Hinterland Who’s Who

Based on today’s presser I’m not at all convinced Craig MacTavish is leaving town. He refused to discuss his future aside from saying it was under discussion with “Steve” and he had the look of a man who was comfortable with his situation.

It could mean he’s determined to leave, or it could mean that he’s not staying unless the GM makes sweeping changes.

There are two things in play: the Oilers are not an organization that is above spinning for their own benefit and they are speaking to an audience that has swallowed some whoppers whole over the years. Is it so hard to believe that Oiler nation would nod approvingly with the news that Tambellini and MacTavish had agreed on a more “blue collar” lineup that reflected the town? MacT himself laid down some nice blacktop in this regard today talking about skill players who were unwilling to go to areas of conflict. Bub Slug loves that stuff.

The other item is a sense that the wrong man is walking the plank. Some of us (well, me) would be completely satisfied if Tambellini were presented as the “man” in regard to personnel decisions and that MacTavish had one more season at the helm.

This would mean certain extinction from the NHL’s hinterland for people like Dustin Penner, Marc Pouliot and Robert Nilsson. It would be good news for people like Liam Reddox, Steve Staios and Ethan Moreau. The whispers about trade requests from Hemsky and Souray might turn into more than rumor.

The are some things we can be fairly confident about right now:

  1. No matter who the coach is, the Oilers are going to prune the small forwards. The group that includes Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson and Patrick O’Sullivan will not be as deep come the fall.
  2. Rob Schremp and Linus Omark have bad timing this summer, since smallish forwards are not in vogue.
  3. JF Jacques, Ryan Stone, Colin McDonald, Geoff Paukovich and Ryan O’Marra are forwards with size and as such have an advantage at TC.
  4. Even if MacT stays, this will be another season of massive roster turnover.

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