Getting Good Players

This is Harry Howell. Played forever. His first pro game was in 1951 and his last one came in 1976. When he was 25, Ranger fans had seen enough of him to boo whenever he touched the puck. The Rangers eventually had to get rid of him.

At age 36.

Seven years later, he retired from hockey.

I’ll post my thoughts on today’s trade at 6 tonight, but wanted to speak to being an Oiler fan and how long this process will take.

Over this and the next few seasons, Edmonton Oiler fans are going to become familiar with a lot of players who will no doubt go on to long careers in the NHL. It’s impossible for the organization to avoid impact players because they’re drafting so high each season (6th in 2007, 10th in 2009, 1st in 2010 and very high this year).

The trick is going to be keeping the right kids and sending the others away for value. Ground zero for the rebuild was the Taylor Hall draft, but the Oilers as an organization have to be competitive at some point before Hall’s 25th birthday or the club will become a feeder team for the NHL.

NHL teams win hockey games with good NHL players. The Oilers sent one away today in the hopes of getting more return down the line. At some point they’ll need to stand and deliver. It isn’t this season, and it won’t be next year. Steve Tambellini is building toward a distant future; you better pack a lunch because it’s going to take awhile.

More at 6.

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