EDMONTON OILERS: SIGNING ERIC GRYBA BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours


If we assume status quo, the Edmonton Oilers depth chart looks like Oscar Klefbom paired with Adam Larsson, Andrej Sekera paired with Mark Fayne, followed by Brandon Davidson paired with (?). Darnell Nurse or Griffin Reinhart/Jordan Oesterle will battle it out for the seven spot. It's a much-improved core over last season and is starting to resemble an NHL competitive blue.

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On the outside looking in appears to be Eric Gryba. Gryba is an NHL vet with a capacity to play a six/seven role. He brings some grit, steadiness, and poise to a young group and despite only playing 53 games last season, did everything asked of him by the Edmonton Oilers. Injuries hurt his chances to prove his value for another contract, and to date, Gryba is sitting and waiting for an NHL job next season.

A Proven Track Record

If the plan is to play Davidson on the left side in your bottom pair, Gryba has a proven track record to play with Davidson on the right. They played 283 minutes together and had a CF% of 53.7. Both players boosted each other's production and Gryba is a nice stay-at-home compliment to Davidson's ability to move and shoot the puck. As is stands now, one left-handed defenseman will have to play their off-side. Gryba allows the Oilers to keep players where they need to be.

Because Chiarelli knows what he'd have in Gryba, Chia has stated there's some interest on the part of the Oilers, but interest is only slight and likely limited to near the end of the summer when the rest of arbitration or free agency plays itself out. If I'm Chiarelli, and the outlook on landing another top-pair defenceman seems unlikely, I think hard about and consider bringing back Gryba for one more year. I say this because I don't believe Eric Gryba lasts to the end of the summer.

Gryba's Contract

Eric Gryba will become the type of defenseman an NHL club will quietly pick up, without much fanfare, and on the cheap. If he's a million dollar player by the end of the summer, that would be shocking. He'll be one of those value deals I frequently talk about and after he provides more than his contract value to a new team, he'll be an asset at the deadline a team can move to pick up a fifth, maybe fourth round draft choice. Assets you can move always have value.

Style of Play

Bruce McCurdy over at Cult of Hockey did a nice piece on Adam Larsson, taking a look at some advanced stats and in those assessments, Eric Gryba showed up on a couple of occasions as a pretty good defensive player with some nice goals-against stats. Sure, there are better offensive options available. Christian Ehrhoff, James Wisniewski, Kyle Quincey, could be an option and provide more offence. The reality is, Eric Gryba won't score for your club, but Gryba is steady. He brings size, a bit of tenacity and is a right-handed shot - to which we've heard Chiarelli describe all summer about the righty/lefty positions and how important that balance is. Gryba won't hurt your club, he's big and nasty and he gives some flexibility to your cap situation.

It would be a shame if the Oilers didn't at least add one more right-handed defenseman. If they're waiting on just the right fit and in the process let a player like Gryba slip through their fingers, that would be a crime.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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  1. Enjoying your blogs man, and am surely impressed with how frequent you are pushing them out. And now onto some hockey talk. I was impressed with Eric last season, I enjoyed watching him bring the puck out from behind the net and actually make a decent first pass. It was a breath of fresh air for me, and I do believe that it will only benefit the club if he was brought back as a 6/7 defenseman.

    Keep up the great work

    1. Thanks Graham. I'm a fan of Gryba's because of how steady he is. One thing signing Gryba means though is that the Oilers have given up on signing a powerplay righty. They'll have to look internally.


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