Time To Get Busy Steve

If the Edmonton Oilers and GM Steve Tambellini thought this Friday and Saturday were busy, they should hold onto their socks. The to-do list for the Oilers is only going to get longer and more complicated now that drafting Taylor Hall is part of their franchise past.

To their credit, the Oilers scouting staff did a lot of hard and detailed work leading up to this past draft weekend when Edmonton selected Taylor Hall (#1), Tyler Pitlick (#31), Martin Marincin (#46), Curis Hamilton (#48), Ryan Martindale (#61), Jeremie Blain (#91), Tyler Bunz (#121), Brandon Davidson (#162), Drew Czerwonka (#166), Kristians Pelss(#181) and Kellen Jones (#202). For now the scouts are done and it seems as though their efforts paid off in a strong 2010 draft class.

For Steve Tambellini however, the hard part begins now. Tambellini has only a matter of days to make critical decisions regarding players that he and the organization feel have little to no future in Edmonton but are currently assets in the Oilers organization. Once June 30th comes and goes, the buyout period will have passed and difficult to make trades will be Edmonton's only option.

If you want, you can chalk up the draft to other GM's being busy and focused on their own selections. You can suggest Tambellini wasn't getting fair value in return for the players he offered. You can even say, at the time Edmonton making additional moves just didn't make sense.

Whatever rationalization you choose, Tambellini made fewer moves than most would have hoped. Successfully moving only disgruntled prospect Riley Nash, Steve found out quickly that the market for Oilers assets is thin and slim at best. Steve will now have to get creative.

The bigger problem is that it's no longer just trades that will require Tambellini's attention. The combination of continued trade talks with required buyouts before June 30th and essential qualifying offers for RFA's means Tambellini has a long four days ahead of him. Decisions on players like Robert Nilsson, Patrick O'Sullivan, Ethan Moreau, Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Potulny, Jeff Deslauriers, Devan Dubnyk, Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule, Marc Pouliot, JF Jacques among others, are critical to the success of his shaping the team going forward.

Should he not be able to manage the incredible amount of tasks laid before him, the Oilers will only find themselves more overwhelmed than they likely already are. Why? At that same time the deadlines for some of these decisions pass, July 1st and NHL free agency will be ready to smack everyone, including the Oilers straight across the face.

No, the Oilers won't be making any major splashes on pending free agents and Tambellini doesn't necessarily have to sign his RFA's right away. But, to fill in the depth Tambellini has recognized he needs, their needs to be a plan of action. The Oilers bottom six needs work, the Oilers defence needs more NHL ready players, and the Oilers top six needs to be established.

Needless to say, Tambellini is on a tight timeline. What he couldn't do at the draft, he needs to immediately address. If he doesn't, the domino effect of bad timing will start to move around the roster faster than Taylor Hall can skate. If you haven't figured it out yet, Taylor skating fast is good. Dominos in this case are bad.


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