Oilers bring back Grebeshkov from KHL

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The Edmonton Oilers made a curious move on Thursday, signing defenseman Denis Grebeshkov to a one-year deal.

Grebeshkov, 29, played for the Oilers from 2007-10, followed by a brief stint in Nashville and a couple of years in the KHL with SKA Saint Petersburg and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, where he spent the 2012-13 campaign.

By all accounts, his time in Russia didn’t go well.

Grebeshkov, known as an offensive defenseman, didn’t score a goal in either of his last two seasons in the KHL, this despite appearing in 90 games.

So, why would Edmonton take a flier on someone that struggled playing overseas?

History, mostly.

Grebeshkov, the 18th overall pick at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, enjoyed his finest NHL seasons with the Oilers, including a 2008-09 campaign where he posted a career-best 39 points and finished with a team-high +12 rating.

His coach during that season? None other than the new Oilers GM, Craig MacTavish.