Yesterday the Oilers announced the extension of GM Steve Tambellini, though no details were released although we were told it was a “multi-year deal”. Regardless of how long the deal is though, this is a move that has been expected for some time now. The length of the deal is also immaterial if you think about it because if the Oilers don’t drastically improve from last season it is highly unlikely that he will be the GM after the 2012-13 season. So I don’t believe it’s yet time to panic. Speculation is that the deal is for three years, which kind of makes sense as that is usually the minimum a new coach gets signed for and a GM will not be signed for a shorter term than a coach.
The next couple of weeks leading up to the NHL Draft on June 22 should be busy for Tambellini. He has to sign a new coach, preferably before the draft so both the players that are drafted and any free agent signings know who will be in charge behind the bench. There is also the Ryan Smyth situation, which is more and more becoming reminiscent of the 2007 contract negotiations which eventually saw Smyth dealt to the Islanders. The Oilers have offered a 1 year deal and have made it clear that’s all that will be offered. There is also the Draft itself to consider as well as the Oilers have been meeting with the various prospective top picks in this year’s draft. There is still speculation of whether or not they will draft Nail Yakupov or Ryan Murray, though they have met with Mikhail Grigorenko as well.
Good or Bad?
So the question I, like all Oilers fans, have been asking myself is this extension a good or bad thing? It’s been a day since the announcement and I still don’t have an answer. I mean yes as I mentioned earlier if the Oilers tank for another season then he’s almost certainly gone, but then that begs the question if he’s not the guy a year from now why is he the guy now? On the other hand he did spend his first season cleaning up the mess that Kevin Lowe left him, though to be honest I think he’s still trying to clean up that particular mess in some cases. So what I’m going to do is what we as Oilers fans have become very good at over the last several years and take a “wait and see” attitude to this, at least for the offseason anyways. Let’s see what changes, if any, he makes to the team aside from the Draft picks.