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Predators acquire Grebeshkov from Oilers

by John McGourty
The Edmonton Oilers have traded veteran defenseman Denis Grebeshkov to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a second-round pick in this June's NHL Entry Draft. Grebeshkov, 26, will be a restricted free agent in July.

Ironically, he'll play his first game for the Predators on Tuesday night when they host the Oilers.

Grebeshkov, a left-shooting defenseman, had six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in 47 games this season and was minus-16 with 26 penalty minutes.

Grebeshkov ranked second on the Oilers by averaging 21:49 minutes per game of ice time. He averaged 2:30 minutes of power-play time and 2:02 of penalty killing. He had 41 hits and blocked 51 shots.

He had his best NHL season last year when he had seven goals and 39 points in 72 games and was plus-12.

Grebeshkov missed 13 games after tearing the medial-collateral ligament in his left knee on Nov. 11 against the Buffalo Sabres. He returned Dec. 11 for six games in which he had no points and went minus-4. He was benched for one game and since has scored three goals and added six assists while going minus-9 in 22 games.

Grebeshkov was selected in the first round with the 18th pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He played the next season for his hometown Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team, moving up from the third level to the top Russian league. He spent the next three seasons between the Kings and their AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, playing only 12 games for the Kings.

Grebeshkov was traded March 8, 2006, with Jeff Tambellini and a 2006 third-round pick to the New York Islanders for Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel. He returned to Russia for the 2006-07 season when he couldn't come to terms with the Islanders. While he was in Yaroslavl again, the Islanders traded his rights to the Oilers for defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and a 2008 third-round draft pick.

Grebeshkov, 6-foot and 209 pounds, has 16 goals and 66 assists for 82 points and is minus-18 in 223 NHL games over five NHL seasons. He has 106 career penalty minutes. He has never played in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Grebeshkov was a member of Team Russia at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He had one assist and two penalty minutes in four games. Grebeshkov played for Russia in the World Junior Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was a member of Team Russia at the World Championships in 2007, 2008 and 2009, winning gold in 2008 and 2009. He also played in three other international tournaments for Russia.

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