It's The Summer Of Steve. But Would You Really Want to Armchair This Situation?

One of the beautiful things about being a blogger, is that I can sit in the comfort of my own office when I'm not busy doing the work I'm supposed to focus on and suggest "what if". What if I could trade this guy for that guy? What if I could cut or waive this guy? It's just so easy from this position to make those decisions. But when you consider what is staring Steve Tambellini in the face this summer, would you really want his job?

Think about all that Steve has to do. Some of it which he's already started.

Sure, the whole NHL world knows about how much the face of the Oilers franchise is likely to change at the end of June thanks to the NHL entry draft. The Oilers will pick first overall. Great place to be right?

Of course, except that even this good news comes with bad news. Steve Tambellini can quickly be known as the GM who drafted the wrong guy. Yes, Steve has stated he'll be leaving that decision up to his scouting staff, but it will be Tambellini who falls on the sword if something goes wrong.

In this draft year like no other in recent memory, there is no clear indication of who will or who should go first overall. Taylor Hall was ranked as the top prospect for a while. His play of late as the Memorial Cup is adding fuel to the fire that the Oilers would be nuts to pass up on him. Of course, there was the incredible season of Tyler Seguin in which he won OHL player of the year and was ranked 1st by NHL central scouting.

It's easy to see how this is a decision that could go quite well or quite poorly for the Oilers GM. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Jordan Eberle comes a close second in propsect expectation among media and fans in Edmonton and in the eyes of those who recently caught a glimpse of what he did against Norway at the World Championships.

His four point night only adds speculation that it would be a no brainer to see him in an Oiler uniform next season. Yet, should Tambellini rush that decision and do what has been done to so many prospects before Eberle and hamper his ability; Tambellini again will be to blame. Eberle would become just another name in a long line of players like Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and others who were in Edmonton before they might have been ready.

Sure, Eberle might in fact be ready. But, how would you like to be Tambellini as the guy who says no, when an entire city and experts watching think you should say yes? Everything points towards giving him a shot in the NHL, but it's a big big risk. One that has proven ineffective before and against everything Tambellini has said thus far in his new plan to give all Oilers prospects time to develop.

Of course, one can't ignore the play of Magnus Svennson who's been nothing short of spectacular for Sweden and a bright spot for the Oilers. A last minute addition to the World championship team, he leads all Swedes in points and is looking more and more like he's the most NHL ready prospect the Oilers have.

Only problem is, MPS isn't officially signed yet. Word is, the signing is close if not imminent, but it's just another item in a long grocery list of things to do for Tambellini and crew. Every day Svensson plays, the Oiler fans grow more weary and concerned the Oilers could somehow miss the boat.

When you consider signings, the Oilers now have a number of players signed. In fact too many. Not enough contracts end this season for the prospects who are anticipated to shake things up in training camp to give them all jobs. Players like Linus Omark, Jordan Eberle, Svensson (when signed), Hartkinen, Cornet and others will be here or in the new AHL farm team. To make matters more complicated, many of these names lack some of the attributes missing from last years team that Tambellini needs to address. He'l be looking to trades and free agency to find more grit, faceoff help and special teams help.

Who goes where is up to Tambellini, but every selection and placement either here or in the AHL will be scrutinized. Those Tambellini keeps will need space on the big club and those they'll be replacing need new homes. Not an easy task when you consider the contracts left to Tambellini by the old regime.

Players like Nilsson, O'Sullivan, Moreau, Souray a goalie and a couple other possibles are the obvious players being shopped, but with likely few takers. The more likely option is that teams will want the services of the Hemsky, Penner, Gilbert, Cogliano, or Gagner type. Will Tambellini make those trades? Only he would know, but they can't be easy decisions to make and ones everyone will second guess over and over.

And of course, these are just the surface problems. Tambellini has a coaching staff to re-evaluate. One that includes a coach like Pat Quinn who recent rumblings are starting to suggest isn't a lock as the repeat head coach for this season. That a possible rift or lack of agreement in coaching philosophy existed between he, his associate coaches and a number of the veterans on the team.

Tambellini has a new training staff to hire, he's got a new Oklahoma City club to staff, roster to fill and is smack in the middle of a new arena debate in the city of champions.

I'm not sure if I could armchair a current GM job, it would be that of the Oilers as the job I'd be looking forward to Would you?


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