Style points for Oil GM

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Brian Burke and Steve Tambellini were a study of complete contrasts in style and personality on their way to and at the NHL Entry Draft.

It was hard to believe that Tambellini trained as an assistant under GM Burke all those years with the Vancouver Canucks.

The bombastic style of Burke certainly didn't rub off of the quiet, restrained almost mute new Edmonton Oilers general manager.

And it's open to debate about which way you'd rather have it.

It was almost laughable in the case of Burke, the new GM of the Maple Leafs, as he teased and tantalized Toronto on the way to the draft where he allowed himself to wear a mic and ended up with no meaningful conversation to share with the TSN audience.

Burke had played the Toronto media for all they were worth for his own amazement and amusement for weeks and months going into the event.

There were more headlines about what Burke was going to do to in the draft than the other 29 teams combined.

He wanted to trade to move up and get John Tavares.

He wanted to deal to move up to pick Luke Schenn's brother Brayden.

There were all sorts of Burke-fuelled stories and Toronto media-invented rumours about Burke doing this and Burke doing that. In the end, it was all much ado about Nazem Kadri.

Nobody in Edmonton could complain about Tambellini creating a big buildup for a large letdown with the Oilers drafting 10th as scheduled in selecting winger Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.

Whether it was intentional by a GM who believes there is only one way for Edmonton to get back to the top and that's to do it through the draft or whether it's a case of not pushing his personality or simply not being a colourful enough character to carry it, Tambellini made yesterday a lesser letdown for Oiler fans.

Oh, sure, some fans managed to conjure up a deal with Ottawa to bring Dany Heatley here. And on draft day there was some talk of the Oilers doing a deal with Atlanta to move up to No. 4 to take Evander Kane.

But it was nothing promoted by Tambellini. And nothing happened.

There will be many fans who believe the Oilers, unless they do something today, blew it by not using the occasion to trade some players to open up some salary cap room to be able to be a player during next week's free-agent frenzy.

And that's valid. Except perhaps you noticed. Other than Chris Pronger once again being involved in a blockbuster trade (once again with Joffrey Lupul and first round and provisional draft choices involved) to become a Philadelphia Flyer, nobody made any deals.

And there are those who will have a hard time getting excited about a Swedish kid who isn't likely be here next year and might not work his way into the lineup until the 2011-2012 season.

But there are enough Oilers still with training wheels for the moment. So picking a player who has size at six-foot-one and 201 pounds and is rated as the best skater in the draft is hard to criticize.

Paajarvi-Svensson was one of only a handful of players to play in the World Junior at age 16, won silver in the last two years and was second in scoring on the Swedish team last year.

The Oilers need the size. And the speed fits with the concept of Oilers hockey. The scouting report is also that he drives to the net, which is a quality in short supply around here.

On the other hand the scouting report also says he doesn't have much interest in defence or dirty work.

Paajarvi-Svensson trash-talked Team Canada at the World Junior but seemed excited and delighted to be picked by the Oilers who he called a "classic club."

So who the heck knows? He's the 10th pick in the draft.

The reality is that few fans are going to be able to remember the names Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson by this time next week and will probably forget about him until somebody stitches his name on and Oilers sweater. And even then, it's not going to fit.

In the meantime it wouldn't hurt Tambellini to work on being a bit more of a fan friendly personality and Burke to work on being a bit less of a headline hunter.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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