With the Entry Draft in the rear-view mirror, the best UFAs already picked over and the Edmonton Oilers wrapping up their development camp, GM Craig MacTavish could pack for Kelowna and spend several weeks doing nothing more taxing than kicking back or slapping around a golf ball.

MacTavish won’t slip into holiday mode, of course, and that’s because he’s not anywhere near satisfied with what he’s managed to accomplish in the last few weeks, a period in which he envisioned re-shaping his Oilers at the draft and through free agency in his first off-season in the big chair.

That was abundantly clear when MacTavish, who’d rather under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around – especially in what he foreshadowed as a summer of "bold moves" – spoke with reporters at the conclusion of development camp.

At a time when a lot of GMs will be retreating to the lake or the golf course or wherever they go to recharge their batteries after rolling the dice on teenagers at the draft and throwing big stacks of money at fading free agents, it says here MacTavish isn’t nearly done massaging his roster, or at least trying to. No chance. No way. Take that to the bank.


"I’m still hopeful that we can get one other thing done here in the next little while, short little while,” MacTavish said. "Then it’s just trying to continue to have those discussions, trying to get another piece that can start to excite me in terms of how our team is shaping together.

"The UFA pick-ups (Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon and Jason LaBarbera) are going to really help us. I’d like to do one or two other things before we’re happy."

"Another piece," like a bonafide centre, a top-pairing defenseman or the kind of top-six winger the Oilers pursued in David Clarkson? "One or two others things," like getting that one piece in exchange for a package that includes Ales Hemsky? Not an unreasonable conclusion, given that pulling the trigger on Hemsky is MacTavish’s likeliest next move.

"I’m a little frustrated," admitted MacTavish, who has worked the phones every day for weeks and did a long, although ultimately fruitless, waltz with Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren in pursuit of Braydon Coburn on the draft floor in New Jersey.

"I had certain objectives in mind and I’m going to be able to accomplish some of those things, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to accomplish all the things I wanted to do."

You can listen to MacTavish’s session with reporters here.


While none of MacTavish’s acquisitions to this point fall under the "bold moves" he talked about, there’s no question he’s been in the mix. I’d go as far as to suggest ridding the Oilers of Shawn Horcoff’s contract is something of a coup in itself.

I like MacTavish’s signing of Andrew Ference, the player, even with the deal being for too much term and too much money. I like what the Oilers get in Boyd Gordon, the player, as long as he ends up being the fourth-line centre. I like the acquisition of Jason LaBarbera as a fit behind Devan Dubnyk.

What I like most is that MacTavish recognizes the moves he’s made so far don’t address all the needs and holes in his roster and that, even with mid-July approaching, my bet is he’ll spend a lot more time pursuing those needs than reading putts or sipping sangria by the lake. Check the transaction timelines of a lot of GMs, including MacTavish’s predecessor here, and you’ll see that is not always the case.

Is there still time for bold this off-season? Sure, but MacT will need a dance partner because there’s nobody who qualifies as such left in the free agent pool, meaning bold will have to come by way of a trade. Hemsky might be a start on that, but it’ll take a package of players because the Czech winger alone won’t get MacTavish what he seeks. I’d suggest you stay tuned over the "next little while, short little while."

No chance MacT is done yet.

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

  • Bucknuck

    I wish MacTavish hadn’t used the word “Bold”. No matter what he does everyone is going to whine because it wasn’t ‘bold’ enough.

    For me, I don’t care about the bold as long as it’s comprehensive. Six new faces so far is plenty comprehensive, and I expect there to be more changes, too.

    I’m pretty happy, even though nothing he’s done so far is very bold, except switching out Horcoff and adding Boyd.

    • Word to the Bird

      You know I’m wondering when he made that comment a couple of months ago if he wasn’t referencing what he will have to do as a gm at some point in time.That “Bold” move might be next year at the draft or the year after to get that, Mike Richards/ Jeff Carter type of move to push the team over the top and win the cup. I’m not convinced that “bold” move will happen this summer. For the most part the core of this team is very young and we have know idea how good they are going to be, my guess MPS will be worth more in a trade 2 yrs from now than he is right now. I like what MacT has done so far I do think the players that were added will make us better…playoffs?? not sure we are there yet

  • DSF

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 27s

    #Oilers acquire David Perron (@DP_57) from the @StLouisBlues in exchange for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 second-round draft pick.

    • Bucknuck

      If correct , I wonder how many of them that ran you down will now be whistling a new tune ? If indeed so , i’d like to see them also get M.A. Cliché out of L.A. (Perron’s old centerman ) for cheap , and maybe reunite them , and perhaps throw in Clifford for good measure .

      First addition that actually has some excitement to it from my perspective . Top six now looks set with second wave being Perron , Gagner (or replacement ) and Yakupov .Perron is handy as he can also revert to center as well .

      Like to see a good enforcer here during regular season in the form of local boy John Scott (6Ft.8in. -270lbs. ).

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    MPS + 2nd rounder (2014) for David Perron – this just happened.

    Way to go, Mac T.

    You just got rid of the ultimate 2nd Line LW for our young group, and the better player in the long run.

    Jason Chimera
    Sean Brown

    …never having a chance – blindly.

    Move Kevin Lowe now, before more is done to destroy our franchise while we see the better young player on another team.

    God I hate our management!

    • Bucknuck

      PRV for Perron, LW with a concussion history but also fills a hole on the second line seems to be pretty decent. If the #2 pick turns out to be anything, that will be more based on skill or luck by St. Louis’ scouting staff, than on the value of the pick itself.

      Good call Brownlee.

  • Bucknuck

    @ Bucknuck,

    Sorry I linked to your name then forgot to comment. lol

    When I think of bold, I don’t think of PRV for Perron. It’s a solid move, taking on some risk Perron will stay healthy enough to fill that hole on the second line and that PRV doesn’t finally become the player Oiler fans waited for.

    Should be fun to watch.