There's no shortage of work to do for Oilers general manager Steve Tambelli

For the second straight year, the Edmonton Oilers are on the clock. But there’s much more on general manager Steve Tambellini’s to-do list this off-season than merely picking first at June’s NHL draft. Retaining the top pick in the draft lottery — a selection the Oilers used to take Taylor Hall last year — is indeed a good place to start. However, given Edmonton finished last for a second straight season, Tambellini has plenty of work to do.
“This is the time to be having these opportunities as far as selecting,” said Tambellini. “This window here within this couple years, it fits into exactly what we need as far as the age group here right now. “You look at the age group of the players who just came into the lineup who have been here for a couple of years, we’ve added back-to-back first overall picks. This is the time to do it.” Tambellini was hard at it Wednesday, signing centre Tyler Pitlick to a three-year entry level contract. Pitlick, 19, had 27 goals and 35 assists this season in 56 games with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers after being selected 31st overall by Edmonton last year. On Tuesday night, Edmonton became just the second team in NHL history to get the first overall pick two straight years — the Ottawa Senators did it in 1995 and 1996. New Jersey actually won the lottery, but since rules dictate teams can only move up four spots, the Devils moved from eighth to fourth, leaving Edmonton with the top pick. “This is part of the plan we talked about, of how we were going to rebuild,” Tambellini said. “These are players we are going to be selecting in June who are going to play for the Oilers and be a big part of it.” Regardless of whether Edmonton takes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a speedy centre with the Red Deer Rebels, Adam Larsson, a defenceman from the Swedish Elite League, or Kitchener Rangers forward Gabriel Landeskog, the player will represent just one piece of the puzzle for a team that posted a 25-45-12 record in 2010-11.

49 Responses to There's no shortage of work to do for Oilers general manager Steve Tambelli

  1. hockey_lover says:

    Hopefully, the Oilers can turn it around.

    Building through the draft is never a certainty but it can work. The Pens and the Hawks are examples of drafting a team to success. The Isles are team that have floundered at it.

  2. reinjosh says:

    It took Chicago and Pittsburgh a long time too.

    NYI haven't floundered too much. They started the rebuild around the same time the Leafs did, so a couple more seasons doing it the draft way are needed. It always takes time. I'm not going to launch into a rebuild spiel but they are on the right track lol.

    Columbus is probably the biggest example of floundering, with Florida a close 2nd. Columbus has picked no LOWER than 8th in its entirety of existence save for one year and all they to show for it is one playoff ass kicking.

  3. futurebruin says:

    The Bruins should put some kind of electric dog collar on Kaberle.  Was he like this in Toronto, Leafs fans?

  4. cam7777 says:

    I think, like so many mid-season acquisitions, he just hasn't had time to figure out his teammates and gel with the team.  I also think the media is being unnecessarily harsh on him in-game because it's an indirect stab at the Leafs.  They'll throw any kind of punches they can. 

    For example, that "hooking" call against him last night was total bullshit.  If that was called against a Leaf, I would have lost my mind.  Kaberle is one of the least penalized players in the league and that was not a penalty.  Still, the CBC crew went on and on about it being an infraction, and acting like Kaberle was a lazy piece of shit who had no idea what he was doing in the playoffs.  Ridiculous over-reaction.  Later, his giveaway was ill-timed, obviously, but lack of communication goes both ways.  I forget who #44 on the B's is, but he was equally at fault in my opinion.  Had Chara made that pass, the announcers would have been saying that #44 should have been following the play better and communicating to big Z.  But it was Kaberle, so he's a pile of shit.

    Talking from experience, the only way to get Kaberle to turn it around is to over-play him.  He got 20 minutes last night, but he can play 27.  I actually thought he was one of the very few Bruins who, once in the attacking zone, could create space for himself and allow the play to develop.  However, he was having a hard time making an actual attack once he did so.  Give him more time, he'll come out of it. 

  5. cam7777 says:

    Yes, people forget what a long epic failure both Chicago and Pittsburgh endured.  It wasn't just "oh, rebuild time, good to go in 2 years".  No, it was 5 years of tanking, followed by 2 years of sucking, followed by FINALLY turning the corner and just making the playoffs.  It's a 7-8 year process that the Oilers only just began last summer.

  6. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I'm going to play devils advocated and say…Yes, this is what you do get from him.

    He's a great offensive player, can QB a PP, break-out passes, etc.

    BUT…He does give up bad turnovers A LOT of times, he takes dumb pealties, cannot handle a forecheck, etc.

