This is a positive. The arbitration process is an adversarial one, and can frequently sour the relationship between a player and a team.
While it’s good to have Grebeshkov under contract, this also helps make the Oilers’ salary cap situation clearer. Here’s the likely roster as of right now, with RFA’s Brule and Smid excluded:
Forwards (13): Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, O’Sullivan, Pisani, Nilsson, Moreau, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot, Stortini, MacIntyre, Jacques
Defensemen (6): Visnovsky, Souray, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Staios, Strudwick
Goaltenders (2): Khabibulin, Deslauriers
Total Cap Space: 3, 269, 167 (courtesy of CapGeek.com)
That leaves a little over 3-million to sign Ladislav Smid and Gilbert Brule, meaning that as it stands the Oilers should be fine cap-wise. If, however, the Oilers decide to address some of their more obvious deficiencies (penalty-killers, third-line centre) it becomes clear that something will have to give.
Looking at contracts relative to performance and having listened to what the organization has hinted at over the summer, I’d say it’s an interesting time to be Robert Nilsson.