Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Grebeshkov)

You get the feeling the Edmonton Oilers’ brass could find a good defenseman six feet under. They’re just that good.

Since summer 2000 the Oilers picked up Scott Ferguson, Igor Ulanov, Steve Staios, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Jan Hejda and others for virtually nothing. They’ve also picked up Eric Brewer, Chris Pronger, Jaroslav Spacek, Dick Tarnstrom and others when needed. And when they decide to send a Marc-Andre Bergeron down the line, they cash him in for a Denis Grebeshkov.

It’s too soon to know, but it looks like they’ve got a quality defender who can play a complete game. Russia beckons, he’s not clearly established yet but this feels like a good acquisition and Grebeshkov is going to have a larger role this season. The season’s last 20 games tell us that much.

He plays a smart game, can whack people good, moves the puck efficiently (he isn’t the classy puck mover Gilbert is but this guy is effective) and is signed to a very nice one year deal. Length of contract could be a concern if he delivers a quality season. His splits show just how far he moved up the depth chart and are completely the opposite of Gilbert’s:

  • First 36gp: 0-4-4 -9
  • Final 35gp: 3-11-14 +11

I think Grebeshkov is going to end up being a key player on the 08-09 club. There’s a window of opportunity the size of the Atlantic ocean for him to have an impact at EVs and he plays a smart, physical game without taking dumb penalties. He’s certainly not perfect, but you can see the potential for the coach to pile on more responsibility and for the player to deliver results. There’s no history of injury, there’s a wide range of skills and he can play LD, which means players like Gilbert, Staios and Visnovsky are candidates for his pairing.

All his arrows are pointed in the right direction.

Prediction for 08-09: 75gp, 2-22-24 (.320 per game).

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23 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Grebeshkov)"

  1. Jonathan says:

    Is it overstating it to say that Grebeshkov’s performance could be the single biggest wildcard for the Oilers this year? We’re looking at Grebeshkov and then Smid and a bunch of converted right side guys on the port side, none of who have a history of playing tough minutes or (with the possible exception of Smid) much chance of jumping into the role.

    If Grebeshkov falters, a veteran left defenseman is a necessity. If he can play tough minutes effectively, it ripples throughout the whole lineup.

    He’s a nice player, and it’s a testament to MacTavish, Huddy and Co. that they were able to coax his talent to the surface, given that the Oilers are the third NHL organization to take a crack at it.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: Yeah, his being successful in an elevated role is huge. Souray is the other option but there are issues there too (special teams, foot speed, injuries) so if #37 can step up the entire team gets a boost.

    As for this being his third organization, it needs to be stated the first two he played for move people through town so quickly I doubt they have time to remember their room number.

    The Oilers are the first NHL organization he’s played for that has some direction, and in fact they seem better at bringing along the castoffs from other organizations than they are at developing their own.

  3. Schitzo says:

    Lowetide: If Brule reads this blog, you made his day.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Souray is the other option but there are issues there too (special teams, foot speed, injuries) so if #37 can step up the entire team gets a boost.

    I don’t know why I always think of Souray as a right-side defenseman. Probably because of the powerplay.

    As for this being his third organization, it needs to be stated the first two he played for move people through town so quickly I doubt they have time to remember their room number.

    Yeah, but Andy Murray was a decent coach, and Steve Stirling (I think) would have been his Islanders coach and he had some success getting the most out of young defensemen (Campoli, Martinek come to mind).

  5. Traktor says:

    Grebs isn’t a huge threat in the offensive zone so he won’t put up huge numbers but his transition game is the real deal. Instant offense.

    I’m thinking around 3 goals 18 assists (with the majority of them coming off the rush) 21 points.

  6. Bill Needle says:

    If he starts the season the way he did last year, those reasonable expectations will be about right — in Springfield.

  7. Doogie2K says:

    OT: Glenn Anderson’s number retirement was announced earlier today.

  8. Gord says:

    Length of contract could be a concern if he delivers a quality season.

    Does anyone forget his World Cup results? Put your money on 30 assists – easily………

  9. Big T says:

    I’m a big fan of pairing these puck movers with stay at home types. As such, Grebs-Staios looks like a good 2nd pair to me. Where that leaves the rest, I have no idea.

    T

  10. Bruce says:

    How about this?

    Souray – Gilbert
    Grebeshkov – Staios
    Smid – Visnovsky

    A puck mover with a stay-at-home, and a vet with a kid in each instance.

