SUNRISE, FL - Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan says you’ll hear him talk about ingredients when it comes to building a successful team. Your team needs a certain makeup with a healthy combination of players to win games.
“You have to have different types of players to have success in our league,” said McLellan.
The Oilers purchased one of those types of players today at the 2015 NHL Draft, sending a fourth-round pick and forward Travis Ewanyk to the Ottawa Senators for defenceman Eric Gryba. McLellan says Gryba is the kind of player you want on your team.
“He’s got a bite to his game, he’s got a nastiness to his game, he enjoys the physical part of it and he plays it fairly well,” said McLellan. “You have puck movers and those guys jumping up in the play, and Eric’s very capable of that, but his bread and butter is his tenacity and passion he brings night in, night out. To add that ingredient to our blueline is something we were looking for.”
Gryba, 27, is 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, bringing size to the Oilers blueline. He is also a right-shot defenceman, something the Oilers wished to add.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for Gryba,” said Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli. “I think he’s a good, strong D. He plays a heavy game, he hits, he’ll back up his teammates and I’ve seen a lot of him over the years in Boston.”
An interesting note is that the pick used to take Gryba, 68th overall in 2006, was the compensation pick Ottawa got from Boston for hiring Chiarelli as their GM.
Gryba says he was making a pot of coffee when he found out the Oilers had traded for him. The night before the draft, Gryba called his agent to see if any trades were in play but was taken by surprise on Saturday.
“It was definitely a surprise, but a welcomed one,” said Gryba.
The blueliner has played 165 NHL games for the Ottawa Senators. He had four goals and 25 assists in his career, as well as 97 penalty minutes. He’ll continue his career in Edmonton, where he figures to immediately step in on the blueline as their third-pairing right D.
“I’m excited to get an opportunity and excited to go play in a different market and a different Canadian market. The history of the Oilers goes back a long time,” said Gryba.
The Saskatoon, SK native is ready to do what the Oilers ask of him, which is basically what McLellan said above. He’ll be that next ingredient added to what the Oilers new brass is cooking. Gryba joins defenceman Griffin Reinhart and goaltender Cam Talbot as new additions to the team via trade on Saturday.
“I take pride in being a physical defenceman,” said Gryba. “I make a good first pass. I kill penalties and block shots. Not much flash to my game. I try to keep it simple but effective.”