tambellini-lowe-cp-080731

Steve Tambellini, left, takes over as Edmtonton GM from Kevin Lowe. ((David Bloom/Canadian Press/Edmonton Sun))

Steve Tambellini was named general manager of the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday after an organizational shakeup that will see longtime GM Kevin Lowe promoted to president of hockey operations.

Tambellini, 50, had for the past three seasons been the vice-president and assistant general manager for the Vancouver Canucks, where he spent more than two decades as a player and then in the front office.

"I can't tell you how excited I am, and my family, to be a part of this organization," said Tambellini.

The Trail, B.C., native worked alongside Lowe for the 2002 Olympics, serving as director of player personnel for Canada's gold-medal winning team. He also served as a general manager for Hockey Canada at world championships in 2003 and 2005.

Through their Hockey Canada experience, Tambellini has also worked with Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish.

"In my estimation, and many people in hockey feel the same way, Steve's the strongest candidate in hockey at the executive level that wasn't a general manager," said Lowe. "So a real easy choice, having the relationship and knowing the pedigree and the fact he's extremely excited to be an Oiler."

Lowe, 49, had served as Edmonton's general manager for more than eight years, with the Oilers reaching the Stanley Cup final in 2006. The past two seasons, the Oilers have missed the playoffs and been dogged by injuries, although the team is well-stocked by young prospects.

Lowe said the restructuring came about within the last week. He acknowledged that new owner Darryl Katz  played a role in the new look of the front office.

Kevin Prendergast, Edmonton's longtime vice-president of hockey operations, is the new assistant general manager.

Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement it was an opportunity too good to pass up for Tambellini, whom he praised.

"On behalf of the entire Canucks organization, we would like to thank Steve for his many contributions to our club as a player and manager over nearly 20 years," said Gillis.