At a trade deadline that was cleaved by the Olympic roster freeze and dampened by big moves weeks ago, the Oilers still managed to get some work done in looking ahead to next season and beginning to forget about the current one.
As a fan, it’s always tough to lose a young asset for what seems to be little gain, but the trading of defenceman Denis Grebeshkov to Nashville for a second round draft pick this summer was the right thing to do by GM Steve Tambellini. True, Grebeshkov was on pace to have his best goal-scoring season in the NHL, but as an unrestricted free agent this summer already making more than $3 million per season, Tambellini had to get what he could for him.
Based on current standings, the second round pick amounts to approximately the 50th pick overall this summer. What kind of player can fans expect at that ranking?
In a best-case scenario, the prospects are good (no pun intended). Milan Lucic, Oscar Moller, Wayne Simmonds, Mason Raymond and recent world juniors star Derek Stepan were all selected in that range. The history of the Oilers in that slot is much less glorious, however.
Jeff Petry, a Michigan State defenceman taken 45th overall in 2006, is having a solid junior campaign with the Spartans, but most of the Oilers’ other picks in that 50th overall rangehaven’t panned out.
Acquiring the draft pick for Grebeshkov was great —making the pick work is Tambellini’s next task.