EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 26:  Denis Grebeshkov #37 of the Edmonton Oilers steps on to the ice to warm-up before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place on January 26, 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The Blackhawks beat the Oilers 4-2.  (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers, mired in the league basement and in desperate need of an overhaul, have finally started making moves, yesterday sending defenceman Denis Grebeshkov to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a second round draft pick.

For the Oilers, this has no particular bearing on their immediate future.  They’re a bad team on pretty much every level, from their AHL-calibre goaltenders to their small and defensively inept forwards.   The blue-line had been the strength of the team, but with Grebeshkov gone, Sheldon Souray and Ladislav Smid injured and Tom Gilbert struggling through the worst stretch of his career, that isn’t the case any longer.  The biggest question is whether they’ll dismantle it further, and I suspect they will; it makes no sense for a rebuilding team to move only the cheapest and youngest of their four big money defencemen.  On the other hand, if the Oilers do plan on moving more of those players, did they need to clear out Grebeshkov at all?  This doesn’t feel like a trade that there was any pressing need to make (and I’m not alone in feeling that way).

But what about the player Nashville is getting?  Grebeshkov has struggled this season, both with injury and with poor play, but appeared to have broken through last year, scoring 39 points and recording a team-leading plus-12.  Those are good numbers for anyone, but especially a defenceman ranked fourth on his team in power play time.  Grebeshkov’s 26 even-strength points ranked him among the league leaders (12th in the NHL), tied with Dion Phaneuf and ahead of players like Niklas Lidstrom, Andrei Markov and Dan Boyle – despite playing in fewer games than any of them.  That’s high-end offence, and on a hapless Oilers team blessed with offensive defenceman Grebeshkov was often overlooked.

He’ll fit in well in Nashville.

Comments (4)

  1. Trade away a player with promise entering his peak years.

    Why?

    Because you can’t trade all the players leaving their peak years who are surely going to head downhill.

    Welcome to Oil Country.

    Who is the first round overall pick in 2012 and 2013?

    Because the Fall for Hall isn’t going to end.

  2. I figured Grebs would get traded. He was probably the easiest guy to move. No one will want Staios, and moving either Vishnovsky, Souray, or Gilbert might have to wait till the summer since that’s when bigger money can be moved around. It’s a very tough road a head but cutting Staios, and getting rid one if not two of the 3 highest paid guys. Plus giving ice time to Plante, Chorney and Peckham down the stretch will go along way to begin getting Kevin Lowe’s mess turned around.

  3. Realistically, I’m not sure what more the Oilers could have gotten. Would any GM sign the Grebs of this year to a $3 million plus contract this summer? He has been atrocious this year after an excellent second half last year.

    I don’t expect the team to be back in the playoff picture for about 3 years at which time Grebs would be almost 30 and on the downhill slide.

    Good trade. A second round pick is probably more attractive to add to a package than an underachieving $3 million defenceman.

  4. I posted this on LT earlier

    I do not understand why anyone thinks that Grebs has greater value than a second round pick. This year he has been an overpaid, underperforming third pairing defenseman on the worst team in the league.

    Next year he will either be not qualified and UFA or qualified at $3M+ and a pending UFA. If he plays badly then you’ve got an overpaid, underperforming third pairing defenseman. If he plays well you’ve got a top four puck moving dman at a reasonable price (but no bargain), but only for a single year because he’ll be gone for UFA riches at the end of the season, or signed to a very rich extension.

    Why would any team give up more than a second round pick for this?

    As for the Oil, a rebuilding team does not need a guy who in the best case scenario might be reasonably priced for a year, then expensive. Qualifying him at the end of the season makes no sense, so surely it’s better to get a second round pick for him now than to let him walk for nothing in the off season.

    The deal is as good as can be expected – certainly nothing to get upset about.

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