    And Cam…you said he hasn't figured out his teammates, then he obvously did not figure them out with his many years with the Leafs. Same things, different team.

    The same good offensive d-men, but with some horrible defensive habits.

  7. Boston_Bruins says:

    Ugh… don't even get me started on this guy.

    I don't know about you but I was kind of rattled by that loss. Usually I just have that "It's just one game" attitude, but I'm just not feeling it right now at all. It's just something about the Habs, and there's nothing worse than playing in Montreal during the playoffs. So that leaves tomorrow's game as basically a must-win, and we all know how they play under pressure.
    And Gionta clearly has Timmy and Tuukka figured out. He's scored in 6 of the 7 games this year.

  8. cam7777 says:

    That's a really unfair comment based almost entirely on media derived stereotypes.  Fact is, Kaberle is a career plus player despite scoring the bulk of his points on the PP.  Until the last few years, he was the team's top PK guy for years – a fact forgotten by most Leaf fans like yourself.

    Dumb penalties?  Where does that come from?  He's a Lady Byng candidate with his lack of penalties.  That forecheck comment is just ridiculous.  Some people just assume that because Kaberle doesn't get in the corners and grind it out that he's useless.  Not true.  He's just effective in different ways.  Uses his stick and his brain.  Like I said, both those plays last night were not his fault, yet you and everyone else bought the sales job by CBC.

    The problem in Boston is that he HASN'T been the same old good offensive defensemen.  His points have dried up.  As for the comment about not getting it in Toronto…umm, what?  He is 2nd in league scoring by defensemen since the lockout.  Think he knew how to put points on the board in Toronto, even though we turned the roster over every year.

    You want to come up with legitimate criticisms of Kaberle, are we just going to let CBC brainwash us?  Sorry, but I just don't buy any of this shit that's been said about the guy year in and year out.  The statistical equivalent to Markov, yet you'd never hear this nonsense said about him.  It's ridiculous.

  9. hockey_lover says:

    Incorrect. Tanking implies its on purpose. They just plain sucked and couldnt win. Big difference.

  10. hockey_lover says:

    lol you need to get to therapy for some anger management man. Your posts are borderline insane.

    Chill the ***** out man lol

  11. cam7777 says:

    Umm, alright then.  Sorry, I thought these kind of sites were for arguing and discussing hockey.  You're right though, I'll just fall in line so I don't sound insane:

    "lol, koolz man, Kaberle sucks.  Same old shit as in Toronto!! Turnovers and dumb penalties is all he can do!!"

  12. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I always disliked Kaberle, I just boosted him for trade reasons. That is not a hidden fact.

    -PK??? Look at our PK and defend that. Players do not have a few good PK years and then all of a sudden dissapear???

    -The comment about his teammates are his defensive tactics, he never was a solid defensive defencemen. Okay, so he has a solid Plus…So does Mike Green, and the knock on Mike Green is his D. The general rule for teams against Was is…If you hit Mike Green, he will become softer. And same with Kaberle, if you hit Kaberle, more often then not he will make a silly turnover.

    -CBC did not brainwash me…I always had these feelings about him, never liked him. Better trade chip for me then anything. Ask anyone on this site…

    -I said he was a good offensive d-men…So get your fact straight, I just said he does not play good defence.

    -Would rather have Markov, more solid defensively actually and has a big shot. Something Kaberle does not really have…You can argue that he does, but if a player is scared to use a shot, their is obviously something wrong with it

  13. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Thank you…Now you're seeing my point. Great that we can agree 🙂

  14. Kramer says:

    Kaberle owes a ton to the local riff raff near Boston. When he pays his debts, he's gonna be back to normal.

  15. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I watched the Chicago Blackhawks for the last while now (maybe 10 games before season ended), and everyone says the major problem is no "Byufglien" or "Versteeg", you know what I've noticed?

    -Keith and Seabrook look like complete crap in the backend. I can't believe a year ago they won Olympic Gold and the Stanley Cup and played the way they did…What a difference a year makes?

    -Jonathan Toews has not looked any better…

    -The worst…Might be Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa? What the hell's wrong with Kane? This guy nearly single-handily won USA Gold last year at the Olympics, scored the Stanley Cup's game winning goal, and IMO maybe the best player in last years playoffs. Hossa led Slovakia to an impropable run at the Olympics last year and was very good in the playoffs. He has dissapeared as well…

    The teams in some sort of Stanley Cup Hangover. Which is a problem when your team is ran by youth and no veterans….

