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:
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning
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.