When it comes to the Oiler blue, almost everyone is making a lot of money. Not quite seven of nine, probably 5 of 7 by the time Grebeshkov gets his new deal. Pat Quinn and Tom Renney must love a depth chart that features Sheldon Souray, Tom Gilbert, Lubomir Visnovsky, Denis Grebeshkov and Steve Staios. Youngsters Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham and Taylor Chorney offer depth.
GM Steve Tambellini will be tempted to move one of those blueliners in an effort to shore up the group of forwards who’ll break camp in the fall. Should they sign Grebeshkov for around 3M per season it might be possible to offload one of Souray, Visnovsky or Gilbert in a deal involving a “first shot scorer” for left-wing.
Quinn and Renney will have to decide which of the top 4D gives them the best chance to succeed in hard matchups. According to Desjardins, Souray played the toughest opposition and did it with the least impressive help among the top 4D (I’m counting Souray, Lubo, Gilbert and Grebeshkov as the top 4 here). Staios should get a mention here for playing pretty tough opposition with the dregs around him.
Both Quinn and Renney have been able to succeed with a varied group of defenders (puck movers, stay at homes, chaos men, finesse types, knuckle draggers) during their NHL careers. The Oilers are known for their ability to find useful defensemen each summer, so this is the one area from which they can borrow.
It comes down to which defender gets dealt and at some level it doesn’t matter. To quote the pretty character in the photo above, pleasure is irrelevant. Winning is the only thing.