2002-03: Tambellini played his freshman year at Michigan while being named CCHA Rookie of the Year, 2nd Team All-CCHA and CCHA All-Rookie Team. Tambellini led Michigan in scoring, becoming the first Michigan freshman since Mike Comrie to finish as the team’s top scorer.
Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round (27th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft
2003-04: Tambellini has hit a bit of a wall in his sophomore season with Michigan. His scoring was markedly off this season, but he was also paying increased attention to his defensive game. He played for Team Canada during the WJC U20 and scored two goals with 3 assists in 6 games and 1 silver medal. Suffered from a wrist injury during the middle of the season. His major junior rights were traded from Spokane to Kelowna creating speculation that he might be poised to leave Michigan early to play in the WHL. However, Tambellini has since turned down the offer and continues his development in college hockey.
2004-05: A bounce-back year for Tambellini. Proved that 2003-04 was an injury plagued fluke. His 57 points in 42 games near the top of the NCAA in points and points per game all season. Returning to Michigan to finish his college eligibility, there might be a Hobey Baker in the future for this star forward.
2005-06: After completing a strong career with the Michigan Wolverines, Tambellini had a tough time to start his 2005-06 season with the Kings. In training camp, Kings’ coach Andy Murray felt he was playing soft and he was sent to the AHL where he was a healthy scratch for the Manchester Monarchs home opener. He responded by scoring 25 points in his next 18 games with Manchester. He was rewarded with a call to the Kings in late November when he did not register a point in four games. He was sent back to Manchester and played well but the Kings traded him in early March to the Islanders, the team that drafted his father, Steve Tambellini, in 1978.
The Islanders kept Jeff in the NHL right through to the end of the season. His first and only goal came in his third game as an Islander on March 14 against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. He was added to the Sound Tigers for their playoff series against Wilkes-Barre where he picked up three points in the seven-game series.
2006-07: Tambellini split his time last season playing for the Islanders and their minor league affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He spent 23 games with the Isles, scoring two goals, seven assists for nine points along with six penalty minutes. While with the Sound Tigers, Tambellini turned in 30 goals, 29 assists for 59 points and 46 penalty minutes in 50 games.
Martin Christ & Jeffrey Bausch contributed to this profile