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

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.

Potter

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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  • Serious Gord

    Listened to prime time sports – Toronto radio show – yesterday and they were all in agreement that EDM was a very very soft team to play against.

    It is for shame…

    • Quicksilver ballet

      It wouldn’t matter who the Oilers landed to play in goal. Behind this soft limp noodle group, anyone would struggle to play goal, or have success at any position for that matter. It doesn’t take any brawn to be the chippiest/dirtiest team in the league and let your opponent put you on the PP. Dish it out, throw the first and only punch and hang on if needed. Last time I checked, you still get rewarded with a 2 minute break for butt ending or spearing someone in todays game. Start stirring the pot/show some passion. Be the baby Bulls of Birmingham reincarnated. I remember a kid named Ricky Vaive, every time that kid came to town it looked like he had just returned from WW3.

      Time to Cowboy up, boys.

      • Serious Gord

        The most damning aspect of the last game – damning of both the players and – more significantly, the coach – was how they plays the third period:

        Down 4-0, with little chance of a comeback, they collectively rolled over.

        Sure they got a lot of shots, but How about taking a pound of flesh?

        How about drilling every leaf in sight?

        How about hemsky two-handing someone across the the ankles?

        How about “falling” on Reimer a half dozen times?

        How about giving Carlyle a coronary as he watches his stars being assaulted?

        And WHY didn’t the coach tell them, hell, why didn’t he ORDER them to do it?

        Instead the leafs get on the plane with Nary a bruise.

        The biggest thing lacking on this team is testicles. The oil is the biggest group of pu$$ies in the league – from Klowe on down – and everyone in the league knows it.

        • Zarny

          I hear you… And I MOSTLY agree. But you are forgetting the MacLaren factor. He was played a lot in the 3rd. Call them pu$$ies all you want, but that guy is no Gazdic or Eager or whatever half heavy we have. That guy is a super heavy and he ends careers. If BigMac was in the lineup things may have been different….

          Gazdic was trying to engage Orr (not interested), but you could see him looking around making sure MacLaren wasn’t lurking too close.

          I’d argue that 1 guy kept the entire Oilers team in check. Disagree or call them pansies all you want but unless you’ve lined up beside a guy who literally could crush your skull (in the literal sense of the word) and in 1 punch end your career or worse you can’t judge.

          As long as Toronto chooses to dress guys like that, our only defence is an equally scary nuclear deterrent. A 4-0 lead in the 3rd is the casestudy for having a super heavy dressed. Most nights its a waste of a roster spot.

          That said, the Oilers are a bunch of pu$$ies, overpaid, soft noodle euro star dangling no heart, no backcheck softies. That I do agree.

          • NJ

            “I hear you… And I MOSTLY agree. But you are forgetting the MacLaren factor. He was played a lot in the 3rd. Call them pu$$ies all you want, but that guy is no Gazdic or Eager or whatever half heavy we have. That guy is a super heavy and he ends careers. If BigMac was in the lineup things may have been different….”

            This is the problem.

            Call it whatever factor you want, but if it’d get the oilers going, I’D step in front of a MacClaren punch. Seriously. Gazdic, go out there, swing with that guy, pull him down to the ice, wrestle, I don’t care…. get something going. Hell, I don’t care if Yakupov does it, but SOMEONE go out there and show some passion. Put MacClaren in the box for 5 with Yak, and then go beat on someone else or run a goalie over or target a head. Who cares, go play with your heart on your sleeve. I play on a beer league team that shows more passion than this group. And we PAY to play. Maybe that’s the difference.

            Last. Get off MacT. That guy turned over what, EIGHT guys this summer? He brought in both Perron and Gordon. We’d all agree those are upgrades on MP and Horc. (If you don’t agree, MP is on IR and Horc is blowing chunks in Dallas). Perron has been an Oiler who has showed grit and heart, while putting some shots on net and I bet we’ll see his production go up here shortly. I have SOME faith that he’s working to bring some grit in, but not at a ridiculous cost.

            /rant

  • outdoorzguy

    So no one here has ever gone for a drink after a lousy day at work when you had the next day off? Does the “go home and hate yourself” rule apply to other fields of work as well? How long do they need to stay in a dark, sad, room listening to Enya before they’re allowed to be seen in public?

    • Rob...

      No kidding. Some people here are one lost marble away from stalking players to ensure they were too wiped out from the game to have a couple beer, spend time with their kids, or get busy with their significant other.

