Oilers plan to beef up

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:30 PM ET

The Oilers need to get tougher next season, especially if they add a young rookie or two. They dont want Jordan Eberle or Tyler Seguin getting pounded every night, so theyll be in the market for a heavyweight.

It wont be a Derek Boogaard type, though. Pat Quinn, in throwing away Steve MacIntyre earlier this season, has shown he has no use for a guy who does nothing but police.

We want to make sure we have people who can play, said Oilers GM Steve Tambellini. Our coaching staffs philosophy is they dont want to see a player who comes out for a minute and a half, two minutes, to make his presence known by a fight. We need to be aware of the fact we were short at times in that department, but we want to make sure people can play.

EBERLE SHOULD BE READY ... As for whether he needs to hunt down a couple of top six forwards or thinks that Jordan Eberle and whoever they pick first can step right in and fill the bill, Tambellini said Eberle is definitely in the plans.

I think Jordan is going to have a good chance to play, he said. He still has to come and show he can do that, but when I watch him he just seems to find ways to figure it out and have success.

Hes not the biggest guy, hes not the fastest guy, hes not the most explosive guy, but the package, the intelligence and the hockey sense are elite.

Hes going to be a good part. Whether its coming in September or November Im not sure. If those kids are ready Id love to see them.

If not, hes plenty cool with sending them to Oklahoma for as long as it takes.

A lot of it is going to be dependent on if theyre ready to play. Lets just make sure that theyre ready. Theres nothing wrong with that (AHL) step.

PICK OF THE LITTER ... Every team with the first pick has to listen to an avalanche of offers, some of them semi-legitimate, most of them from teams trying to play them for a sucker.

Tambellini expects his phone will be ringing off the hook between now and June 25, but cant envision giving away coveted first choice.

Im sure there are 29 other managers who have wonderful ideas how theyre going to make my team better, he said.

There is extreme pressure in getting this one right, but its better than picking second and hoping the other guys got it wrong.

You want to be in control. You want to put your scouts through that process and make them make a decision and determine who is better now, who is going to be better later.

GOODBYE GOALIE ... Either Devan Dubnyk or Jeff Deslauriers will be gone by next fall. I may have to lose one of them, said Tambellini. I dont want to jump into the season with a three goaltending situation. Were going to make a decision about moving one.

He says it wont be Nikolai Khabibulin.

HE SAID IT ... I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us to do things right here, to take charge of our people first, the drafting, the acquisition, the culture. We have to do a better job of that. I have to put in place that machine that gets people here who by the time they get here are proud to be an Oiler. They cant wait to step on the ice with that logo.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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