5/1/08

NYI Fan Central Final Review of Jeff Tambellini

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/01/2008 07:09:00 AM
Today's NYI Fan Central Final Review puts the bright spotlight on Jeff Tambellini, who scored close to forty goals in the American Hockey league in 2007-08.

For my part I'm going to do an Islander-centric review.

2007-08:
I kind of feel like I did a year ago about Jeff Tambellini. I kept writing all summer this was his make or break year where we find out if he can play at the NHL level or he is the next Justin Papineau, based on what the organization has said we still do not know.

I'm kind of disappointed the Islanders did not do more to find out from the beginning but Garth Snow/Ted Nolan are paid to put the best tweleve players on the ice and it was obvious early he was not one of them.

When Tambellini played here early (in limited minutes) he was invisible unlike Comeau and Bergenheim who did generate chances so what are they supposed to do?

I have gone across the board regarding Tambellini. I remember an early game (mid-November/Dec) he was placed with Comrie and Guerin, that line got pinned in it's own end most of two periods and could not win a puck, the next day he was back in Bridgeport and you could see the coaches frustration.

Afterward he went back to Bridgeport and dominated like I have never seen him do and I was convinced he was finally ready for the NHL to where he could make an impact and that things had changed.

He came up and outside of a goal against Philadelphia and some outside shots he never really generated anything with his speed or natutal ability. I want to see the quickness, him creating chances and using his skills.

Comeau and Bergenheim do. Colliton took a puck against the Rangers at Msg and drove to the net for a breakaway like he had the instinct. Frans Nielsen in limited looks has shown it too. Kyle Okposo in his nine games showed it also.

How come this has been missing from Jeff Tambellini's NHL game for parts of three seasons? It's like since that goal against the Devils in 2006 he has been in a fog when he comes up here or trying to impress with defense and prove he can check well.

I saw no real difference from that version of Tambellini vs the one who finished out this season playing with veterans and receiving more minutes, he is easily removed from the puck, does not do well on the board and does not seem to use his speed or is comfortable with the level of competition.

I guess what I'm writing is something is missing from his AHL game. According to Greg Logan's speculation there has been disagreements regarding Tambellini even among the players with one view being he's had his chances while others feel he needs a full opportunity.

Looking ahead:
From all reports Jeff Tambellini is a quality prospect with a lot of character who's been great for Bridgeport. He's a restricted free agent and will likely be back because the prevailing thought is he has not had a full opportunity yet but at his age it's long-overdue for him to break out so the pressure should be on from day one of camp with again no roster spot guaranteed with Comeau, Bergenheim, all left wings and none of them a first line player at this point. Jon Sim is also a left wing and that does not consider a lot of other left wingers who could be brought in.

Tambellini was traded from Los Angeles (with Denis Grebeshkov) a few years ago for Mark Parrish so it would not be the first time an organization had decided he is not going to make it.

I think this is a player management should be on the fence about because you could make a good case he is not going to develop into a top six scoring forward. He's not a player who is going to beat anyone physically or dominate in the corners and his defensive play does not seem to be NHL caliber.

Final grade:
Tambellini's Islander grade for the lack of showing his skill, speed and shot which several other prospects have is a F because he did not force Ted Nolan to give him more playing time which the other prospects did with their insticts.

I did not care about the numbers this year for Tambellini, but there is no excuse to be removed from the puck as easily as he was combined with not creating the chances Comeau and Bergenheim did with his speed or skills, it's not two years ago and his offensive intincts should be better than both those players.

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