Tambellini won’t sacrifice youth for quick fix if he upgrades roster
Oilers general manager still hoping team can make a playoff run
DENVER — General manager Steve Tambellini, in his typically impassive fashion, said he isn’t about to make significant changes to the Edmonton Oilers.
In a brief look back on the first half of the Oilers’ season, Tambellini said on Tuesday that while he isn’t unwilling to make moves, he is not going to do so at the expense of the youth on the team.
The Oilers closed out their franchise-high nine-game road trip later Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche.
“Whether you’re in the playoffs or not, if you can upgrade your team or improve it, we’ll do that, but most of the people here are the people we’re going to be counting on for some time,” Tambellini said. “You’re not going to give up youth just for a quick fix there, that’s for sure.”
Tambellini did make a move earlier on the road trip, acquiring Mike Brown from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a fourth-round draft pick. Brown has been a good fourth-line addition.
However, more size, more experience would benefit the Oilers’ top six forwards.
Tambellini thinks Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will ramp up their offensive production soon. He also said the team missed the veteran leadership of captain Shawn Horcoff, who returned on Sunday for the 6-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, and the heaviness of defenceman Mark Fistric, who is nearing a return from an elbow injury.
“There are no excuses,” Tambellini said. “Every (team) is dealing with fatigue and injury this season. You just have to hang in there. We’re five points out right now, and you don’t want to let that get away.
“If we can get something that will help us without totally destroying the core of young players we’re going to grow and win with for a long time, of course we’ll look at it. But it has to make sense.”
The NHL trade deadline is April 3.
“We need to get closer to that line to know whether or we’re going to be in the playoffs. I’d rather have the focus on how do we get to that line, how do we enhance our team when we get to the deadline,” he said. “But you’re not going to give up on youth just to help you for the next two weeks. It will have to be movement that makes sense for our hockey club.”
OIL DROPS: Scott Howson, cut loose from his post as the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this month, has returned to the Oilers as a part-time scout ... Anton Lander, who suffered a broken foot on Feb. 6, has been cleared to resume playing. He’ll join the Oilers’ Oklahoma City Barons farm team.
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