The GM spoke to edmontonoilers.com’s Ryan Dittrick about Eberle’s value to the Oilers, the negotiation process and more: DITTRICK: Steve, certainly an exciting day for the Edmonton Oilers organization in getting a deal done with Jordan Eberle on a six-year, $36 million contract. Just talk about it. TAMBELLINI:
I'm happy for the organization and I'm proud of Jordan because he deserves it. He's a young player, a young man that's totally committed to what we're trying to accomplish here. Now to have Taylor and Jordan both locked in for some time here with the Oilers, it feels pretty good. DITTRICK: Every player's contract negotiation is different, but with Taylor Hall being locked up last week, did that set a benchmark for what you were looking to get Jordan under here? TAMBELLINI:
I don't know if I'd term it as a benchmark. They're similar in a lot of ways, but they're different in a lot of ways, too, in how they play the game -- their personalities are definitely different. They're tight friends, close teammates and they're a huge part of us going forward. Everybody recognizes that, that we're trying to make sure that we solidify the core of this team for some time. DITTRICK: Jordan had no issue adapting to the NHL in his rookie season and took it to another level last season -- talk about the way in which this player has adapted his game over the course of the time that you've seen him here in Edmonton. TAMBELLINI:
It's interesting. When you think back, I remember coming here four years ago and there seemed to be a lot of pressure at that time that Jordan Eberle needed to have a spot here with the Oilers. If you recall, he had a pretty good camp; his testing was good, he'd had a year of experience in the AHL, but we decided to send him back to Regina where he had an outstanding year. I believe he scored 50 goals and had an incredible World Junior experience. When he came back, he was another year into it as far as experience and being ready to play in the NHL.
I think the lesson is every player is a little bit different. It's not a race to get to that point. If you're ready, you're ready. If it takes a year or two of extra experience, or strength or maturity, so be it. Jordan did it right, he accepted all the challenges that we did. He went back to junior and put it in another gear, and here, obviously, in the last couple years in the National Hockey League with an outstanding year last year. DITTRICK: There was so much talk about wanting to get this young core locked up now and in the future as you look forward with this hockey team. Last year Jordan got the All-Star nod and got a chance at the NHL Awards as he was up for the Lady Byng Trophy -- it seems like he's really ahead of the curve when you consider his age and the experience he's been able to take on so far. TAMBELLINI:
And the recognition that you feel around the League for our young players in general. Obviously with Jordan that the respect is there. The one thing you have to remember is that you don't get it unless you earn it. They've both (Taylor and Jordan) earned it. DITTRICK: Taylor and Jordan, as you mentioned, are best friends and the first congratulatory Tweet that came Taylor's way was from Jordan, talking about how he has seven more years of cleaning up after him. But talk about the friendships and camaraderie that's being built in this locker room rigut now. How do you see this team progressing in terms of building a winning culture? TAMBELLINI:
That's the whole idea, is that when you're trying to grow a hockey club, you need great players but more importantly you need great people. There's some excellent examples of veteran leadership with Shawn (Horcoff) and with Nick Schultz coming into our hockey club and the young players that are here. They want to be here, they want to be Oilers, they love being in this city -- that's what you want. That's how you gain the respect from the outside is presenting yourself in the right manner and these kids are doing that. DITTRICK: When we spoke with you last week, you talked about your evaluation of the summer had been in being able to lock up these pieces -- and Jordan is another big one. So now looking back on everything, how would you evaluate your off-season in getting all those pieces locked up? TAMBELLINI:
They're significant for us. When you think about the amount of time that they've committed to our organization and our city -- so hopefully we can see them on the ice soon. -- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick