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Edmonton Oilers Firing Steve Tambellini Was the Right Decision

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  General Manager Steve Tambellini of the Edmonton Oilers looks on during day two of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Adam BowenContributor IIIApril 15, 2013

Mired in a five-game winless drought, the Edmonton Oilers have decided to shake things up. However, this time changes are coming at the top of the organization, with Steve Tambellini being relieved of his duties as general manager for the team.

When TSN's Ryan Rishaug broke the news on Twitter this morning, it was no surprise to many Oilers fans who have seen the change coming for the past couple seasons.

Tambellini's firing goes beyond the five-game losing streak and should realistically extend to the last five years for the Oilers. Since succeeding for Kevin Lowe in 2008, the Oilers have failed to make the playoffs and have finished last in two of the last three seasons.

While some may want to credit Tambellini with the young assets he has acquired during his tenure with the team, it is nearly impossible to miss that mark when the team is making the first-overall draft selection. 

Tambellini has been selling patience, but patience has apparently run out in Edmonton, and for a team that was supposed to make the playoffs this season, sitting in 12th place in the Western Conference just isn't good enough.

Over the five seasons with Tambellini at the helm, Edmonton has failed to make any significant progress, compounded by the fact that, though they have acquired potential superstars via the draft, the GM has failed to find the supplementary pieces to work around these young stars.

Tambellini has never made any serious moves to add talent and depth to the Edmonton Oilers franchise. Instead, it has appeared that he was complacent to trade or sign for aging veterans whose play has been on a steady decline.

Additions like Ben Eager, Erik Cole and Patrick O'Sullivan, to name a few, have been outright failures.

Perhaps the biggest move made by Tambellini, and the one that hurts the team the most to this day, was trading Kyle Brodziak to the Minnesota Wild in 2009 for a pair of late draft picks. 

Depth at center has been one of the biggest detriments to the team this season, and Brodziak has developed into quite a strong player with the Wild. 

While a player like Brodziak may or may not have changed the Oilers' fortunes over the past few seasons, it would have certainly provided much needed depth and a different look to the lineup. 

The timing of the firing is interesting, with only seven games left in the 2013 season, but it is clear that Kevin Lowe and the Oilers organization wanted to send a message that the team is tired of losing and tired of excuses.

Taking over for Tambellini will be former Oilers head coach and current Oilers Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations, Craig MacTavish. 

MacTavish has quite the resume under his belt since stepping off the ice and while this is his first job as a GM in the NHL, he should provide a new direction and a new voice for the club.

It is a interesting coincidence that it was five years ago to the day that Tambellini fired MacTavish as the Oilers' head coach. 

It seems everything comes full circle in Oil Country. 

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