Tambellini found what he was looking for with Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi, trading forward Dustin Penner to the Kings for defense prospect Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick and a conditional draft pick in 2012.
"Over the last, I'd say, 48 hours, discussions with a few teams with regards to Dustin were taking place," Tambellini said. "It became quite evident the return was going to fit into what we're trying to do here.
"We have to give up a good player, but the first-round pick, the first-round prospect of a defenseman we don't have a lot of ... he's not ready for prime time yet, but he will be soon. Plus, the second (conditional) pick fits perfectly into what the overall plan is as far as going ahead."
In Penner, 28, Tambellini gives up a big forward who has scored at least 20 goals four times in five full NHL seasons, including 21 in 62 games this season.
In Teubert, 20, he gets a 6-foot-4, 195-pound defenseman who was drafted by the Kings with the 13th pick of the 2008 Entry Draft.
"They've done a nice job acquiring assets," Tambellini said of the Kings. "A time comes like this where they think they need to add a piece, they've got the requisite assets to negotiate something.
"We were aware of him (Teubert). He's been involved with Team Canada at a high level. He's played with Jordan Eberle. He's not fun to play against. We need a lot more of that."
Teubert, a former member of the Regina Pats (Eberle was a teammate), had spent this season with Manchester of the AHL, totaling 2 goals and 10 points in 39 games, plus 57 penalty minutes. Teubert will report to Oklahoma City of the AHL.
"We get two picks in this year's draft in the first round, plus a good second and a couple thirds," Tambellini said of a growing stockpile of picks for next June. "Now we have significant options here of what we want to do going forward."
Penner and 27-year-old right wing Ales Hemsky were considered the best bargaining chips Tambellini had, should he opt to make a move to gather prospects and draft picks.
"There were multiple teams that were interested," Tambellini said of inquiries about Penner.
With both having another season left on their contracts -- Penner at $4.25 million, Hemsky at $4.1 million -- they held appeal because they'd be more than rental players down the stretch.
Both were linked through rumors with the Kings, who reportedly had been looking for an established top-six forward.
"There was never anything with Ales that even came close to me considering moving our best player," Tambellini said. "I knew I was going to get calls on some of our players, our high-end, experienced players. I knew that was going to happen, but I'm happy he's under contract and he's part of the future. There was never anything that made me think twice about returning a call."
In the end, Penner made sense for the Kings and Tambellini came away with what he was looking for.
"We didn't have to move any player at this point," Tambellini said. "He was under contract for another year, so I didn't feel really any pressure that if we didn't so something now something wouldn't happen later, or that he continues on with us."
Tambellini's other move saw him swap minor league defensemen with Colorado, shipping Shawn Belle for Kevin Montgomery.
Like Penner, several other Oilers players, notably defensemen Ladislav Smid and Jim Vandermeer, had heard their names mentioned as being of interest to other teams.
"You don't really want to pay attention to it that much," said Smid, who came to Edmonton from Anaheim as part of the Chris Pronger trade. "You try to focus on the games.
"Obviously, when you read your name or you hear it on radio or TV, it's kind of a nervous time for everybody. We talk about it a little bit, but it's more like joking about somebody being traded. Nothing serious."
"We have to give up a good player, but the first-round pick, the first-round prospect of a defenseman we don't have a lot of ... he's not ready for prime time yet, but he will be soon. Plus, the second (conditional) pick, fits perfectly into what the overall plan is as far as going ahead." -- Steve TambelliniSmid's name was connected to speculation regarding Nashville, while Vandermeer was pegged as a player several teams in playoff contention might be interested in.
"If something is going to happen, then it's going to happen," Vandermeer said when asked about the pressure of deadline day. "You try to lighten the mood. It's obviously a serious thing with a guy getting traded. You have to pack up half your life and move wherever you're going. If you get a call, you get a call. If not, you didn't waste any time stressing about it."
All the talk was just that, save for the constant suggestions that Penner or Hemsky might help Tambellini procure the types of prospects and picks needed to solidify the rebuild.
"I had to go into the trade deadline, as like last year, open-minded," Tambellini said. "Be just as open as you can and let people present offers. If it ends up fitting with us, then yes, we would do it.
"I'm in a position where I have to listen. It doesn't mean that I'm going to do anything. I would have been happy to have both players. They're both under contract, still on our team. But when the offer came up, the type of offer came up to where we are right now, then it made total sense."