  11. Lord Bob says:

    OT: Glenn Anderson’s number retirement was announced earlier today.

    Bill Guerin will be crushed.

  12. Doogie2K says:

    Bill Guerin will be crushed.

    Indeed. It was sort of a foregone conclusion once he got elected into the Hall, but no one else was talking about it, so I figured I’d mention it.

  13. Matt says:

    i’ve gotta think Grebs is due for at least 5-7 goals this year. Anyone else a little about worried whether or not he’s an Oiler after the end of this season?

  14. Lord Bob says:

    I’m not worried about Grebeshkov next season. Something we’re forgetting is that the Oilers have almost no big contracts coming up at the end of the season: Cole, Grebeshkov, and Garon will probably be due substantial raises with guys like Smid and Brodziak sweeping up a couple mil between them and some Brules and Roys who’ll probably be standing still. Meanwhile, the Oilers have $10 million in cap space at today’s prices to play with.

    Grebs will get his money, and I see no reason to believe it won’t be in copper and blue.

  15. HBomb says:

    Souray – Gilbert
    Grebeshkov – Staios
    Smid – Visnovsky

    Bruce: with all due respect, I think that’s a waste of Visnovsky.

    How I’d do it (in order of responsibility):

    Visnovsky-Gilbert
    Souray-Grebeshkov
    Smid-Staios

    What I expect to see, once again, in order of responsibility:

    Souray-Staios
    Visnovsky-Gilbert
    Grebeshkov-Smid/Strudwick

    Either of Souray or Staios on a team’s “top pair” is a recipe for disaster. Both of them together? Suicide. But I worry that’s what they’re going to try. Now if that’s your number 2 pairing…..not bad.

  16. TorontOil says:

    OT: Glenn Anderson’s number retirement was announced earlier today.

    And guess what? They’re playing Phoenix that night! Are we required to have every number retirement ceremony in a game involving PHX/NYR?

  17. Big T says:

    I guess if I had to go with the existing line up I’d set it up like this:

    Souray – Gilbert
    Visnovsky – Staios
    Grebeshkov – Smid

    1st PP
    Gilbert – Visnovsky

    2nd PP
    Grebeshkov – Souray

    1st PK
    Souray – Gilbert

    2nd PK
    Smid – Staios

    Of course, ideally Souray’s EV minutes are replaced by a more competent defender, but this is how I’d run it.

    T

  18. HBomb says:

    Of course, ideally Souray’s EV minutes are replaced by a more competent defender, but this is how I’d run it.

    Man alive I’d love to have the extra 3.4 million in cap space and Jan Hedja instead of Souray about now…..

    Visnovsky Hejda
    Gilbert Grebeshkov
    Staios Smid

  19. Doogie2K says:

    And guess what? They’re playing Phoenix that night! Are we required to have every number retirement ceremony in a game involving PHX/NYR?

    Actually, we’ve only hosted the Rangers for one ceremony: Gretzky’s. We’ve had Phoenix and four of the five since then, simply so it’d be easier for him and Fuhr to be there. Interestingly, Fuhr’s ceremony was against San Jose. (And to complete it, Al Hamilton came all the way back in 1980 against Quebec.)

  20. Lord Bob says:

    I do think that it would be really, really weird to hang Anderson’s number without two of the biggest dynasty Oilers in the building.

    Besides, it may as well be Phoenix as anybody. From a business perspective, it sells out a game that normally might not do so well. Second, who aside from Edmonton do you think of when you think of Glenn Anderson? St. Louis maybe, but he was indisputably in his prime as an Oiler, so the other team doesn’t matter much.

  21. Scott says:

    Also from a business standpoint, the only 3-game mini-pack with a pre-season game included (which makes it a two game mini-pack, in my opinion) is the one including January 18 vs Phoenix.

    Bastards… (as I put in my name for mini-pack priority draw)

  22. Doogie2K says:

    Besides, it may as well be Phoenix as anybody. From a business perspective, it sells out a game that normally might not do so well.

    Have the Oilers had trouble selling out any games since the lockout, other than that one game (I think against the Sharks), where they forgot to put out the game-day singles and came up 300 short?

    Second, who aside from Edmonton do you think of when you think of Glenn Anderson? St. Louis maybe, but he was indisputably in his prime as an Oiler, so the other team doesn’t matter much.

    The Laffs? Still, point well taken.

  23. Bruce says:

    who aside from Edmonton do you think of when you think of Glenn Anderson?

    Team Canada.

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