  16. reinjosh says:

    Keith has been a disappointment. He's played on pace with every other season but last. The question is, is he capable of playing like he did last season long term? Or is he more a 45 point guy.

    Just wondering what your expecting from Patty Kane?

  17. TheLeafNation91 says:

    In terms of Kane, I've loved this guy from day one. One of my favourite players. He can change a game in one play. I think he should be named as one of the premier players in the league before this season.

    We haven't seen it this year…He looks he's playing with no heart because he already has accomplished so much in the last year.

    He has that bad boy reputation, party boy because he's a superstar, and I think its really affected his play. He's still very immature if you ask me.

    Keith looks like a one-year wonder…Oh well, atleast he did it during the right year.

  18. cam7777 says:

    I agree wholeheartedly about Keith and Seabrook.  I said even last year that their performances were highly insulated by the insane strength of the team in general.  No one believed me at the time, and had instead anointed Keith the King of all defense men.  Defense-men look good when their team is good.  It's why you'll see Dion Phaneuf look like a Norris candidate when Burke gets this team in order.  Keith and Seabrook are still great D-men, but obviously, not the Gods they were made out to be.

    Toews and Hossa are just exhausted I think.  They've carried this team all year long. Kane is a different story though.  I've heard that all of the guys jettisoned from the roster were part of "Team Kane", so to speak (talking about Versteeg, Buff and Skille inparticular), and were mostly chosen to try and get Kane to smarten up and be a more mature person/player – remove the party atmosphere from him so-to-speak.  I honestly believe that the Toews/Kane banter we saw at the All-Star draft, while played up jokingly, has a hint of truth behind it.  They are VASTLY different people that probably clash a little.

  19. Boston_Bruins says: This guy is apparently going to get signed by an NHL team this offseason. No joke.

  20. cam7777 says:

    lol.  Just so you know, that wasn't directed at you necessarily.  I realize it obviously appears that way.  Clearly, you are a more devoted hockey fan than most, since you take the time to post on this site, and surely can defend your reasoning.  It's just that, when I hear those things said, I can't help but think that the vast majority of Leaf Nation just buys into without thinking twice. 

  21. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I agree. Kane is immature and it has really damaged Chicago this year.

    Looking at the roster, theirs no way this team should perform this badly…Let alone be 8th in the West.

    I feel like many players took steps back. Hjalmarsson, Kane, Seabrook, Keith, etc.

  22. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Haha. I always disliked Kaberle unfortunately.

    I'm only on this site between September-April, draft day, and free agency day…lol. It's my procrastinating tool during University.

  23. cam7777 says:

    Wilson didn't like Kaberle on the PK, but that is on the coach not the player.  Maurice and prior coaches used him very effectively in the role.  He clearly is not as absent-minded in his own zone as the media would have us believe.  This is a stigma left on him by three years on a rebuilding team with a coach that didn't trust him.  So, no offense, but it's quite easy for me to defend that.

    Again, I just posted this in the comment above, but the brainwashing comments were not necessarily directed at you in-particular.  It's just, there is so much shit flung at Kaberle just for being part of the Leafs.  The comment you just made about Kaberle and Green Green is also true of Lidstrom, and Chara, who has a history of disappearing in the playoffs when everyone zeroes in on him.  EVERY defense-men turns the puck over when they are hit – that's why you hit.  For some reason though, the media chooses to pick on Kaberle for this, solely because it is an indirect jab at the Leafs.

    Kaberle's shooting dilemma is also greatly exaggerated.  I believe he finished in the top 35 in the league for shots by defensemen, which means he shoots more than 80% of the league's defense-men.  The same ridiculous criticism was thrown at Phaneuf – that he never hits the net.  Well he missed 17 games this year, and still, only 9 defense-men hit the net more than he did.  The reason this has become such an exaggerated part of Kaberle's game is because people are looking for it.  Pick another defense-men, and watch how often they do the same thing – opt for the pass instead of shoot.  You'll notice Kaberle is not as bad as you thought.  Or, you'll notice that a lot of defense-men shoot mindlessly.  Chara was BRUTAL on Thursday, constantly wristing the puck right into the goalie's chest instead of looking for a play.  Didn't hear a word about that though – strangely enough.

    Your Markov comment only solidifies my point. These players are virtually identical, yet there is a perception that Markov does not have any of Kaberle's failings.  Not only is this utter nonsense, but it makes me wonder why even Leaf fans get a real thrill out of ripping apart ex-Leaf players.  Personally, I'm cheering for Kabs – he gave his heart and soul to this organization whether fans wanted to acknowledge it or not.

