Corey Potter, Denis Grebeshkov waived

The Edmonton Oilers placed defencemen Corey Potter and Denis Grebeshkov on waivers earlier today.

The Depth Chart Today

With the moves (and assuming both players are either demoted or claimed), the Oilers’ current healthy NHL roster looks something like this:

In the loss to Toronto last night, Edmonton dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen because David Perron was unable to go. They have a few days before Saturday’s game against Detroit, but they’re even more vulnerable to a sudden illness right now, with no spare forwards and no spare defencemen.


Grebeshkov’s $1.5 million cap hit is going to be a hard one for any team to pick up. He’s played three games, averaging 11:36 per night, and barely been given a chance to show whether he’s still up to NHL standards or not.

And that makes little sense. General manager Craig MacTavish added Grebeshkov over the summer to bolster the Oilers’ defensive depth. Edmonton could certainly use another option on the blueline; Justin Schultz has been terrible, Nick Schultz hasn’t been much better, Ladislav Smid and Andrew Ference have had their struggles and on a good NHL team a player like Anton Belov would have to fight for playing time. Schultz the elder has been given a few nights off, but Schultz the younger remains bulletproof for no apparent reason.

Yes, Grebeshkov’s pre-season injury put him behind the eight ball. Yes, maybe he’s a less than ideal option. But he hasn’t been bad in spot duty and a little internal competition wouldn’t hurt. It was one of the things Dallas Eakins emphasized at his first press conference as the Oilers’ head coach:

Foremost, the number one thing we are going to be committed to is competition. This team is going to compete. If you’re going to play for the Edmonton Oilers you are going to compete no matter if you’re a first-line guy, the sixth defenceman, the 23rd man on the roster, a player playing in the minors you are going to compete to play on this hockey team. That’s how you win hockey games in the NHL right now. It’s how you get your organization better. That is my commitment to this organization: to make that happen.

Denis Grebeshkov was once a pretty decent NHL defenceman. Maybe he still is, maybe he isn’t, but on a team with defencemen begging through their play to sit out a night or two, the coaches never bothered to find out. And unless Grebeshkov is still struggling with injury that’s inexplicable.


This move actually makes a good deal of sense, based on what we know today. Potter’s just back from injury and based on Jim Matheson’s comments a few days ago he needs a bit more time to ease his way back into the lineup. The Oilers could have left him in Oklahoma on a conditioning stint, but two things make a waiver placement a little more sensible:

  • 1. In the likely event that Potter clears, the Oilers can let him work his way back without him taking up an NHL roster spot.
  • 2. If Potter’s claimed, the Oilers have a very reasonable alternative on the farm in Philip Larsen.

If Potter were fully healthy, I would think his $775,000 cap hit might make him appealing to another NHL team; as it stands though he hasn’t played this season and would be a gamble.

The Other Possibility

It’s always possible that the Potter and Grebeshkov moves were mere preliminaries to a bigger transaction. Waiving the duo clears roughly $1.7 million in cap space, as well as opening up two roster spots (one or more of which might be claimed by one of the currently injured forwards coming off IR).

We’ll see.

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  • O.C.

    Perhaps they should have waived Ferrence while they were at it. Watching him this season, I don’t see why he was such a heralded signing. On a small team that’s too easy to play against, we decide to make an undersized dman our captain. Terrible signing. The only guy doing anything on the back end is Petry, who truly does look like he could be a top 2 dman. Smid and Belov are no 5-6 guys. Justin Schultz has potential to be a good 3-4 but he may be one of the most overrated players in the league. And, Nick Schultz doesn’t belong in the NHL.


    We have too many ‘cusp’ players. Time to package some of these guys up with a prospect and/or a pick and bring in someone useful. Taylor Fedun’s a great guy with a great story, but he’s one horse in a race for the bottom pairing gig on a somewhat anemic ‘D’ corps. Maybe one day he’ll make the show and play valuable minutes, but not before players like Nurse or Klefbom. This team doesn’t have the luxury of standing pat. If we can get value for guys like this we should be moving them out as fast as we can. Also, Omark. Like Grandma used to say, “Sh!t or get off the pot.”

  • Bucknuck

    Grebs was a flyer to give depth and competition on D, and considering how bad the Oil have been hammered on injuries, I can’t blame MacT for picking him up. Belov was a flyer that worked out pretty well, Grebs, not so much. Larson is a good option.

