In a move that raised some eyebrows this morning, Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that former Nashville Predators (and Edmonton Oilers) defenseman Denis Grebeshkov signed a two-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.
While the 26-year-old blueliner’s 21 points in 09-10 might not “wow” people, he’s a very effective player when he’s healthy (he only played in 51 games as a member of the Predators and Oilers last season). He put up a career-high 39 points in 08-09 and has a solid reputation as a player who “plays bigger” than his average frame would suggest.
As a former first round pick (drafted No. 18 in 2002 by the LA Kings), it’s a bit surprising that the Russian defenseman couldn’t find work in the NHL. I can’t see why a team like the Dallas Stars (or even the one he skated with briefly in Nashville) wouldn’t want to take a shot at him.
Of course, I guess there’s always the possibility that Grebeshkov simply wanted to play closer to home in the KHL.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.