Monday, March 1, 2010

The Exodus of the Oilers

A "For Sale" sign stands tall outside the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, where General Manager Steve Tambellini is prepared to overhaul the Edmonton Oilers player personnel. The 65-hour window of opportunity began last night at 12 midnight EST when the Olympic trade freeze was lifted.

Speculations and rumors are in full force that the leadership of the Oilers hockey club is about to change. The veterans are on the block and they know who they are. Last place in the National Hockey League with 19 wins in 61 games is certainly not what the Oilers management and coaching staff had in store, and the overall player attitude of this storied franchise has all but worn out it’s welcome.

The Edmonton Oilers under head coach Pat Quinn are relentless on the ice when it comes to hard work and are playing a full sixty minutes of hockey...sometimes. Other times, the end result is due in large part to the bench simply not putting in the type of work needed to outperform their opponent.

One thing that’s apparent however is the attitude that adjusts so quickly when the opposition scores first. It’s almost as if the players at some point expect to be down, and from that point on, the hard work continues to be there, but the right frame of mind to get the two points is not.

Their lack of production and success is paying dividends however for their entry draft layout several months down the road. Forwards Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin and Defenseman Cam Fowler are the big 3 in this years draft and have the ability to make quite the impact for an NHL franchise. If Edmonton is going to indeed select one of these three, General Manager Steve Tambellini must take necessary steps in preparing for their arrival. Starting primarily with clearing space for not only this years top pick, but for the youth that awaits it’s fate in the Edmonton organization.

If you look at the veteran’s currently on the roster with cap hits beyond this season, the likes of forwards Sean Horcoff, Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner and defenseman Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios and Lubomir Visnovsky stand out as potential trade chips, as their respective contracts are not only expensive, but will linger on during what should be a re-building mode. Only Dustin Penner should be an exception due in large part to the amount of money a counterpart would have to absorb in any type of trade.

The Edmonton Oilers must move the expensive salaries and open up the books to their promising youth waiting in the wings. Prospect forwards Jordan Eberle, and Ryan O’Marra and defensemen Taylor Chorney, Alex Plante and Theo Peckham are in the big picture, and need to be factored in moving forward.

When Edmonton announces their first overall selection, the chances are greater then ever, that the elite player will put them ahead of the eight-ball during the rebuilding mode. What the return on most veterans will net, that's a whole other issue. If Steve Tambellini moves salary, his best bet is to seek picks and prospects to add to the organizational depth chart.

One thing that is evident right now, Steve Tambellini is working the phones and has a plan in place to begin the overhaul of the Edmonton Oilers. This hockey club is out of excuses, overpaid, and due for a demolition. Pat Quinn and his staff are the right fit in Edmonton to coach this team with a promising future. For right now though, moves need to be made, and the veterans of this current club need to start preparing their goodbyes.

The Oilers as a team have scored just six goals in their last six games. Taylor Hall is just what the doctor ordered. If they can have Hall, Eberle and MPS - along with whatever their return is for the firesale you know is coming - this team could potential be a fun team to watch rebuild, not unlike the Penguins, Blackhawks and Kings of the recent past.

If your an Edmonton Oilers fan, today through Wednesday can only mean good things to come for this franchise. You have to believe that at this point; because right now, things can't get any lower. It's all up hill from here, and it's up to Steve Tambellini and Assistant GM Kevin Prendergast to evaluate and make decisions that are going to enhance the look of this club, and get the Oilers back into contention.

Late this afternoon, that process got underway with veteran defensemen Denis Grebeshkov on the move to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2010 2nd round pick. This move will be one of many from now till Wednesday at 3pm for the Oilers.

While the for sale sign stands tall and players are packing and saying their goodbyes, the Edmonton Oilers will have a new look to them by Wednesday at 3pm and only time will tell exactly where this club will stand. Hey, it's going to be a better position then where they currently stand, that much we are sure of.

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Zitmeds said...

That last shifty was closer to what I was expecting from Staal’s line tonight. They didn’t get much to the goal but managed to keep the pressure in the Oilers’ zone.

evision said...