Time for Tambellini to get pro-active again for an NHL centre

Edmonton Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini moved quickly to get defenceman Mark Fistric from Dallas a few days into training camp after the lockout ended, in part because Theo Peckham had a sore hip and wasn’t in the proper shape. He surprised most of the NHL, getting the abrasive blueliner for an average price, a third-round pick.

He was applauded for his pro-active approach, not even waiting until the season started.

Now it’s time to get cracking for a depth centre, even if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) might be back Saturday after missing Wednedsay’s game and Eric Belanger (broken toes) might give it a shot Sunday in Columbus, which may be overly optimistic because he’s limping around with a running shoe that’s bigger than  his street shoes to get his swollen toes in the footwear.

I know Tambellini is dealing from a position of semi-weakness in a trade scenario with Anton Lander leaving the rink on crutches Wednesday after he took a shot off his foot very early in the 3-2 OT loss to the Stars, and Shawn Horcoff out for a month with a busted knuckle on his right hand. But, the Oilers have to have more depth at the centre ice position. You can’t play NHL games with three centres, and one of those is a winger Ryan Smyth, even as well as he played against the Stars, and the other is Mark Arcobello, who had his NHL coming-out party, getting his first game. The best available centre to the Oilers’ bench Wednesday night was TSN TV analyst Ray Ferraro,  but Ferraro, who played 1,258 NHL games is 48. He’s not volunteering. He likes his TV gig.


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