The Edmonton Oilers recalled defenseman Mark Fayne from the Bakersfield Condors, and placed defenseman Eric Gryba on the IR. The team announced the transactions Wednesday.
Gryba has been a healthy scratch of late, due to the return of Kris Russell and the flourishing of Matthew Benning’s play. Statistically, he has struggled so far this season when it’s come to backchecking, putting up a -3.7 Relative Fenwick and a minus-2.
Often times, he has had trouble keeping up with the puck and covering his man. Though he brings plenty of physicality and isn’t afraid to throw hits, he needs to work on getting the puck out of the zone and outworking his opponents.
The Oilers recently placed Fayne on waivers, considering his struggles with injury. He claimed to have had a strong offseason, but didn’t get a chance to prove his improvement, considering he was sidelined. Now, it looks like he’ll be able to skate with Edmonton, but likely won’t draw into the lineup.
Gryba and Fayne are likely stuck in a career revolving around their role as extra defenders. Banning is turning into a puck-moving blueliner who has earned his minutes, and he is incredibly consistent and always working to improve. Not to mention, he can start the play out of the offensive zone, and by the same token, isn’t afraid to shoot the puck.
Eventually, the Oilers will look to have scoring down their defensive lines, and Benning could become a top-four defenseman in short time. For now, he and Darnell Nurse make a great combination on the bottom pairing, and Edmonton shouldn’t try to put Fayne in. As they say, don’t fix what’s not broken.