There has been a lot of talk about what Steve has done and even more about what he could have done this summer. We have all heard that talk that the choice to draft Yakupov was made by Katz. There was also talk the Sutter as coach was nixed by Katz as well. These two things were the best things the Oilers did this summer. The reasons:
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Yakupov has become a fan sensation larger than any Oiler has since the early 90s. By getting a player of his calibre that caters to the fans, they get versatility in their top 6 lines and public support for the arena they are building. The one that is approved, being built but has yet to get the nod on the 100 million from the province that they say they need.
By signing Krueger as head coach the Oilers win in numerous ways. Krueger knows the players and coached the power play which was third in the league (up from 27th the year before) even though the team finished 29th. He also has a history coaching the Swiss national team (the one that beat Canada in the Olympics that we are forgetting). Most importantly, even though Gretzky and Coffey called him, Schultz said the reason he decided to sign with Edmonton was his talk with Krueger. I think we can all agree that although time will tell how well Schultz will be, he is the most important signing the Oilers made this off season.
So if Katz was behind the two best things the Oilers did, what did Tambellini do? He signed Smyth which was his largest. That was the right thing for him to do. It is important for the team to send a message to the other players in the league that they are an organization that is worth playing for and giving someone as well liked as Ryan the shaft, that would continue to make it harder for us to sign UFA's in the future.
Then he does something unusual and this is the question of my blog. He signs 48 of the 50 contracts allowed for each team. Which is okay but it is the players he adds. Plante, VandeVelde, Peckham, Byers, Davidson and Petrell are all prospects of different merit. Some like Petrell have a good chance of turning out where as someone like Peckham might have already shown us what he has to offer. However none of them has really been given a true test and any one could be good. All of them could be great in the AHL. The thing is that Plante isn't better than Omark who he didn't sign and others are just not as good as other prospects we have. Regardless they are young.
My thought is that he might be brilliant. Knowing that the owners are going to lock the players out for most if not all of the season as they are looking for a 11% more of the profit, why not keep all the young guys that might turn out. Give them a year to mature and see where that leaves things. Why go after older players when this year is probably a wash. Lend the youth out to European and Russian teams and see what happens. Maybe Plante finds his game somewhere and get himself some trade value.
He signs Dubnyk for about a million more than he is worth. With a career best 20 wins and a 2.67 GAA, he gets paid 1.5 million more than goalies like Voukon and Harding who both had better years than he did and were signed as backups elsewhere in the league. I am not certain that he is better than Danis or Bunz.
He signs Petry at a high price which is good if he plays well, but again the money wasn't warranted. Petry will PROBABLY be good but 1 year is not enough to base a contract like that on. If Klefbom out plays him, Petry could find himself playing 5 dman minutes behind Whitney, Smid, Schultz and Klefbom. Or maybe both Schultz will take his ice time leaving him no time to shine on the ice.
He also signs Hordichuk, which is just not needed. With the log jam of forwards, whose minutes does he take. They have Eager, Belanger, Lander, Paajarvi, Jones, Horcoff, Smyth, Petrell, Hartikainen, Vande Velde and Pitlick all fighting for the bottom 6 positions. Thats 12 players for 6 positions and Hordichuk doesn't have better talent than any of them. He is just tougher. However a bunch of the other 11 are large players themselves.
Tambellini would be brilliant if he signed the rookies and let them play. Tried to trade Eager and Belanger, if not place them on waivers. However it looks like he is trying to intentionally put together a 30 place team.
My theory... MacT was brought in to replace him. This is Tambellini's last year as a GM for anyone.
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