November 27 2013 07:36PM
The Edmonton Oilers recalled Denis Grebeshkov from the minors today, placing Phil Larsen on IR and changing up the roster look a little on the back end. Edmonton's defensemen have been under siege for the entire season, and there appears to be no relief in sight—can Grebeshkov help this time?
When Grebeshkov was signed by the Oilers during the off-season, there was a very specific idea about his role and how the veteran might be able to help:
- MacT: “What I see with him is he had a bit of a rocky year last year in the KHL. But he’s coming back as soon as we get his immigration (worked out) and he’ll be training virtually the whole month of August here. He’s going to be highly motivated on just a one-year deal and I’m sure he wants to make a career over here. He’ll be a good role model for Yak (Russian forward Nail Yakupov). Denis is a hell of a guy.”
Well, as it turned out, Grebs was a little rusty, a little slow and a little addled, and the result was some fairly chaotic hockey at the NHL level.
- 3, 0-0-0 +1 11:36 2pims 2 shots 42 shifts
That's not much, folks. Coach Dallas Eakins nursed him through those games and it became obvious that the Russian was rushing back to the big leagues and not in game shape.
Grebeshkov did have something to offer last time he was in the NHL, but this season the Oilers had a lot of options and didn't need to suffer through while he rounded into shape. Grebs went to the AHL and performed thusly:
- 11, 2-3-5 E 13shots
That's the kind of boxcar you would expect from a healthy Grebeshkov based on our previous viewings of him (before he skipped town for Russia). Ten days ago, our own Jonathan Willis had this observation about Grebeshkov:
- Willis: He needed time in Oklahoma City to stabilize his game, but the results of late have been encouraging and if he keeps playing as he has the last little bit he will work his way back to the majors.
Grebeshkov has been recalled, and may get another shot on this road trip to show what he can do.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
If Grebeshkov has done the work—and it sounds like he's worked hard in OKC—then this opportunity should see him get a full look to see if he can help. So far this season, Anton Belov has moved up the depth chart to grab more minutes, and maybe the other Russian in the race can do it too.
We're about to find out.
(Grebeshkov photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)