Tambillini being ousted couldn't have come at a better time for the organization. Looking at the Oilers' situation for the 2013 off season brought a little smile to my face. As of July 5th the following Oilers will be unrestricted free agents:
The guys that have been nothing but dead weight for the last few years should be coming off the roster.
Then taking a queue from MacT's press conference comment:
"...grit's always a huge part of it. But, also, grit without skill, as I mentioned, is not something that's going to move the dial of our team forward."
The following players fit the bill of "grit without talent" or simply "without talent" and can probably be buried in the AHL with little or no cap hit next season:
The Oilers have had no problem burying guys under Tambellini's rule and I'm pretty sure MacT won't have a problem doing the same.
Finally the ever popular compliance buyout. Looking at this updated roster only Eric Belanger looks like a true candidate for this option.
After this roster is adjusted with UFAs, buried contracts & compliance but outs this is what the roster would possibly look like:
Hall Nugent-Hopkins Eberle Yakupov Gagner Hemsky Paajarvi Horcoff Hartikainen Smyth Lander [Empty] [Empty] [Empty] Smid Petry N. Schultz J. Schultz Dubnyk [Empty]
Thats a pretty full roster but it is missing a lot. The Oilers have ~$20M to spend but have to sign Paajarvi, Gagner and Hartikainen to contract extensions. All 3 signed will leave the Oilers with ~$13 - $14M to spend on 6 players (empty roster spots + 7th D & 13th F). Luckily 4 of those players can come relatively cheap and may already be in the system (4th RW, Backup G, 7th D & 13th F) but its the top pairing D that will cost the Oilers the most. One of the top six could be packaged to bring in that top pairing D man. Also looking at the roster and based on MacT's comments about grit there is a pretty good chance that someone gets moved to bring that size, toughness and skill to the top 6 as well.
This is going to be an interesting off season for the Oilers and is sure to set the pace of MacTavish's rule as GM. It will be an interesting off season for the fans as well as our hopes turn from dreams future prospects to real players being acquired to make a difference now.
Hopefully MacTavish is the GM that brings the balance and steady head that this team has needed since Chris Pronger left town. Not run and gun but willing to make a move that helps the team.