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Analysis: Tambellini move shows two teams moving in different directions

Steve Tambellini is the new GM in Edmonton. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Steve Tambellini is the new GM in Edmonton. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

In a move absolutely no one in the NHL community saw coming, Kevin Lowe is out as Edmonton Oilers GM – although not out of the organization – and former Vancouver Canucks assistant GM Steve Tambellini is in as his replacement.

The management shakeup moves Lowe up the ladder (at least, structurally) to become Edmonton’s president of hockey operations and also makes former vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast the team’s assistant GM.

What does it mean for the Oilers’ immediate on-ice future? Most likely, very little; Lowe has already revamped Edmonton’s NHL roster for the coming season and should be front and center in terms of helping Tambellini adjust to his new environs.

However, Tambellini’s hiring does signify the Daryl Katz Era in Edmonton is now in full bloom. This is the new owner’s first significant management hire – and it’s one I think will play well in Northern Alberta, as Tambellini has a good reputation in the hockey world and is as deserving as any of a shot at running a ship himself.

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Tambellini’s departure from the Canucks was a virtual certainty after Dave Nonis was fired, but the optics of a good hockey man leaving what some see as a sinking ship aren’t exactly ideal.

It will be interesting to see if Vancouver GM Mike Gillis fills Tambellini’s spot with someone who has experience in the role, or if he goes off the beaten path with a newbie, the way he did by hiring Ryan Walter as assistant coach.

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