Canadiens at Oilers, G4, 09-10

Denis Grebeshkov had a fine draft pedigree. speeds mentioned him as a possible Oilers selection in the middle of the 2002 draft (Oilers went with Jesse “hi can I take your order” Niinimaki) and he was selected 18th overall by the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings left him in Russia for a year and then developed him in the AHL (three seasons and a bigger cup of coffee in the show as he developed) but then sent him off to the Island along with Jeff Tambellini for 2 actual NHL players (Brent Sopel and Mark Parrish).

The Islanders botched signing him and Grebs headed back to Russia which may have been a very good thing for his development. On February 18, 2007 the Oilers acquired him for MA Bergeron and a third round pick in 2008′s draft.

Grebeshkov has been a quality pickup for the Oilers and in tandem with Tom Gilbert represents the present and the future on the Oiler blue. He’s off to a fast offensive start and with Sheldon Souray questionable for tonight may see an increase in powerplay time.

The Edmonton Oilers are very good at acquiring defensemen and developing them. Denis Grebeshkov is the latest example and may end up being one of the best we’ve seen here in a long time.

The Oilers have a plethora of veterans on the shelf. Aside from Fernando and Pouliot up front, there’s also Sheldon Souray (concussion) and Steve Staios who are considered well below 100%. I notice a lot of Oilers and Habs fans are confident their team will win tonight so this should have hilarious impact on one or the other fanbase.

I like the current team. They’ve had some silly mistakes and bad luck plus the goalie is taking his time rounding into regular season form but there are some very nice arrows. Lots of men are helping on the score sheet, big Penner has had two solid games, Hemsky is getting more chances and the minute men are too. The blue is banged up but Grebeshkov and Gilbert are capable of taking on more of the load and an injury to Staios may cut back his playing time and that’s a good thing.

I’m surprised Jacques is still on the top line and quite surprised Comrie and O’Sullivan don’t have more goals. But it’s early, and by the time the 10 game mark passes I suspect we’ll know who the cleanup hitters are for the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers.

One more thing: the Bermuda triangle that is the backup goalie situation has to become a story this week or the Oilers will run the risk of overplaying Khabibulin. Interesting choice: Russian roulette or the kid the previous coach didn’t trust.

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