Eric Gryba draws the short straw in numbers game on the Oilers blueline

Prior to their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, the Oilers activated Oscar Klefbom from the Injured Reserve. It represented the first time all season that Edmonton had a fully healthy blueline.

But it also meant that somebody had to go. After the Oilers grabbed Brandon Davidson off of waivers from the Montreal Canadiens,  they were set to have nine defenders when fully healthy. As a result, Eric Gryba was placed on waivers. He cleared and has been assigned to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL.

I wrote about this a month ago and the Oilers made the right decision. 

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Before the season, Gryba was pencilled in as the team’s sixth defender and appeared likely to have a spot on the team even when Andrej Sekera returned from his lengthy absence. But bringing Davidson into the picture immediately shoved the rugged defender down the depth chart, and he was ultimately passed by Yohann Auvitu, who brings a more dynamic offensive skillset.

Gryba was a good soldier for the Oilers during his two-and-a-half seasons with the club, but he struggled in 2017-18 as the league clearly became too fast for him. Gryba noticeably struggled in a defensive role, frequently getting hemmed in his own zone and taking bad penalties. Still, as an AHL call-up, Gryba is a serviceable player and he’ll be available if the Oilers need an injury replacement.

The Oilers will now technically operate with 13 forwards an eight defencemen, but Auvitu has the ability to play forward in a pinch.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i was OK with the guy playing only occasionally but now seems to be the odd man out. but with Davidson and Auvitu both being UFA’s, could find himself back next year as the #7, as he has one year remaining after this season.

      • OriginalPouzar

        Davidson is an RFA – he’ll be back.

        Gryba is signed for next year and will compete at camp for the #7 spot – he is a very serviceable #7 and effective playing 25-35 games. With the Sekera injury, he was simply asked to play too many game and too many games in a row – his lack of foot speed and ability to transition the puck get exposed when he plays too much.

      • Leichs

        Was just thinking this. Benning seems to be regressing as the year goes on. Foot speed is also an issue with this guy and its leading to far too many scoring chances and penalties.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Wishing Eric all the best and hope he gets to play hockey for a living for a long time. You never know injuries could bring him back and he would always be welcome.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Gryba is the very very least of the Oilers problems. What I saw for big bucks last night disgusted me to the point I have to bite my tongue. Seriously , if I gave that effort at work ….im gone.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Speaking of , whom that reads here thinks the effort given by the millionaires we watched last night , who tip for what most of us paid to watch that debacle was worth your hard earned cash ? I would have rather flushed the coin , bought a 6 pack and pizza , given the kids a free pass to what ever .

    all I now as a die hard Tier 3 , but Tier 1 FAN last night , cannot stomach that crap again. You guys disgusted me last night and I would never ever thought I would say that. You should be ashamed of yourselves.. Pros ? I doubt it.

  • RJ

    I like Gryba’s passion and physicality. But he’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with Chiarelli’s OIlers.

    2011 is over. Gryba is big and mean and too slow to keep up with the game, so of course PC gives him a multi-year deal.