Outside of the draft, Steve Tambellini has significantly downgraded the talent of his team.
Now that we've had a look back at Steve Tambellini's lackluster additions to the Oilers, it's time to see what names have been sent out the door on his watch. The following is a list of players who played at least one game for the Oilers and left the team via free agency or trade since Tambellini took over on July 31st, 2008. Names from the list of acquisitions are not duplicated here.
That's a much more impressive bunch than the players who were brought in to fill the holes they left behind. In order to fully grasp the difference, I'll match up the two groups by position in depth chart form so you can see for yourself how they stack up against one another. First, here's Tambellini's discarded team:
|Dustin Penner||Andrew Cogliano||Erik Cole|
|Robert Nilsson||Kyle Brodziak||Fernando Pisani|
|Ethan Moreau||Marc Pouliot||Zach Stortini|
|Liam Reddox||Ryan Potulny|
|JF Jacques||Rob Schremp|
|Sheldon Souray||Tom Gilbert|
|Lubomir Visnovsky||Steve Staios|
The first thing you'll notice about this group is obvious: it resembles an actual NHL team. There's some driftwood in there, but plenty of useful pieces as well. In fact, there's a significant chunk of talent that the Oilers could use right now. A sizable, complete centerman in Brodziak; some size in the top six in Cole, and even Penner. Could the Oilers use any of those defensemen? And the goalies for this group are Roloson, Garon and Deslauriers.
Here is the depth chart for Tambellini's additions:
|Ryan Smyth||Mike Comrie||Ales Kotalik|
|Ryan Jones||Eric Belanger||Mike Brown|
|Ben Eager||Patrick O'Sullivan||Jesse Boulerice|
|Lennart Petrell||Colin Fraser|
|Steve MacIntyre||Alexandre Giroux|
|Ryan Whitney||Justin Schultz|
|Nick Schultz||Kurtis Foster|
|Mark Fistric||Corey Potter|
|Andy Sutton||Taylor Fedun|
|Jim Vandermeer||Colten Teubert|
|Aaron Johnson||Cam Barker|
|Shawn Belle||Bryan Rodney|
I forgot to add Mike Comrie to the list of Tambellini's acquisitions in the first article, which of course absolves the general manager of any wrongdoing. If for some reason you still think it's worthwhile to read an indictment of Tambellini, I'll carry on despite this oversight:
Steve Tambellini has tinkered a great deal with his defense, and yet it's still not up to snuff with the defenders he all but gave away. It would be an even more embarrassing comparison if the stars had not aligned so perfectly for the Justin Schultz Sweepstakes. Before that signing the best right-handed defenseman that Tambellini could find was a toss-up between Kurtis Foster and Corey Potter, and he traded one away in Tom Gilbert.
The forward group is a mess as well. Take a moment to imagine an Oilers third line that features Kyle Brodziak. Are you picturing it? Now think about Eric Belanger. Instead of Brodziak, the Oilers have enjoyed the talents of Kyle Bigos and Olivier Roy. Incidentally, the Oilers also gave up a sixth round pick in the Brodziak trade that became goalie Darcy Kuemper. It's difficult to imagine any of the forwards Tambellini has added being terribly important to the rebuild, but one or two names on that first chart could be quite useful.
Tambellini has also transferred the goaltending from Roloson, Garon and Deslauriers to Khabibulin, Gerber and Danis. Devan Dubnyk has been there all along and thankfully he hasn't been traded so the Oilers would have room for a Dominik Hasek comeback.
Based on the evidence, Steve Tambellini must be one of the worst draw poker players in the world. He discarded some pieces that would be useful in both long and short term plans, and received or added mostly downgrades in return. This same man is now responsible for lifting the Oilers out of the NHL's basement. It's a poor bet.