    Hope this post wasn't too insane for you guys.

  24. cam7777 says:

    I think a big shocker move this year could be Buffalo making an enormous pitch for Patrick Kane.  They love their Kane in Buffalo, and have the owner and the assets to make a big splash now.  No idea what it would take to land Kane, but their system is solid, and coaching seems to be able to turn anyone into a star, so dropping some high profile assets could be recoverable.

  25. cam7777 says:

    Leafs and Sharks are highly interested, lol.

    Toronto would be a good fit for him I think, as he clearly loves the spotlight. 

    However, California seems like it would be his preference with his secondary rapping career on the go.

  26. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Haha. Hey..I never complained.

  27. reinjosh says:

    Does anyone else have the problem of having to sign in multiple times before you are actually signed in? I constantly have to sign in twice and sometimes three times.

  28. reinjosh says:

    At least he's a better rapper than Versteeg lol.

  29. reinjosh says:

    Don't discount the Canadian rap industry. It may not be as big as West Coast rap but its very strong for its size.

  30. cam7777 says:

    I know, wasn't directed at you.

  31. cam7777 says:

    Actually, I was worried you would read hockey_lover's comment and then read mine and hear it with an angry tone.  I wasn't angry, or going insane, or anything – I just love debating this stuff. So thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt.  Just passionate about my Leafs…

  32. cam7777 says:

    Still, California is Hollywood.  What does Burke do with this kid if he signs him though?  We ran with 5 goalies this year, and I think it ultimately slowed Rynnas and Gustavsson's progression a bit, seeing as neither saw the ice in the last third of the year.  He says he's not trading a goalie, and that they believe very strongly in Gustavsson.  But Scrivens was dominate in the AHL, posting identical numbers to Reimer, and Rynnas, once he figured out the North American game, was brilliant as well, picking up a player of the month award.  There is the ECHL, but would Owuya be willing to go there.  The Sharks can offer an AHL team at least.  How strong is the allure of Francois Allaire?

  33. reinjosh says:

    Well that's my question. Besides Allaire, what reason does he have to come here? Its Toronto I guess. Does he have anymore chance in San Jose though? They have Stalock and Sexsmith, both of whom San Jose fans and management are quite happy with along with J.P. Anderson, who has played very well in the OHL. Toss in Greiss and Sateri and its just as deep, if not more so.

    I could see him possibly playing a year in the SEL. That way the goalie position works itself out. One of Scrivens/Rynnas/Gustavsson gets traded or one of Scrivens/Rynnas wins the backup position and Gustavsson is released etc.

  34. FlamingHomer says:

    On one of my computers I can't sign in at all.

  35. frankinboltonleafs says:

    #44 is Seidenberg and he's giving another banner performance tonight. Not sure why he was being paired with Kaberle last game. Chara being out tonight….who on the Bruin D would you pair Kaberle with? I have no idea. I think this is where they came up with that phrase "apples and oranges and dogs sleeping with cats". Kaberle is not a good fit with the Bruins.

  36. Boston_Bruins says:

    They're usually paired together. It's only on the PP that Chara lays with Kaberle. Seidenberg is much better than Kaberle as well, although he hasn't been strong so far this playoffs, but no one on the B's has.

  37. frankinboltonleafs says:

    Wow….really? If you pick up a high end D guy late in the season wouldn't you want to pair him with your best D so they could build some chemistry for the PP? Is that one of the shots on Julien? Did they think Kaberle was another Orr and would just do everything on his own? I honestly thought Kaberle would have been paired with Chara all the time.

  38. Boston_Bruins says:

    I actually like what Julien does with the defense, although the excessive D-to-D passes can get annoying at times. I'm a big fan of playing on of the worst defensemen on the team with Z; he makes them a top pairing guy, and it improves depth.

    The main shots on Julien is that he's unable to make in-game adjustments, he suffocates young talent/doesn't hold vets accountable, and he has a massive crush on Ryder.

  39. Boston_Bruins says:

    Losing to Carolina in game 7 OT in the team's best season in decades, having the most epic collapse in history, and getting swept by the underdog Habs would be way to much playoff heartbreak in 3 years.

  40. TheLeafNation91 says:

    As much as the Bruins and their fans would hate to admit it,

    They need Kessel. Oh well, Leafs draft pick might just get even better

  41. Boston_Bruins says:

    Didn't seem to have any problems in the regular season putting up goals. What we need is for everyone to not disappear when the pressure is on.

