From The Ice

Oilers contemplate Eric Gryba’s future in the NHL

21 JAN 2016: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba (62) passes the puck up the ice during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Dallas beats Edmonton 3-2. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

The Edmonton Oilers picked up 28-year-old defenseman Eric Gryba at the start of the 2015-16 season, dealt from the Ottawa Senators at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft as part of a deal for forward prospect Travis Ewanyk and a fourth round pick.

Now, just one year later, they don’t seem inclined to keep him in their system moving forward – but the team won’t just leave him hanging completely.

According to Jason Gregor of TSN and the Edmonton Journal, Gryba has been given permission by the Oilers to look for an NHL job elsewhere in the league if he so desires, as he’s reached the point in the preseason where he’s about to be unable to skate with a club without a contract.

If he’s unable to find a deal with another team, though, the Oilers have given the blue liner permission to continue skating with the Pacific Division team; he’s just do so as an unsigned skater unable to skate out during games.

Drafted 68th overall by the Ottawa Senators at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Gryba – a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – spent his entire pro career with the Atlantic Division club before getting dealt back to Western Canada. A former skater for Boston University, he’s been in the pros since 2010, putting up five goals and 35 points through 218 career NHL games.

He’s not a particularly high-scoring blue liner, and would at best be a sixth or seventh defenseman for a team willing to pick him up – so it may not be possible for him to find a deal elsewhere. He’s being given the chance to at least try, though.

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