      From what I heard on the radio they had yesterday off in order to comply with the CBA rule minimum of 4 days off a month. If a fan thinks they have the right to tell ANY PLAYER, getting one of their 4 days off a month, what they should be doing with that time, they are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

      “Clubs shall endeavor to schedule no less than four (4) “days off” for Players per month (two at home and two on the road) during each full calendar month of the NHL Regular Season Schedule. Players shall be notified prior to the start of each month the days that have been designated as “days off,”and the Club’s schedule/calendar should not be altered absent compelling circumstances.”

  • YFC Prez

    Wow is there ever a lot of talk about the oilers players going out for drinks after a loss.

    Agree this is acceptable behavior or not is regardless. The real issue is the amount of attention these kids get about going out together after a game. This is a huge part of the reason several quality free agents would never choose Edmonton or any other Canadian city. This type of thing doesn’t come from the fans in San Jose or Anaheim.

    Let it go people, they are in their early 20’s. I can guarantee that I was out way more often at that age than these oiler kids. Give them a break from the spotlight every now and then.

  • YFC Prez

    Other possibilities? Please.

    Nothing’s going on in that vacuous head of MacTavish.

    This website has become nothing more than a practice in S&M:

    The huckster columnists sadistically keep spooling out hope, while the abused and masochistic fan base keep coming back for more.

  • YFC Prez

    Maybe we should call Mact. the Flounder . Seems to be side stepping and flip flopping on his original taking over of club ? He wasn’t going to wait to make necessary changes , but now he does not want to make any in case they are bad . He is sticking with what we got – saying he sees an improvement most fans do not . Of couse they are getting better as season progresses , not to many clubs don’t . On the contrary , most do , and that it should be noted is all teams rounding into mid season form . With our form , however , we still are not getting positive results .
    Regier says nobody has even inquired about Miller . Kind of looks like we have another Tams in the making much to many surprises and chagrin . He thinks we will be very competitive if club healthy . Yeah , like that’s going to happen with our makeup . Could be worse I suppose , but I am not sure how .

    He wants to stick with what we got , do you agree ? I guess he is not the mover shaker type after all that we though or got the impression he might be .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If the Oiler players want to drink, fine. As Robin pointed out that is their personal life and we have no business in itt. That said it is managements job to weed out the players that are more worried about closing time than overtime.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I saw “Oil Change” on my TV guide today and just seeing those words raised my blood pressure a few beats…

    I had a thought. If you went to get an oil change at minute lube or whatever. And after 5 hours the guy was still trying to figure out how to open the hood. What would you do?

    100 out of 100 people would leave and not pay a cent. The problem is we’ve had to pay up front.

    But we can still FIRE THE OIL CHANGE FOOL (Kevin Lowe)

  • Rob...

    A team just traded for a pending UFA elite forward and – without the need for hindsight – got fleeced.

    I don’t think the market is there for us right now. Every GM would rub their hands together if we approached them.

    That said, we did get Perron for basically nothing.

  • pkam

    I think I remember there were issues with Stoll a few years ago similar in nature, apparently being seen out after games having too much fun. It was rumoured that’s one of the reasons he was run outta town. Yeah, we couldn’t use a guy like that now could we? Glad we got rid of that bum *sarcasm*

    Personally, I don’t have a problem at all with the players going out and letting off some steam, they are only human like the rest of us. However, the optics are not very good. With the way this team is playing and the expectations on the team I think the wise thing to do would be to stay out of the public eye. String 3 or 4 wins together and I don’t think anybody is going to care if you go out for beers after a game.

    Was what they did wrong? NO
    Was it the best decision? NO

    There are bigger issues with this team and they are on ice issues.

  • Randaman

    So, getting back to the subject at hand, if nobody picks up either of these two, what does that tell us all about the level of our management team if nobody else thinks these players are worth a shot. I thought so…
    On another note Quick always gets trashed for some of his Devils advocate remarks. Maybe it is time for some of you to wake up and smell the coffee and stop drinking the kool-aid??

  • Randaman

    Hey Jdub, just wondering if you think if MacT and Eakins are on the same page?

    The Grebs one really sticks out as this was one of “MacT’s Guys” as he only had a couple healthy games where he got a bit of a look, and I heard Steve Smith on the radio the other day saying that they liked Grebs’ game but he was returning from injury and hadn’t had much NHL time so they thought best to limit his minutes. So that meant sitting him in the third period of that game and keeping his minutes limited. And then he said he liked his next game. And then today boom he is gone.

    I didn’t like Grebs back in the day and still don’t, just wondering about the dynamics and optics of a maneuver like this.