Question: What does a bottom feeding team do in order to get better after placing 29th, 30th, and 30th for three straight years?
Answer: Anything except for keeping the status quo or small incremental changes.
Now I don't profess to be knowledgeable enough to run a professional hockey franchise, let alone be considered a hockey expert, but the way that the Edmonton Oilers are run is mystifying. Going into this season, the Oilers made little in the way of changes in order to improve. Yes, they drafted Nail Yakupov 1st overall in the Entry Draft, and yes they won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes. However, there should have been more done by General Manager Steve Tambellini to fix this club's glaring holes in the offseason.
Instead what we saw was virtually the same roster brought back, with the GM gambling that certain players' play would improve this season. In fact, the entire defensive corps was built upon the premise that Ryan Whitney's ankle would have been healed enough to yield some semblance of his prior #1 pairing form. Instead we have been subjected to a Ryan Whitney that has been a shell of his former self and is playing at a level that could even be qualified as being below ECHL quality. Simply put this team was not built in a way that it could succeed and we shouldn't have expected much out of this season.
And now today, the day after the Oilers played their worst game of the season, a game where they did not manage a single shot in the second period, Steve Tambellini decided to respond and made a move. What type of move was that exactly? In order to bolster the team's toughness and poise, he traded a conditional draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Mike Brown, a tough guy/goon. Never mind that the team is consistently getting out shot and is having troubles scoring; Tambellini decided that what the team really needed was someone who could hit people, fight a lot, and is an offensive black hole. Brilliant.
If it weren't painfully obvious at this point that the Oilers are going to miss the playoffs for the 7th straight year, the part of this trade that would have been even more aggravating is the fact that the draft pick was conditional on the Oilers making the playoffs this year. Had they managed this feat, the draft pick would have changed from a 4th round pick this year to a 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft. I am truly scared what kinds of moves the GM has up his sleeve come the trade deadline.
Steve Tambellini has shown us what quality of a NHL General Manager he is. His resume since become the GM of the Oilers speaks for itself. His name shall forever be mentioned alongside the likes of Mike Milbury, Scott Howson, Don Waddell, and Doug McLean. If this team is to become anything other than a bottom feeder, there needs to be a change in management.