Under Steve Tambellini’s watch as the General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers, the team has fully embraced their youth movement. They’ve drafted first overall picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who, along with Jordan Eberle, should be an intimidating trio for years to come. Throw in whoever the Oilers get with the first overall pick in 2012 – be it with the pick itself or as part of a trade – and things are looking up for Edmonton.
That’s one way of looking at it at least. The other is that the Oilers have been horrendous under Tambellini’s watch and basically the only thing going for them is that the draft lottery has served them well. After all, while you can applaud Tambellini for his draft choices, it’s not as if he flew in the face of conventional wisdom when he took Hall or Nugent-Hopkins and if you don’t give him credit for that duo, then what are his noteworthy accomplishments thus far?
Ultimately, while the Edmonton Oilers have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future, they are not yet a fully realized team. That might be a problem because typically a fanbase will only tolerate a rebuilding effort for so long before they start to turn on their GM. It seems like that might be the concern in Edmonton as Tambellini dismisses head coach Tom Renney and talks about the need to do better.
“I’m not going to dissect Tom as a coach. He’s a good man, a good coach,” said Tambellini. “We’re just trying … to get better. We need to get better as an organization. Better as a management staff. Better as a coaching staff. Better as players.”
This will be a key summer for the Oilers as they try to transition from a rebuilding squad into a legitimate contender. If they stumble, Renney might not be the only one dismissed in Edmonton.