Another opinion for Grebeshkov?

Robin Brownlee
July 05 2009 08:02PM

It's obvious the Edmonton Oilers and defenceman Denis Grebeshkov aren't as close to a done deal fans as we've been led to believe in reports that have been circulating for weeks.

While there's been talk since before the season ended that Grebeshkov and the Oilers were closing in on a multi-year contract -- that it, in fact, was done and the ink was a formality -- a list of 20 players who have requested salary arbitration was released by the NHLPA today and Grebeshkov's name was on it.

From the NHLPA:

20 PLAYERS ELECT SALARY ARBITRATION

TORONTO (July 5, 2009) – The following players have elected Salary Arbitration:

Anaheim Ducks

James Wisniewski

Atlanta Thrashers

Colby Armstrong

Boston Bruins

Matt Hunwick

Buffalo Sabres

Clarke MacArthur

Carolina Hurricanes

Tuomo Ruutu

Chicago Blackhawks

Aaron Johnson

Columbus Blue Jackets

Marc Methot

Detroit Red Wings

Jiri Hudler

Edmonton Oilers

Denis Grebeshkov

Minnesota Wild

Kyle Brodziak

Montreal Canadiens

Tomas Plekanec

New Jersey Devils

Travis Zajac

New York Islanders

Nate Thompson

New York Rangers

Ryan Callahan

Nikolai Zherdev

Phoenix Coyotes

Nigel Dawes

Daniel Winnik

Tampa Bay Lightning

Matt Smaby

Vancouver Canucks

Kyle Wellwood

Washington Capitals

Milan Jurcina

The deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration notification is July 6, 2009 at 5 p.m. ET. Hearings will be held in Toronto July 20 to August 4, 2009.

WORK TO DO

Grebeshkov, 25, is coming off a season in which he scored 7-32-39 and was paid $1.5 million in the final year of a contract he signed with the Oilers after having his rights obtained from the New York Islanders in the Marc-Andre Bergeron trade. He averaged 21:10 per game in ice time and was plus-12 in 2008-09.

Grebeshkov's 39 points was third among Oilers defencemen behind Sheldon Souray (53) and Tom Gilbert (45). His ice time ranked behind Souray (24:50), Gilbert (21:58) and Lubomir Visnovsky (23:00).

Obviously, Grebeshkov feels he's worth more than the Oilers have been offering until now -- speculation has been he'd come in at a salary of about $3 million. It's not known how large a financial gap the Oilers and Grebeshkov have to bridge, but it's considerable enough he's included on the NHLPA list of 20 players opting for a hearing.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 myteammytown
July 06 2009, 08:29AM
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Mike76 wrote:

I wonder what an arbitrator would have given Horcoff last year. Probably 3 - 4 million. Why won’t they open the vault for this solid d-man? Oh! because there is nothing left. Penner and Horcoff have all the cap space.

3-4mil?

ahahahahahahahaha

thanks for the laugh

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#52 Jonathan Willis
July 06 2009, 08:30AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: @ Tyler:

I'm sure we can all agree that articles critical of Lowe and his abilities have been written.

I'm also quite sure we've never seen one that trashes his character quite the way that Barnes (probably correctly) trashed Heatley's character - probably because Lowe doesn't deserve that kind of character assassination.

That said, I just re-read that Barnes piece and I think it's as critical of the Oilers as it is of Heatley:

And if it seems odd that the Oilers would fall all over themselves to get Heatley's grudging approval, it's because they are who we think they are, a non-playoff team desperate for goal scoring. Their crushing need creates both a weakness and a willingness to view Heatley in only the most optimistic light.

It's not even hard for the Oilers' brain trust to extrapolate those positive likelihoods into Heatley's long-term happiness in Edmonton, playing for a team that will no doubt make the playoffs for years to come, bolstered by goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and their new, high-scoring left winger.

But Oilers GM Steve Tambellini will apparently keep chasing until Heatley turns them down flat.

Since the Oilers insist on denying the obvious signs that Heatley is who we think he is, they should at least seek an assurance, a safety net of sorts, if they land him. They should ask Heatley to sign a piece of paper, a legal document pledging his service to Edmonton for a specified period of time at a specified rate of pay. You know, a binding contract. That ought to do it.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. And while I'm not going to argue that Lowe got the benefit of the doubt a lot of times (he did, plain and simple) that was hardly just the media - I think for the most part all of us wanted to cut him slack until he sent Pronger away for Joffrey "one-shot scorer" Lupul and futures.

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#53 Reagan
July 06 2009, 08:37AM
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[b]@Robin:[/b]

Unfortunatley were are both going to have to wait to see what actually happens. I can't see the one season working huge salary numbers in his favor. The previous season was a bit of a blender, and last season, while working hard with the coaching staff to correct the huge gaping holes in his game. I don't see him recieving this huge contract increase. I'm under the assumption that the Oilers possibly offered him around 2.5 to 3 Million spread out over a 3 year deal, and the player was shooting for 3 to 3.5 over 3 years. Considering his second year numbers were good, I can't evaluate what he was or maybe potentially asking for. Grebs in my mind maybe thought he was even worthy of Gilbert salary. We could be in for a interesting case if that were the case... :)

