Tuesday, 3 April 2012
04/03/12 Worth Getting Excited About
While the NHL off season might not get you as amped as our friend here, there should be a lot of activity that will create buzz and excitement among Oilers fans. That's because the time for the Oilers to start winning has finally arrived, and steps should be made to move them in that direction.
I know what you're thinking.
"But Steve Tambellini is still at the helm!" At least until further notice, that is. "The Oilers will never be able to win with that bungler in charge!"
There's enough Tambellini bashing among the fans to last him a lifetime, and in many cases it's deserved. And it's for precisely that reason that he will have to make something happen this summer. Leading a team to the bottom of the league is not a practice that will go unpunished forever, and hopefully no one is more keenly aware of that than Tambellini. It would be in his best interest to shed the "Mr. Dithers" moniker during the off season and make some bold moves to push this team toward the playoffs.
The free agent crop is not especially deep this summer, but there is some help out there. The really interesting time for Oilers fans will be the draft. If the only event from that day is that Edmonton uses their first round pick, it will still mean adding another high quality young player to the team. But considering the somewhat tenuous position Tambellini is in, and the fact that every team's General Manager will be in the same room looking to deal, there could be a lot more happening than that.
Watch the playoffs carefully as teams are eliminated - and more importantly, the reason they are eliminated. The Oilers could control the second overall pick heading into the draft, and a very potent offensive player will be available in that slot. There will be teams out there who have interest in adding offense if that's what they are lacking, and they may be willing to part with an established defenseman to do it.
This summer could be a win-win for Oilers fans. If Tambellini is still leading the team, he should be motivated to make things happen to significantly improve it. Minor moves (Barker, Fraser, Foster, Eager, etc.) will no longer cut the mustard. If Tambellini isn't the GM, many fans will jump for joy. It's a little early to speculate on how improved Oilers management would be - if at all - because we don't know who the new head honcho would be. But some new blood could provide the push that helps get the team over the hump. As Jonathan Willis said here, Tambellini doesn't have to go for the Oilers be successful, but he does not need to stay.
On the whole, Oilers fans should expect an active off season as management must realize that this team's time to win is fast approaching. It's safe to predict some improvement from the players the Oilers already have, but if some major upgrades aren't made, it should be considered a disappointing summer. Jobs will be on the line, so it should be eventful.