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Battling for a spot

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley / EdmontonOilers.com

It's the second day of Oilers training camp and already the players are breaking in the Rogers Place ice and Downtown Community Arena rink.

Of the 61 players that are out on the ice, vying for a spot, 21 defencemen are looking to fill seven roster spots for the upcoming season. 

Defenceman Eric Gryba is one of those players. 

"I have to come in and earn a spot, it's no different than any other year, I just don't have the insurance of a contract already in place," he said. 

Last year, the 6-foot-4, 228-pound defenceman played 53 regular season games with the Oilers, registering six points (1G, 5A). His season ended when he suffered a knee injury on February 16, preventing him from returning for the remainder of the season. 

The Oilers signed Gryba to a professional tryout contract just two days ago. Though changes have been made to different aspects of the team - and it's surroundings - the hulking blueliner said he still has a sense of familiarity out on the ice. 

"The coaching staff, the players, the buildings new, but most of the guys are the same and it's good to see some familiar faces and know the system and know what the coaching staff and management expects out of me," he said. 

Gryba has appeared in 218 NHL games over his five-year NHL career, registering 35 points (5G, 30A), as well as 10 NHL playoff games to his credit, all with the Ottawa Senators. 

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