The more things change, the more they stay the same. First game back from the Olympic break and the Oilers suffer another loss. But unfortunately it came at the hands of a player they just traded away 24 hours earlier. Defenceman Denis Grebeshkov scored a goal and added an assist in his first game as a Nashville Predators to help defeat his former team. The Oilers came out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by newly engaged Mike Comrie, but then Grebeshkov went to work, willing his team up 2-1. The Preds went on to win 4-3. There’s no rest for the Oil, as they take on the powerful Blackhawks tonight in Chicago.
It’s just a little over an hour away from the 3pm Eastern trade deadline, and the Grebeshkov deal remains the most significant action out of Edmonton. They picked up Ryan Jones, also from the Predators, off of waivers and traded minor leaguer Cody Wild to the Boston Bruins for Matt Marquardt. He’s played the entire season with the Providence Bruins of the AHL collecting 22 points, while Jones has picked up seven goals and four assists in 41 games for Nashville this season.
The needs for the Oilers at this trade deadline are fairly simple. They have to get rid of dead weight contracts, they need size up front, and essentially they need to re-tool this roster as much as possible. The problem with the Oil is that most of the players they’d like to get rid of are weighed down with heavy contracts. So even though a complete dismantling of this team is necessary, its much easier said than done. Edmonton has a lot of the same type of forwards, small, not willing to go to the dirty areas, and not willing to pay the price to win games. If that was the philosophy that Edmonton had at the start of the season, it desperately needs to be changed. Although a high draft pick is most certainly on the way, the idea that a Taylor Hall can come in and make a huge difference right away is unlikely. This team is a mess at the moment, and hopefully there won’t be unrealistic pressure placed on the young prospects to lead this team to the playoffs. It’s a similar situation to John Tavares and the Islanders last year. He will be a great cornerstone, and star in the NHL, but he won’t turn the team around over night. New York is slowly getting some good pieces around him, and that’s the blueprint that needs to be followed by the Oilers. But looking at the state of this team, it’s no wonder Dany Heatley did everything in his power to stay away. More trade talk to come, hopefully.