When Kevin Lowe was G.M. of the Oilers he never seemed to have trouble making a quick decision on a deal. 2007 he moved up to take Riley Nash. He had no problem giving up a first round pick in 2006 to bring in Dwayne Roloson. The future of the Oilers certainly rests with whoever is drafted first overall today, but another big part of the future could depend on if current G.M. Steve Tambellini can make a quick decisison, something I'm told doesn't happen very often. If team X calls up the Oilers and wants to deal a pick for a player, or other picks, and Tambellini has to make a call on the spot...can he do it?
Past evidence that has been presented to me suggest no. From different sources across the league, here's what I've gathered from past deals the General Manager has and hasn't made.
- Agonized over dealing Cody Wild for Matt Marquardt, 2 minor league players that will likely never see the light of the NHL.
- Couldn't pull the trigger on trading Riley Nash for Mikko Lehtonen from Boston. Nash will never play for the Oilers, while 6'3, 200 lb Lehtonen led Providence in scoring.
- Reportedly wouldn't even trade a mid to late round pick for Lehtonen when the opportunity was there in the fall.
- Needed urging from Kevin Lowe to make the Lubomir Visnovsky for Ryan Whitney trade.
- Waited way too long to call up AHL veterans Chris Minard (March 11th) and Charles Linglet (April 2nd) which may have convinced them to re-sign with the Organization for longer. You need AHL veterans to help develop players on the farm, but both Minard and Linglet won't be back with this organization next year; their decision. It also might have something to do with the fact that Tambellini watched only ONE game live in Springfield and didn't talk to any of the players while he was there.
- According to some agents, the Edmonton G.M. wouldn't return calls, leading the Oilers to miss out on some top notch college free agents.
Tambellini has made some nice moves, like picking up Colin Fraser for a 6th round pick, and getting draft picks for Denis Grebeshkov and Steve Staios. However I don't think Tambellini will be able to make a quick decision, especially if it requires giving up a roster player who isn't past his prime for a draft pick.
Let's say a team wanted Dustin Penner or Andrew Cogliano for a first or second round pick. Will fear prevent him from pulling the trigger? I think so. Will Kevin Lowe step in to make the call? If he does, something is very wrong.