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#54 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 09:17AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: @ Tyler: I’m sure we can all agree that articles critical of Lowe and his abilities have been written. I’m also quite sure we’ve never seen one that trashes his character quite the way that Barnes (probably correctly) trashed Heatley’s character - probably because Lowe doesn’t deserve that kind of character assassination. That said, I just re-read that Barnes piece and I think it’s as critical of the Oilers as it is of Heatley: And if it seems odd that the Oilers would fall all over themselves to get Heatley’s grudging approval, it’s because they are who we think they are, a non-playoff team desperate for goal scoring. Their crushing need creates both a weakness and a willingness to view Heatley in only the most optimistic light. It’s not even hard for the Oilers’ brain trust to extrapolate those positive likelihoods into Heatley’s long-term happiness in Edmonton, playing for a team that will no doubt make the playoffs for years to come, bolstered by goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and their new, high-scoring left winger. But Oilers GM Steve Tambellini will apparently keep chasing until Heatley turns them down flat. Since the Oilers insist on denying the obvious signs that Heatley is who we think he is, they should at least seek an assurance, a safety net of sorts, if they land him. They should ask Heatley to sign a piece of paper, a legal document pledging his service to Edmonton for a specified period of time at a specified rate of pay. You know, a binding contract. That ought to do it. Anyways, those are my thoughts. And while I’m not going to argue that Lowe got the benefit of the doubt a lot of times (he did, plain and simple) that was hardly just the media - I think for the most part all of us wanted to cut him slack until he sent Pronger away for Joffrey “one-shot scorer” Lupul and futures.

He could have handled it the way Murray is handling Heatly, that's reflecting well on Ottawa.

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#55 Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009, 10:12AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: That's a pretty balanced look at things -- I agree that Barnes took as many pokes at the Oilers as he did at Tambellini.

With the Lowe stuff, a couple of points that some people sometimes forget. And I'm speaking for myself here, not anybody else. The perception Lowe gets a free pass from the media has some merit, but much of that is the process and the job description of the beat man. Here's why: Most of what I wrote at The Journal and The Sun fell under the category of straight news, gamers and notes, all of which are not supposed to include opinion. You ask Lowe why he made the trade/signing etc and he answers. You run his quotes. If you have doubts about a particular move and ask a question about it and he shrugs it off and says, "We think Player X is a great acquisition and we're lucky to have him," then that's the quote that runs. That doesn't mean the writer agrees with the assessment, but it's the answer that was given, so it runs. In my case, I'd write roughly one opinion piece or column for every 6-7 news items because the convention is that beat men primarily play it straight and leave the opinion pieces to the columnists -- that's their job. It's more fun to write what you think and challenge a coach or GM on given points instead of just passing along what Lowe or whoever says, but that's the job description. I only got to write the columns/opinion pieces I did because of my experience. Younger beat guys seldom get to write op pieces. If a columnist is in town at the time of a particular trade/signing announcement and he wants to write it, then he gets first crack. If he isn't interested or is out of town on holidays or covering another event, then I'd get a crack at it. With news items running 6 or 7-to-1 against columns, it's no wonder "We think Dopita is a great signing" is what sticks in peoples minds before "No, it isn't."

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#56 swany
July 06 2009, 10:14AM
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Robin, this is getting to be like EK here Matty said a month ago that Grebs was close now he's not, Rashug said 2 times that Heatley would come to Edmonton if that was the best deal presented all proved wrong. The only guy getting anything right so far is you. It's disapointing that the guy from the Ottawa Sun was right when he said Heatley wouldn't come here and he is liked as much as EK. It would be nice to see more post from you and Gregor about what the Oil might do as it seems you two are the only guys that get things CLOSE to beeing right.

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#57 Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009, 10:24AM
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@ swany: I'm not the only guy getting it right. Grebeshkov and the Oilers might have been closing in on a deal when Matty wrote what he did, but things can go sideways for a lot of reasons. Jim doesn't make things up. What other players sign for during a particular negotiation or updates in forecasts about revenues and salary cap issues etc while talks are going on can change how the player/agent or the team approaches things mid-stream in talks. I'm as guilty as anybody in terms of jumping the gun and being wrong. You go with your best info, but sometimes you don't lock down every angle, or sometimes the situation changes quickly and you end up with egg on your face.

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#58 swany
July 06 2009, 10:38AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ swany: I’m not the only guy getting it right. Grebeshkov and the Oilers might have been closing in on a deal when Matty wrote what he did, but things can go sideways for a lot of reasons. Jim doesn’t make things up. What other players sign for during a particular negotiation or updates in forecasts about revenues and salary cap issues etc while talks are going on can change how the player/agent or the team approaches things mid-stream in talks. I’m as guilty as anybody in terms of jumping the gun and being wrong. You go with your best info, but sometimes you don’t lock down every angle, or sometimes the situation changes quickly and you end up with egg on your face.

Agreed, but you got Cole going back, Gregor's been close on a couple as well. My only problem is these guys report things that go sideways then why not report WHY they went that way. That guy from the Ottawa Sun said twice that Heatley wouldn't come to Edmonton and Rashug Called twice to conferm he would, All I would like is to find out why that's changed diddo for Grebs have the Oil dropped there offer has he asked for more, what's the hold up? If you report that it's close at 3.25 mil for 3 years what went wrong, there has to be a reason. Grebs stated he likes it here that he wants to stay, Matty didn't pull 3.1- 3.25 out of his butt so WHY no deal that's all. Some accountability would be nice.

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#59 Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009, 11:36AM
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swany wrote:

so WHY no deal

We don't know right now, so should we guess? Just because we don't know why the deal went sideways doesn't mean they weren't closing in on one until something derailed it.

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#60 Jack Bauer
July 06 2009, 12:17PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Have you and Tyler ever met? If not I think that would be epic.

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#61 Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009, 12:29PM
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Jack Bauer wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: Have you and Tyler ever met? If not I think that would be epic.

Nice hanging curveball. I'm not swinging.

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#62 Jack Bauer
July 06 2009, 12:49PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

So thats a no?

You seem to do enough swinging on your own.

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