  42. reinjosh says:

    So I've questioned whether last season was a bit of a fluke from Doughty but after last night's game, I'm starting to see why people are comparing him to Ray Bourque. Dude is supremely talented.

  43. reinjosh says:

    I think its more than that. The Bruins don't really have anyone with natural scoring talent, at least not like a guy like Kessel. I'm not sure Lucic has that. Seguin could be an answer to that, but he isn't there yet. Sure they can score in the season, but thats easier than the playoffs. I honestly think its a mix of both. Look at successful teams. They all have players with true natural scoring talent. A bunch of playmakers can only do so much.

    The thing is I think Boston has three players who could be successful at it. Lucic is the obvious one but he needs someone to work with and I don't think he works well with Krejci. Seguin needs to grow before being counted on, but if he can be developed properly than he could fit that role. The thing is I question his development.

    The one player I think they have that can really help is Bergeron. In the right situation he could be the guy they need. Julien needs to stop using him as a defensive stalwart and start using him as an offensive piece. Put him with Lucic and Seguin and let the three of them go nuts.

  44. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Very good point, exactly what I was going to say.

    The Bruins has not have a major goal-scoring threat since Kessel left. Yes, Lucic potted in 30, but can he do that on a regular basis? I will say no. He's maybe the best power forward in the NHL, but no way he will snipe 30 consistently throughout his career.

    Kessel, on the other hand, has shown that with or without top-line players, he can.

    Maybe if the Bru went after Kovalchuk, with Lucic and Krejci, now that line should be dangerous.

  45. Boston_Bruins says:

    Don't forget this is only 2 games. Yes, it's tougher to score in the playoffs, but that's true of every team, and a top 5 finish in scoring still bodes pretty well for offense. While they don't have that one guy (I agree Lucic isn't established yet), I believe they were the only team in the NHL to have every forward reach double digits in goals (even Paille was more than on pace to do it in half a season). Add in some pretty good goal production on defense (specifically Chara and Seidenberg) and that is a very deep offensive team. Also remember that the to scorers like Lucic and Horton are only getting 16-17 minutes a night. The team is built on balance.

    Bergeron is in a weird situation. He's constantly being saddled with inferior players, but he's such a huge asset defensively. I think they should put him in better offensive opportunities though.

  46. hockey_lover says:

    While I do see where you are going with this and while I do feel bad for bruins fans as a whole, I REALLY dont think its gonna be a sweep.

    Down 2-0, are they going to lose the series? The odds are in favour of yes (especially, since I read a stat that says the bruins have never come back to win after being down 0-2 .. wow, that surprised me). Anywho, it certainly looks like they might lose, but I dont think they'll sweep.  Small consolation I guess.

    The bruins, as much as I hate them, HAVE had a pretty uncanny spell of back luck in recent years, I gotta say. Its tough man. As a fan of a team who was the poster child of SUCK for quite a few years, I feel your pain.

  47. hockey_lover says:

    This guy is unreal. While this season was a bit of a downer from him but previously AND the Olympics proved to me that this kid is a big gamer. Might take him some time to find his season to season consistancy but man, when this guy is on, he’s ON. Sadly for SJ, he is on now.

  48. reinjosh says:

    Its not an issue of scoring for me, or scoring depth. It's timely scoring. It's easier to score when your up than when you down and easier in the regular season then the playoffs. A natural goal scorer helps, at least a little, to solve that problem.

    Now I will fully admit that you have to deal with Price. That's not exactly an easy situation and it could more than explain the problem. My gut says its more than that though.

  49. DannyLeafs says:

    It's just a simple case of fatigue with a lack of motivation. When you look at it, this is a team that had the highest level of success in the past 16 months or so. There core players right now make up a good chunk of the guys you would have said were the stars of last year's olympics.

    Their Captain won both major championships, both Major championship MVP awards, and followed it up by stepping up and having a career year after the major supporting players were dealt away. I think he is simply out of gas, and after all the success, he likely just isn't as motivated as he would need to be to get through this.

    The same can be said of all their core guys. This team's biggest stars were also stars in the olympics, and a year after all that success, they were asked to step up and be even better after the supporting cast was somewhat dismantled.

    I think the Hawks will rebound, and with some sauvy moves could be back in contention in short order. This simply isn't their year.

    This isn't a knock on them either. I don't care who you are, if you are out of gas, and you have already done it all not that long ago, it's impossible to be as motivated as a more well rested team that hasn't achieved as much as they would have liked. It doesn't mean they don't have heart. It just means they will likely lose this year, and have to regain that motivation in the offseason.

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