Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers re-sign Eric Gryba to two year contract

The Oilers have re-signed depth defenceman, Eric Gryba to a two-year contract worth $900,000 per season. 

Peter Chiarelli continues to keep last year’s defensive group intact as he re-signed Gryba to a new two-year contract. Last summer, Gryba had to wait around a while before inking a new contract with the Oilers, but he will have no such delay this time around as he heads into July 1st with a fresh contract in his pocket. At 29-years-old, this two-year deal offers a little bit of security for a player that had to wait until late in the summer to sign only a year ago.

Last season, Gryba was used sparingly as he got into only 40 games with the Oilers, but this new contract shows that he could be a bigger part of the plans for the coming year. Having Andrej Sekera out until January meant that Peter Chiarelli had to fill out his top 6 with players that are capable of playing NHL minutes, and Gryba certainly fills the role of a guy that can jump into the lineup when needed.

Will he play a bigger role with Sekera out? Is Chiarelli done rebuilding his Top 4 before the season starts?

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I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that Eric Gryba will never be confused with a guy like Erik Karlsson. On the offensive side of the puck, Gryba is more likely to score a goal off his face than he is with a coast-to-coast rush. We all know that Gryba’s bread gets buttered in his own zone and with his defensive play and toughness along the boards. He’s never going to be a guy that you want batting high in the order, but he is a player that can jump in and play effective minutes in a limited capacity.

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Last year, Todd McLellan used Gryba almost exclusively in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill, a role he accepts and plays with relative predictability. While there are certainly areas in his game that leave you wanting, Eric Gryba is a decent bet as a #7 defenceman and he offers the Oilers another layer of depth that they sorely need. At less than a million bucks per season, Gryba’s deal won’t break the bank and symbolizes another step towards returning with the same defensive group as they had a year ago.

Do size and decent defensive play merit another contract considering the current roster? You tell me.

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Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2012-13 Ottawa Senators NHL 33 2 4 6 26 -3 4 17
2013-14 Ottawa Senators NHL 57 2 9 11 64 9
2014-15 Ottawa Senators NHL 75 12 12 97 11 6 14
2015-16 Edmonton Oilers NHL 53 1 5 6 75
2016-17 Edmonton Oilers NHL 40 2 4 6 65 -5 3 4
NHL Totals 258 7 34 41 327 13 35


  • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Our defense core wasn’t the best last season but it was still top 15. We could use another top-4 defensemen but Larsson, 6-packbom, Darrell, and Benning are just going to get better next season. This signing doesn’t hurt one bit, I’d rather bring back a familiar face who knows the system then a new guy for the sake of making a splash.

  • I heard rumours he was going to test the market or at least ask for more dough, but at $900k x 2 years, that’s another good signing. It’s now become obvious that McLellan and Chiarelli both see a really good group of guys. Kassian said it in his interview after he got resigned that all the guys like each other. We haven’t heard that said by any Oiler coming out of that locker room in a very long time.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    Good signing.
    – Cheap.
    – He’s a solid #7 and is a fine bottom-pairing dman when injuries inevitably hit.
    – By all accounts, he’s great in the locker room.
    – He’s one of the better hitters on the team.
    – Doesn’t seem to mind sitting in the pressbox.
    – Nice beard.

    Fringe vets like Gryba are underrated. It can’t be easy sitting in the pressbox for weeks without playing and then being expected to jump in right away when injuries hit and not make any mistakes.

  • bazmagoo

    Great signing, welcome back Gryba!

    We still need one more dman to cover for the Sekera injury, but whether that should come via free agency or from within the organization can be debated.

  • notarealdoctor

    I’m not unhappy with:
    Klefbom – Larsson
    Russell – Benning
    Nurse – Gryba
    as our opening night pairings. I thought Nurse and Gryba had good chemistry together, and each pair has one guy who can wheel. This also puts Russell back on his proper side, which should help his zone exits.

    • bazmagoo

      I agree with your notes on the bottom two pairings. I’d be comfortable going into the season with that lineup, but wouldn’t be surprised to see one addition via free agency or trade.

