The goaltending woes that the Edmonton Oilers have experienced this season have been widely documented, ridiculed and dissected. Handing the number one job to Devan Dubnyk last summer was a bold move by rookie GM Craig MacTavish despite promising numbers from the 27-year old in his three previous season. After a shaky start that led many fans crying for a move to bring in a number one netminder, the Oilers settled on Ilya Bryzgalov who may or may not be the short-term answer.
But it’s worth stating that Ben Bishop could have been the long-term solution for the Oilers in goal and for the loyal fans to the copper and blue, they learnt today how Edmonton lost out on the stud netminder.
The story comes from Elliotte Friedman, the widely respected journalist and hockey insider who calls CBC Sports home. As part of his weekly column titled ’30 Thoughts’ Friedman mentions how the Oilers were close to acquiring Bishop last season before the Ottawa Senators sent him to the Tampa Bay Lightning. And now Bishop is putting up wicked numbers for the bolts. Talk about salt in the wound.
According to Friedman, the Oilers had offered Ottawa their second and third round picks in last year’s draft and Ryan Jones. Friedman points out that the issue with the deal was that the second round pick originally belonged to Anaheim and was 56th overall. The Senators wanted the Oilers original second round spot of 37th. Steve Tambellini refused to move on his offer and the deal fell apart.
Ben Bishop was lost over a difference of nineteen draft picks. Steve Tambellini, what were you thinking? It’s one more painful reminder of how Tambellini completely destroyed this franchise and any momentum they may have been able to muster with the re-build. One could argue that the former GM known as Tambo set this team back further than he did take it forward.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and the performance of Bishop this year doesn’t help the matter, making the decision not to offer the earlier draft pick a silly one. Granted if Dubnyk had come out of the gates standing on his head for the Oilers it’s likely Friedman wouldn’t have mentioned the teams pursuit of Bishop and every Oilers’ fans’ blood pressure wouldn’t be sky high when hearing of this missed opportunity.
In the end though, it’s frustrating as fans to hear about these deals that never materialized because of not swapping out second round draft picks. The future in net for the Oilers would have been solidified and would have allowed Craig MacTavish to focus his efforts elsewhere. Instead, Mac-T is further left to clean up the carnage that Tambellini left behind.