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Oilers add depth at D

Edmonton Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish claimed to be done making moves with his roster this summer after trading winger Magnus Paajarvi and a second round pick in next year’s entry draft to St Louis in exchange for David Perron but signing yet another defenceman to his team’s roster Thursday afternoon, it would appear that that is just not the case. While the Oilers have been one of many NHL teams in recent history desperate for NHL calibre defencemen, they were usually listed as one of the most desperate. This season however, it looks as though there will be some competition on the blue line, or better yet, some trade bait for top 9 help on offence. 

The Oilers have been patient with and committed to Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry, both of whom have been highly effective defensive defencemen. And then of course there was the highly publicized and anticipated signing of Justin Shultz last season. Add to that Nick Schultz, Anton Belov, Andrew Ference, Philip Larsen, Corey Potter and the returning Denis Grebeshkov you notice that the Oilers may have an extra body or two included in their 47 professional contracts. Of course there is also Oscar Klefbom, anxious and ready to crack the Oilers’ NHL roster.

Because the Oilers are so close to the 50 contract maximum, you have to think that the Oilers are ready to make a multi-player trade for a single player. The trouble will be trading someone with value that the team can do without. It would be a complete and utter shock if Smid, Petry or Justin Schultz were moved, but stranger things have happened in the hot August months in Edmonton. 

Grebeshkov was traded to the Nashville Predators in 2010. When his contract was not renewed with the team, he made the jump to the KHL to play for St. Petersburg SKA. In his 3 seasons in the KHL, Grebeshkov’s numbers are approximately half of those accumulated in roughly 3 season in the NHL. 

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
2007-08 Edmonton Oilers NHL 71 3 15 18 22
2008-09 Edmonton Oilers NHL 72 7 32 39 38
2009-10 Edmonton Oilers NHL 47 6 13 19 26
2010 Nashville Predators NHL 4 1 1 2 6
2010-11 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 54 8 9 17 44
2011-12 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 46 0 8 8 51
2012-13 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 14 0 1 1 8
2012-13 Khanty-Mansiysk Yugra KHL 30 0 7 7 14

The only reason MacT would have brought Grebeshkov back has to be along the same lines as why he is looking to keep Sam Gagner, he saw something in the player, in the personality that he strongly believes in. While fans began to call Grebeshkov 'Garbagekov' as early as 2007 there are those that are excited at this second chance. Me, I remain pessimistic. There is a reason why Grebeshkov didn't come back earlier; there were no deals, no no deals worth entertaining. 

If the Oilers can use this signing to improve their front end, then this harmless one year experience will be well worth it. While this signing may appear risky, make no mistake it is not even close to the Cam Barker experiment. This signing of course also means that the Oilers are not interested in signing defenceman Mark Fistric this summer, a player the team traded for this January. 

MacT is looking to do something, move players and continue to improve his roster, but does he have the pieces to move? Just because the Oilers are willing to move certain players doesn't mean that there is necessarily a market for them. But make no mistake, MacT has been a man of actions this summer, no matter if you see the actions as good, bad or somewhere inbetween, the way I see this Grebeshkov signing. 

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, | Oil Patch | Permalink
  Tags: denis+grebeshkov

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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.

Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.

Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.

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