2001-02: Earned a spot on Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s main roster and played on their third and fourth defensive pairings. This was an especially important accomplishment considering the fact that Yaroslavl won the Russian National Championship and was considered to have one of Russia’s strongest defenses. Even though ‘Grebs’ received limited ice time totaling no more 10 minutes a game, he still gained a lot of experience playing and practicing with veterans, former NHLers.
The Los Angeles Kings selected Denis Grebeshkov with the 18th overall pick making him the first Russian defender selected.
2002-03: continued his development with Yaroslav, splitting time between the 1st and 2nd defensive pairings. Helped Team Russia to a gold medal in the U20 WJC in 2002.
2003-04: played for Manchester of the AHL after impressing at training camp. Suffered a wrist injury (Dec. 1) that required surgery and missed 6 weeks. Came back from the injury to earn himself a brief call-up with the Kings. Was solid on defense and showed great maturity in his time in Manchester.
2004-05: defensive development did not progress as many tought it should as he battled with inconsistency. Continued to put up offensive numbers, especially assists on the powerplay, with Manchester. Led all AHL defensemen in assists (44).
2005-06: Traded to the NY Islanders in 2006 with Jeff Tambellini for Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel.
2006-07: Returned to RSL after failing to get a 1-way contract from NYI and was then dealt to the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline for Marc-Andre Bergeron.
Talent AnalysisGrebeshkov is a solid defenseman with a promising offensive upside. He possesses impressive speed and great coordination. One of his most impressive qualities is his work ethic. He fears no one – moves well through traffic and does not hesitate to mix it up with anybody – no matter the size or experience. He also has no fear of a flying puck and is one of the leading shot blockers on Lokomotiv’s roster. Reminds some of another bright defenseman to come out of Yaroslavl – Vitali Vishnevsky. Grebeshkov plays well in the boards. He is not as successful in the open ice - making rookie positional mistakes that should go away as he gains more experience.
Grebeshkov absorbs knowledge like a sponge. He learns fast and always works hard on the ice. He possesses a strong and well aimed shot. He is also a solid power play quarterback. His lack of experience is the main thing that is stopping him from taking a more prominent role on offense. Grebeshkov has the tools, but is prone to making mistakes and hence hesitates to take serious chances in the offensive zone. This is less evident if his play is assessed by only watching the International Tournaments, because he is light years ahead of many other players his own age. He possesses a great hockey sense. Dmitri Nabokoff put it very well when he said that he “knows where, when and how to act [on the ice], but is not always able to accomplish exactly what is needed”. Beyond the ice he is shy and timid. There were incidents when the security at the Lokomotiv arena did not allow him through, not believing that he is one of team’s leading defensemen.