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Denis Grebeshkov back with Oilers, reunited with MacTavish

Greg Wyshynski
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At first glance, Denis Grebeshkov’s time in the Kontinental Hockey League was a puzzler.

Here was an offensive defenseman in the NHL who went to the KHL in 2010; from 2011-13, he didn’t score a goal for either SKA or Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. In a League where Kevin Dallman is Bobby Orr.

Nevertheless, Grebeshkov is back in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, who threw him a 1-year contract life preserver to join their defense. (As was sorta leaked by Bob Stauffer earlier this year.)

Two reasons to like this move for Edmonton, beyond the term:

1. His best offensive season in the NHL, albeit in a contract year, came with Craig MacTavish as his coach. He had 39 points in 72 games and skated over 21 minutes a night. This could be a mutually beneficial reunion between the player and the Oilers’ new GM.

2. As Dmitry Chesnokov points out: He could be great for Anton Belov, the 26-year-old defenseman the Oilers signed from the KHL in June, and for Nail Yakupov, who could use a sage Russian veteran in that room.

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