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- Oilers Gameday – Vs. Flames
- Is Jake Gardiner A Fit In Edmonton?
- Loyalty Poll
- Oilers Gameday – Vs. Avalanche
- Taylor Hall – Breaking Bad?
- Disaster In The D-Zone
- Making The Grade…David Perron
- Making The Grade – Devan Dubnyk
- It’s All About the Benja…er…Bordens?
Just Who Is Denis Grebeshkov?
- Updated: September 13, 2013
It’s always nice to say hello to an old friend isn’t it? Craig MacTavish did that this summer with Denis Grebeshkov, who made his return from the KHL after a multi-year stay. Grebeshkov was part of the first edition of the rebuild, with guys like Tom Gilbert, Andrew Cogliano and Robert Nilsson. Grebeshkov was a solid player under MacTavish, but was moved on when he fell out of favor with Pat Quinn during the 2009-10 season.
The Oilers were able to get a second round pick for Grebeshkov from Nashville in the deal. We remember Denis as a decent puck-moving defender and a guy who could play top-four minutes. Is Grebeshkov still that defender? It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen him play. We remember who he was, but just who is Denis Grebeshkov?
Denis Grebeshkov’s stats in Russia suggest that this is a player that has gone down hill big time since his last game in the NHL, which was during the 2010 NHL playoffs. Grebeshkov only had nine points in 44 games this season, and saw a decline in ice time. Why? I’m not sure what went wrong in the KHL, but something clearly wasn’t right there.
Grebeshkov is a strong guy, he’s got a lot of lower body strength and that seems to fit in with what new coach Dallas Eakins is looking for in his players, so that’s a plus. He knows how to handle himself against bigger NHL players too. While he won’t be muscling anyone out, he won’t be getting out-muscled by many players when he gets in this year. He’s not the prettiest player, but he knows how to play the position.
Remember, last time he wore an Oilers jersey he was arguably the team’s most productive defender and wasn’t a liability in his own end. Have to think that played a factor in this move.
Grebeshkov is an odd case. He’s not a pure puck-moving offensive defender and certainly isn’t a terrific shut-down guy. That being said, he can play both roles effectively and certainly is an NHL level defender.
From an offensive perspective, Grebeshkov is good with the first pass out of the zone. We saw in his first stint that he is more than able at getting the puck to the skilled forwards. Sure, he turned the puck over his fair share, but overall he was a really good player for the Oilers in the sense of getting the puck out of the zone.
He’s got good offensive instincts and has the ability to play on a power-play unit, that’s important. He fits the mold of the defensemen that MacTavish has been looking for all summer. Decent in his own end, and has puck-moving skills. All important qualities to have.
Overall, Grebeshkov is pretty much the player who left Edmonton during the 2009-10 season. He’s good not great in his own end, and has good offensive instincts and puck-moving skills. He’ll most likely make the roster, and I think will be in the lineup almost every game this season. This is a guy MacTavish trusts, and I’m thinking Dallas Eakins will be trusting him quite a bit too.
This was an underrated move by the Oilers. Sure, he’s been here before, but the guy can play hockey. We have to weigh his KHL stats of course, but I don’t think a few bad seasons on bigger ice totally kills this player.
Grebeshkov is going to be really interesting to watch as camp goes on. IF , and there is a reason that’s capitalized, Grebeshkov plays the way he’s capable, the Oilers defense is looking pretty good.
Later on today Brendan McLean will have his pacific division preview up, and Dave Gordon will have a post up on training camp day two. Dave is there live once again today! In the meantime, follow me on twitter @Alex_Thomas14!