    I like that MacT finally had a bit of depth in the organization, now if only that would translate to wins. So tired of losing…

    • DSF

      Why are you so high on Larsen?

      He couldn’t make one of the worst D corps in the league in Dallas last season and managed to post a -10 in the 32 games he did play.

      Just another one of the 232 7-8 D MacT has amassed.

      • Bucknuck

        I should have extended my sentence to say “a good CALL-UP option.” He’s a fringe player to be sure, but better than some of the pylons they had to call up in years past. I’m not really “high on him”.

        I’d rather have an NHL 7-8 D than AHL mid level D, which is what they had before.

        It’s hard to find any positives right now, though. Someone put a big lump of you-know-what in my kool-aid last night. I hate the LEAFS, and now I gotta listen to a whole year of trash talk.

  • Zarny

    Completely unrelated question, anyone know why you have to be at the DJ Suitcase event before 7:30? do they not let you in after that or something? seems silly. someone please explain.

  • Serious Gord

    I see a different version of reality than you do JW RE: freakinGrebeshkov. Terrible player and a colossally stupid waste of money and contract by MacT.

    Potter I have more time for.

    Smyth should be ready to return soon, and Larsson, KBomb, and Fedun are at the ready.

  • DarkLinkCosplay

    Why get players that DE is not going to play? The time has come for DE to start making player personnel decisions so that MacT does not look like a idiot bringing in players that his coach does not believe in.

    We need fitter players and I propose that we get tri-athletes and Ethiopian long distance runners ………. and get DE to teach them hockey.

    Once DE gets more fit athletes, everything will be fine.

    Memo to pudgy hockey players like Kessel, Byfuglien, Murray…….please do not apply you need to be able to see the puck in your skates!

    • 2004Z06

      What are you talking about???
      The Oilers are once again at the bottom of the league and you are suggesting MacT shouldnt do anything about it?
      You Oilers fans are all the same. You axe tambellini for doing nothing and now that mact is looking to make “bold moves” (still pending..) you think it would be the wrong move? Youre not very bright are you?
      Isnt this clear from watching the games? Or do we need to be patient because its “a process”? Youre pathetic, that cliche “do not trade from a position of weakness” DOES NOT APPLY with the edmonton oilers because its exactly what they need. These players need their cages rattled.

      6 oilers players were seen last night at the bar including Hall & Eberle after they get shut out by the Leafs. Irrelevant to what we are talking about but, these players do not care enough.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I didn’t like MacT when he was the head coach, And, looks like he wasn’t much of a GM either, most of the trades he made so far didn’t pan out, Ferrence, Grebeshkov, Belov;
        The trade he didn’t make, well, a first string goalie, one or two experienced forwards, strong and tough, 2 top four D-men etc. etc.
        One might think I’m asking for too much, but when you calm down and think about it, you’ll realize that that’s in his job description for crying out loud!!!! He luck out on Gordon, I give him that, but at the time of need,( and it seemed like rebuilding mode again anyways ), why not just bring in some of the kids from the minors, at least they give 110% every game! they can’t be any worse than the millionaires that are playing right now??!!!

      • **

        It’s one thing to talk about stats and the performance of the team and staff and be passionate about that, and it’s an entirely different weird obsession to track the players or the staff outside of the rink.

        At the end of the day these guys are just doing a job, and like any other person in any other job they have time off the clock. Hockey is not their entire lives.

        You talk about those guys being at a bar as if we the fans own them or something and they didn’t have permission to go because they sucked at their job.

        That is just wrong. They are human beings. They have lives. I hope you do too.

        • BLAKPOO

          Well said. Just look at what Philly got trying to control Richards and Carter. This kind of thinking is just complete BS. You dont own the players man!! Grow up

      • Romanus

        Why should you care where they go after the game win or lose? What they do in their personal life is just that, personal. Go ahead and critique their performance on ice but not what they do outside that.

        • Devolution

          You are correct, their personal life is their personal life. I believe the point he was trying to make was that many of the fans who paid $225 to watch that complete lack of effort were too upset to go to the bar afterward.

          The players who delivered that monstrosity were getting paid $73,170 to do it and apparently it didn’t bother them for long enough to disturb their party mood.

