Tambellini vs Comeau vs Bergenheim

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/08/2008 12:29:00 PM |
Let's assume for a moment things go accoring to plan, that Bergenheim has a signed contract, that he Comeau and Tambellini are all healthy entering camp in September.

It's kind of interesting to me how some may feel Jeff Tambellini must play on the first line next season with whoever the first line center or right wing is when the reality was he could not fight to get into high quality areas as all the prospects
(even Okposo) did on a regular basis.

Reality was Jeff Tambellini could not beat out Andy Hilbert who if Tambellini could match on defense and in the corners would be a dominating offense players off the chances Hilbert works for.

Having written this why is Ted Nolan (or any coach) going to give a top six spot to Tambellini after Bergenheim and Comeau were far more visible and productive than he was from the outset?

We can all write Tambellini needs a full shot but not over other prospects outplaying him and far more visible. This is going to be a competition and it's highly unlikely Jon Sim becomes a fourth line player.

We saw Tambellini called up in December to play with Comrie and Guerin as a
first line left wing, that line was pinned in it's own end of the ice for half the game and he was benched, the next day Tambellini was sent back to Bridgeport.

After Simon was traded and Tambellini recalled Comeau was shifted to right wing where he struggled until he moved back to left wing with Okposo's recall, why should Comeau change positions again if he is effective as a left wing?

For me right now Tambellini is on the outside looking in and he should be. He played over thirty games here last year and even with increased minutes at the end produced as little as he did two years earlier and on the season matched Tim Jackman's production.

Reality is Jeff Tambellini may only be a dominating AHL player. Jason Krog is, Mike Iggulden by the numbers has been and there are a lot of great AHL player who simply cannot get play at the same level in the NHL.

Reality also is Bergenheim is one of the hardest working forwards on this roster and what he brings will be critical which will have to include more scoring and that includes Comeau, those players are visible almost every game.

Numbers game here says until there is an injury and with so much competition for jobs Tambellini is in an uphill fight for a spot to displace Bergenhein or Comeau off left wing, any idea that he will be handed a job over either of those young players seems a reach at best and not in line with how any coach would do things.

This does not even bring left wing prospect Jesse Joensuu into the picture who could dispace Tambellini if he is the better NHL fit in camp and can create chances.

Ted Nolan two years ago said after returning from Bridgeport, Blake Comeau is the most complete NHL prospect he has, so far based on play that judgement has been correct.

Lots of competition, few answers.
Competition is a very good thing.


  1. What Tambellini needs is time on the PP to show he can score in the NHL. He barely had any last year. When you look at the allocated PP times from last season, it simply defies common sense that Tambellini didn't get a chance.

    Beyond the experienced PP players like Guerin and Comrie, Nolan seems to view PP as a reward, which to me is only going to hurt the team's scoring. Nolan only trusts veterans (who didn't get the job done on PP) and lower-line workhorses. In my opinion it is a negative mindset.

  2. Thank You for the comments, some good points so let me give my take.

    To be fair Bergenheim and Comeau did not see a lot of powerplay time either and they earned it by how well they performed at even strength a lot more than Tambellini after the playoff chase ended.

    Jeff Tambellini got an extended look on the top lines when Brad Shaw was here, he got another one at the tail end of this season.

    I think it's fair to say Jeff Tambellini needs to start creating chances as Bergie or Comeau and Okposo have done to force the coach to give him more chances, until he can do that he should not be taking any minutes from Comeau or Bergie.

    Tambellini should be the best of the bunch at this point because he is the oldest and has dominated the AHL.

    We saw this with Justin Papineau when he was here too. He just could not win the puck in the corners or drive to the net and create chances as he did in the AHL.

    I cannot get too deep into Ted Nolan's mindset but as a coach his job is to play whoever gives him the best chance at winning every single game and put on the ice who he feels will best give him that chance.

    To go the other way with this what does it say to Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin if they are on the bench for prospects because that's how a coach can lose his veterans.

    It's a delicate balance.


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