but I find him to be the weakest link in the chain of [command]management…and so now that that Hall is signed and everyone is falling all over themselves with the news people are in fact crediting our GM… some say it makes sense that it was our GM who did the work but for me it was MacT who put the paper in front of #4, it was Kevin who put the pen in his hand and it was Bobby Orr who said over the speaker phone … Do It Kid, trust me you won’t regret it… oh and our GM was sent out to get the fruit trays at Safeway for the office party…

  • Clyde Frog

    Every time I read that the rebuild was Katz’s idea, I get a little bit depressed that our management crew didn’t have the collective brainpower to realize it was necessary.

    • book¡e

      I remember reports of Tambellini pushing for it with resistance from Lowe and Katz at first. Katz eventually bought in, but I think Tambellini was the driver.

    • RexLibris

      I’ve done a series over at FlamesNation about rebuilds and one major factor that keeps recurring is that it almost always has to come from the very top.

      Don Maloney tried to tear the team down and rebuild when he was the Islanders GM back in the 90s. The fans revolted and he was fired. Instead they put Mike Milbury in his place.


      If Tambellini, or Lowe for that matter, went to Katz and said “let me trade this rag-tag group away, stink the joint up for a couple of years, and then we’ll come on like a house on fire” Katz may have inquired about his employee’s prescriptions. But because Katz had the intellectual honesty (I love throwing that word in here) to admit that things weren’t working and that the painful process was the right medicine (last pharmacy joke, I promise) it can be implemented systemically.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      As it sits right now: Avg 1C, Avg 2C, Above Avg 3C, Above Avg 4C.

      Need an average goalie a first pairing Dman and a depth Dman (4/5).

      Outside of a 1D, the rest is childs play

      • Spydyr

        My take

        Above Avg 1C below Avg 2C Avg 3C Below Avg 4C

        Need a starting Goalie definitely above Avg

        Top pairing D and Mid 3/4 pairing D

        More size and grit in the top 6

        • OilLeak

          Key words: As it sits right now.

          RNH is at this point of his career still at average 1st line center, due to his short comings like his road production, defensive game, and faceoff ability. He will most likely be an above average 1st line center in his career, but at this point he is not.

          Gagner is at least an average 2nd line center, calling him below average at this point due to perceived lake of intangibles or size is just wrong. Look at his production viewed side-by-side with other 2nd line centers and you’ll see that he compares quite favourably.

          Horcoff is an above average 3rd line center as he has had to do the teams dirty work for years while not getting absolutely runned over, he will benefit with some easier assignments over the next few years.

          Belanger SHOULD be an above average 4th line center as his track record indicates that he was an above average 3rd line center for a great deal of time. Even with a considerable drop in his overall play, Belanger should improve next season and fill the role of a quality 4th line center very well, poor complementary wingers not withstanding.

          • Spydyr

            As it sits right now.I agree with most of your points.

            I was thinking more moving forward.It is not like they are going to win the cup this year.

            Gagner may have the points but all the intangibles are pointing downward as a number 2 center.

            Horcoff was an above average 3 center two years ago.Unfortunately he was playing 1 center.

            Belanger appears to be on the downside off his career but may have a bounce back year,

  • Clyde Frog

    It’s pretty true when you have 4 of your top 6 and an elite #1 all locked up every year; it takes a hell of a lot of pressure off the GM to plug holes NOW.