  • Tombstone

    I don’t think Chiarelli will add a Top 4 RD. When Sekera comes back from injury Russell will move to RD bumping Benning back down to 3rd pairing with Nurse. If Chiarelli decides to add a Top 4 RD then salary will have to be move out to accommodate the salary Cap. Last season Benning and Gryba shared the #6 position. However, the D as it stands is one injury away from a possible bust.

    • I believe that the Oilers will add a top 4D but not necessarily until the 2017-2018 trade deadline. Having a defenseman that can add another dimension to the PP will put them over the top. They may need to give something up, but it would make the team so much better.

      • Kepler62c

        It doesn’t make a ton of sense to do that at the trade deadline – Sekera will have returned by then and they’ll have a full top 4. I’d like to see them add a second pairing option to fill in for Sekera until the deadline. Then the new hire, Nurse, Benning, Gryba, can duke it out for playing time on the 3rd pair (plus injuries happen).

        Cody Franson had an underwhelming stint in Buffalo, but is a decent defender and for half the year he’d be a good replacement that you might be able to get on a 1 year deal. Michael Stone would be another option that they might be able to ink for 1 year. Whoever they add doesn’t need to be a stud by any means, just bolster the depth and be able to play ahead of Nurse/Benning until Sekera is back.

        • crabman

          I think as soon as Chiarelli signed Russel he was done filling the 2nd pairing. He will let Nurse and Benning compete for the 4th spot until Sekera comes back. And even then I would expect Sekera to play on the 3rd pair until up to speed. If he adds a true 2nd pairing guy he essentially signed Russel to play 3rd pair when Sekera returns. And if he signs a 3rd pairing guy who can play up in the 2nd pairing until Sekera returns he is blocking both Nurse and Benning who are already at that point in their development.
          Maybe he signs another depth guy for the 7th D, injury coverage on a cheap 1 year deal but I think that job will probably going to Simpson at this point.

  • Kepler62c

    Great signing, as a #7 or a #6 he provides exactly what you need. And on .9M you really can’t complain, if he has to go to the minors then he goes to the minors, and it won’t count against the cap.

    While it does mean that spot isn’t going to a developing player, I like that they won’t have a younger guy in the press box from time to time and when he gets in you know what you are getting each and every time because he’s just a consistently decent defender.

    • Kepler62c

      Ya that’s a nice safety net for management if things aren’t working out. I’d imagine the talks went something like this:

      Chia: Hey Eric, we’d like you back. What would work for you?
      Eric: I want 2 years, 1M AAV.
      Chia: 0.9M? Everyone’s got to take a cut with Connor’s new contract.
      Eric: BS I know you just want to put me in the minors if you have to, where do I sign?

  • Spydyr

    I like what Gryba brings and the price is right. My concerns are two fold:

    1)Does this close the door on grabbing a power play offensive defencman?

    2) I understand that the defence will mature and improve on last season but Chia has remained status quo. IMO the defence is not of a Cup winning calibre. Perhaps they pick up the missing piece at the trade deadline.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    I like that at that price point the Oilers can send him to the minors without taking a cap hit but with the extra year someone might be reluctant to take him as they don’t see that much value in Gryba.

    Personally, I like the signing and appreciate the depth it gives the Oilers. Well deserved.

  • Petrolero

    I like having gryba back. chia is sticking to the blue group that had the team within 2 goals of the third round. he’s giving stability on the back end. I would expect a veteran stop gap to relieve sekera while he heals. my guess is one year contract. one of those guys who got bought out could be a good fit.

  • Big Nuggets

    Im okay with Chiarelli keeping the same defense as last year, only issue is, with Sekera already on the shelf long term any more injuries could decimate the defense. would probably be wise to add one more player for depth. Maybe Erhoff? not sure if he can still play at the NHL level but the pickings are bound to be slim when you want a one year in the pressbox situation. Plus he’s a German and I’m always a sucker for matching fellow countrymen.