Steve Tambellini may have a new contract extension as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, but that doesn’t mean he has a lot of time to accelerate the team’s on-going rebuild. The Oilers’ announced Wednesday they had extended Tambellini’s contract but didn’t say for how long. Even the team’s statement, issued by president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, seemed carefully worded when it came to Tambellini’s work thus far.
“Three years ago we asked Steve to do begin a rebuild that we all know hasn’t been easy,” Lowe said. “However, Oiler fans can take some consolation in the fact Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers.”
Whether Tambellini will be around to see that future success is open to much debate. Via social media, hockey fans wondered what Tambellini has done as GM other than dump head coach Tom Renney and draft Jordan Eberle along with a pair of No. 1 picks, forwards Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. (The Oilers hold the No. 1 pick overall for the third year in a row by virtue of winning the 2012 draft lottery.)
Renney did not have his contract renewed after discussing his plans for the Oilers and how to lift them beyond 29th place in the NHL. Tambellini’s comments on letting Renney go centred on everyone in the organization trying to be better – “better as a management staff, a coaching staff and players. We want to make sure we’re putting ourselves in a position where we are competing for a playoff spot.”
With a new coach to be hired – former Calgary Flames’ head man Brent Sutter remains a possibility – all the attention now shifts to Tambellini and his handiwork. He needs to be productive and quickly. The clock is ticking, and even a new contract extension won’t be enough to save him if he fails to deliver something better.