An amazing series of Olympic games has passed and the NHL returned to action this week, with the Preds having played host twice this week to a couple of teams with the trade-deadline day sandwiched in between the 2 games. The season has gone as I predicted it would back in September, and the Oilers found themselves facing the need to make changes as they prepare to reload, if not rebuild, so Monday they exchanged D Denis Grebeshkov with Nashville for a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. On Tuesday, the Predators placed Ryan Jones on waivers in preparation to send him to Milwaukee, but he was instead picked up by Edmonton and was immediately put to work, facing off against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Personally, I don’t think Nashville as a team feels the loss of Jones. I never had a problem with Jones’ game, but his style of play never seemed to mesh with Trotz’s system. I expect he’ll do well in Edmonton which seems to rely a little more on speed and creativity, where Nashville is a little more defensively sound. Wednesday was a record-setting trade deadline day, but Nashville was one of the less active teams with only one trade made. The Preds sent their fourth-round pick to Calgary in exchange for utility forward Dustin Boyd, who has scored 19 points (8g,11a) this season. I believe both trades were calculated decisions toward improving an uncharacteristically poor penalty kill, and thus I was happy to see Preds GM David Poile improving his club where he could. There were a couple of things that I found intriguing about these trades. Grebeshkov does bring with him a $3.1 million price tag for this season, which of course is prorated over these last 6 weeks of the regular season. On its own, this is certainly a manageable pricetag for a top-4 defenseman, even on a small market budget. However, Grebeshkov is a restricted free agent this summer, meaning that if the club intends to extend him, they will likely have to give him a raise. The concern this raises is that it begins to suggest the money that will be needed to keep fellow defenseman Dan Hamhuis on the team. Both Hamhuis and David Poile have expressed a mutual desire to reach an extension to keep him and his family in Music City long term, but I expect that Hamhuis will feel he deserves on par or in excess of Grebeshkov if he remains in house. My curiousity with Boyd is that he is coming into a team that has begun to settle on its 3rd and 4th line players. Just prior to the Olympic break the team decided to recall Colin Wilson and Wilson came to play, convincing the staff to call him back up again as the team was preparing to begin the sprint to the postseason coming out of the Olympic break. I get the feeling that the team is prepared to stay with Wilson for long haul, and the other 3rd and 4th liners around him are established NHLers, save for Hornqvist. The point being none of these players are likely to be going back down to Milwaukee, unless there game falls apart. So where does Boyd fit into the roster? Who rides the pine to create the opening for him? I guess we’ll see tonight when Nashville visits Detroit to face off with the Red Wings, after which I aspire to have a new post for my thoughts on this weeks games.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments. – Big Kev