          • **

            People paid to go watch a hockey game. Nowhere in the ticket does it say the Oilers must win. Everyone is free to make their own expectations.

            Some people here are taking the faith of the team a little too personal.

          • Spydyr

            You are right there is no promise of a win.Although there should be a promise of an honest effort.The people buying the tickets for the most part have worked hard for their money to buy that ticket.Is it too much to ask the players work hard also?

      • Zarny

        Umm no.

        Learn to read.

        I said MacT shouldn’t make any trades he wasn’t looking at before the season started.

        Contrary to the dismay of some on here it was blatantly obvious the Oilers were going to struggle out of the gate.

        They are a young team, their #1 C has played all of 112 NHL games and until last game was supported by Boyd Gordon and an AHLer.

        While the young kids learn a new system that relies heavily on judgement they are supported on the 3rd and 4th line by a bunch of newbs with virtually no NHL experience.

        Best case this year was for the Oilers to be in the mix for 7th or 8th but 9-12th was always realistic.

        With injuries, a complete lack of depth and a heavy road schedule it was likely the Oilers would struggle to start the season.

        What’s pathetic are fans like you who wet their pants after 13 games when the likely outcome occurs. You don’t make knee-jerk trades in a panic and from a position of weakness.

        Yes, bold moves are required between now and 2 years from now when the core of the rebuild (Eberle, Hall, Nuge, Yak and Schultz) average more than a measly 123 NHL games of experience.

      • YFC Prez

        Tell me what oiler fans axed Tambellini ? I didn’t know we could do that. Hey Lowe you’re fired! There done and done.

        I agree that a major trade is needed. And one of the kids needs to go, but after watching the team suffer this long I don’t mind waiting until the right deal is there to be made. I don’t want to see a knee jerk reaction and lose one of the key players we all suffered through this crap hockey go at a rate of return any less than 100 percent fair value. No losing trades.

        Ps. Why do you call someone pathetic cause you disagree with their opinion on an opinion comments section in a hockey blog? Kinda douche isn’t it ? I think we’re all the most wound up I’ve ever seen us oiler fans. That’s great. Hopefully Katz is listening.

  • YFC Prez

    Kevin Lowe do the right thing resign . Give Daryl a break , he does not want to fire his best friend.

    Kevin won’t do it because he knows nothing about being a man.

      • DarkLinkCosplay

        I understand your point, but in reality, most people don’t really have a chance to do that. What do we do, go to K.Lowe’s doorstep, ring the buzzer, then tell him he needs to be a man? Go on a radio show and call out K. Lowe? Shout it on the streets? Most people already know K. Lowe’s shortcomings; I don’t think there’s anything wrong with expressing frustration on a forum (in the form of calling him out as a wuss, anyways).

        • 2004Z06

          Expressing your frustration in a forum is fine, we all have. But expressing your frustration to the Oilers directly via telephone call, email or letter may prove to be more productive.

          Time for all 2nd tier fans to rise up!

  • james_dean

    I don’t see what the big deal is.

    Both were injured. Both have to play to get back into game form. With the current state of the OIlers, that has to be done in OKC rather than in Edmonton. It can’t be on conditioning stints, because that takes roster spots, and the Oilers need the roster spots, or risk the stupidity of having to play a forward short.

    Smyth or Hamilton may be ready by Saturday for the forward spots, and likely Larsen or Fedun get the call from OKC for Saturday.

    If either Potter or Grebeshkov get waived, it is no big deal. Both Larsen and Fedun are younger and probably better, and OKC is overflowing with D at the moment.

  • Serious Gord

    So MacT wasted over one mill of cap room on greb. Was there no one else in the hockey world who he could have gotten that wouldn’t have come th that issue? Another case of hiring friends…

      • Serious Gord

        Cap room is absolutely critical in this year like no other.

        Every bit helps – especially if you are trying to bring in a player with a higher cap hit than you are sending out – a very likely thing if the oil is moving prospects/picks for immediate help.

        MacT had other options besides greb who had two way contracts and thus could be sent down and their salary would be greatly reduced and the cap hit virtually nullified.

        • Serious Gord

          Not just cap room. We have an owner claiming the Oilers can’t be feasible in Edmonton without handouts from the public. It’s not Canadian Tire money they just wasted there…