clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

VOTE: Steve Tambellini's Worst As Oilers GM

There is so much to choose from, but in the end, you must choose only one.

"I wonder what I did with my phone?"
"I wonder what I did with my phone?"

Ask a man about Steve Tambellini's worst move as Oilers' General Manager and you might need to pull up a chair. He's going to be awhile. Ask the 2500 people who looked in on the story and you're going to get a litany of charges ranging from the subtly awful to the outright atrocious. From phone mishaps to non-moves, there were so many nominees, I had to limit the finalists to the truly awe-inspiring:

1. Magnus Paajarvi In Limbo

"[Tambellini] flew [Paajarvi] up to Edmonton before they realized they had burnt all of their post-deadline call ups and had to fly him right back to OKC, causing Paajarvi to be unable to play in either game that night. Not a particularly fatal mistake but a perfect example of his special brand of incompetence." - EdmontonEuler

2. The Nikolai Khabibulin Contract

"He needed the best goalie and best Coach and he chose the worst goalie (at an absurd term and salary) and the worst coach. They went from almost making the playoffs under MacT to 30th with a large bullet while spending to the cap." - Woodguy

"No, none whatsoever. Coming into free agency goaltending was number one. We felt being able to attract Nik to come to us at that point was huge and solidified our goaltending for the next four years." If this was Tambo’s move, it is the worst. The worst ever. - Mr Debakey

3. Hoarding Jeff Deslauriers

"Tambo refused to send Jeff Deslauriers to Oklahoma City because he was afraid of losing him on waivers. So rather than risk losing a .900 (AHL!) goaltender on waivers, he carried three goalies to start the season through the entire month of October. He purposefully shortened his roster to keep a throw-away goalie. It’s the epitome of Steve Tambellini’s thinking." - Derek Zona

4. Cole For Lanterns

"why is no one mentioning the Cole for O’Sullivan trade? seriously? Taking what should have been a top 6 forward on a good quality team (see Montreal and Carolina) and eventually turning him into Jim effing Vandermeer? And after having Pitkanen and Lupul prior to that at your disposal (Lowe gets the blame for that)? O’Sullivan was close to being worse than Barker (although Barker was worse, no question) but the difference is the Oilers lost a player to acquire O’Sullivan. #1 worst move" - dangilitis

5. Losing Sheldon Souray

"Alienating and ultimately wasting Sheldon Souray. I was unsure whose side was more credible at the time; I have no doubt now." - Wonder Llama

"Having Souray’s leadership and toughness when Hall, Ebs, and Nuge were rookies outlive been hugely beneficial. That game back in Nov, 2010 when the team got pumped by the Rangers and Avery concussed Smid – it would’ve been way way better to have Souray in the lineup to put some swagger back into the team. With a top-4 of Whitney, Souray, Gilbert, and Smid, those lean years wouldn’t have been as painful. That the Souray fallout was so completely avoidable is just damning of Tambellini’s utter stupidity." - Zdeno's Cigar

"Wasting Sheldon Souray and not even getting assets for him. He treated Souray like the plague and it damaged Edmonton’s reputation." - acg515

6. Ralph Krueger

"I think firing Tom Renney and hiring Ralph Kruger as a coach without a process." - curcro

7. Dithering

"The guy played it too safe. He was unwilling to take risks – unfortunately, the best GMs don’t always play it safe." - acg515

"Having plenty of opportunities to upgrade the center position and bottom six and not even snagging anyone on waivers." - acg515

"What did Tambellini do? Nothing. Despite all the qualitative and quantitative analysis showing the team was being outplayed and demoralized, depth centres were traded for late-round picks (Adam Hall, Mike Santorelli), or waived (Andrei Loktionov), but Tambellini held pat, employing Ryan Smyth at C, Chris VandeVelde, Anton Lander, and Mark Arcobello, all leading to unspectacular results." - Zdeno's Cigar

"Don’t know if someone else mentioned it, but, his worst move was doing nothing most of the time. He had never been willing to take a meaningful risk. Trade deadlines, draft days, and free agent signings were underwhelming in every case." - robinrussia

8. The Stupid Things Others Wouldn't Let Him Do

"Sure it was just a rumor, but does anyone doubt that we outbid the Rangers for Boogard (or for that matter, the Senators for Chris Neil)?" - Gonadsgo

9. July 1, 2011

"Attempting to rebuild his blueline in the 2011 off-season by signing Andy Sutton and Cam Mother-f#$*ing Barker." - Alan Hull

"For me it was Jul 1, 2011 where he actually attempted to upgrade the team for the first time during the rebuild. Why? EVERY SINGLE MOVE FAILED MISERABLY." - ScottieA

10. His Lack Of Due Diligence

"How about the press conference after the Oilers acquired Colten Teubert and a 1st RD pick for Dustin Penner and Tambo had no idea that Teubert had been a healthy scratch in Manchester. Classic Tambo." - OilFanInYYC

"I think the real issue with that deal was questions of due diligence over Whitney’s health and the known fact of his congenital ankle issues." - proxy