According to the Oilers official Twitter account, the team has placed veteran defenceman Eric Gryba on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. Why? That’s a good question.
#Oilers buyout final year or Eric Gryba's contract, which was $900,000. Will count $300,000 against cap for two years. Interesting, because if they just kept in AHL for this year he'd be off books. Marginal $$ against cap, so they must feel he has no chance to help NHL team.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) June 21, 2018
After signing a two-year contract with the Oilers just last summer, Eric Gryba’s time with the team is over as they have placed him on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying him out. Over the course of three seasons, Gryba played in 114 regular season games played with the Oilers, scoring three goals and added 11 assists to go along with 171 penalty minutes. During the 2016-17 playoff run, Gryba played in only three of the team’s 13 playoff games and went scoreless in that time. So it’s not like they’re buying out an every day regular, but they are buying out a guy that was supposed to provide depth and toughness whenever he was inserted into the lineup.
When Gryba was brought in three years ago, he was expected to add reliable depth to a defensive unit that desperately needed steady defenders. He wasn’t a flashy guy and he wasn’t going to play every day, but he was still a player that could play reliable minutes when called upon while also stepping up for his teammates if needed. In 2016-17 Gryba played in 40 games for the Oilers, but that total was halved this year after he was assigned to Bakersfield midway through the season without ever returning to the big club. Considering that he signed a two-year contract just last summer, you do have to wonder why they’re choosing to get rid of him now, and why they felt that buying him out was the best option to do so.
Personally, this is another one of those moves that the Oilers make that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Rather than buying Gryba out, they could have buried him and his $900K in Bakersfield without having any cap implications, but, instead, they chose to buy him out and have a $300K buyout penalty on the books for the next two years. I guess, I just don’t understand why they would want to save $300,000 that badly rather than just sending him to Bakersfield for one more season instead. Are they mad at him? Did he ask to be released from the organization? Do they really think Eric Gryba is going to steal that much ice time from young defenders? Is it just me?
It’s not that losing Eric Gryba is an overly huge deal, though he was a serviceable seventh defenceman that added some toughness into the lineup when he did play, but rather that this is just a strange cap play for a team that isn’t exactly hurting for cash (cap space yes, but dollars no). Do they really need to save that extra $300k? Then the other obvious question that comes to mind is: why sign him for two years in the first place? The only thing that really makes sense to me is that the Oilers are doing Gryba a favour by buying him out so that he can explore other options, because the savings here are negligible and they still have plenty of room on their 50-man list. Then again, what the hell do I know?
What do you guys think?
GRYBA’S TIME WITH THE OILERS
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter Account, 6/21/2018 – 9:05 am MST