The Edmonton Oilers have offered free agent defenseman Eric Gryba a professional tryout (PTO) contract, according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.
Gryba, 28, joined the Oilers in 2015-16 after three seasons with the Ottawa Senators. In 53 games, he registered a goal and five assists before a knee injury ended his season early. Gryba stands 6’4″, 228-pounds and is a big body who led all Oilers defensemen with 2.5 hits per game, penalty minutes (75) and fights.
Gryba is looking for a new contract but is in a unique position at this point in the offseason. The Oilers are reportedly waiting to see how the team’s younger defenseman David Musil, Darnell Nurse, Jordan Oesterle and Griffin Reinhart perform at training camp before deciding to re-sign Gryba.
Rick Curran, Gryba’s agent, says Edmonton is the only team Gryba would consider on a tryout, as he is familiar with the players and coaching staff. While Gryba’s knee injury impacts his bargaining power for a long-term deal, he does bring some chips to the table. His physical play and right-hand shot are two commodities the Oilers are short on at defense and he brings over 200 games of NHL experience to what will be a young Oilers blueline.
When the Oilers open training camp later in September, many fans will be focused on players like Connor McDavid and 2016 fourth overall pick Jesse Puljujärvi, but the importance of evaluating a defenseman like Grbya should not be overlooked.