Off-season Losses & Gains (Part 3 of 4)

Losses Part 2

In continuing our Losses & Gains four-parter, I wanted to spend today talking about the losses of Dustin Boyd and Denis Grebeshkov.  Sure, they were not Predators for long, but every little piece of the puzzle is important.   

 
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 28: Dustin Boyd #16 of the Calgary Flames skates with the puck past Adrian Aucoin #33 of the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on January 28, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Flames 3-2 in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Dustin Boyd

As a Predator fan, I welcome every new player with open arms, Josef Vasicek excluded (I’ll cover him in another blog post on a slow news day).  Dustin Boyd was acquired from Calgary, the team that drafted him 98th overall in 2004, for a fourth round draft pick at the trade deadline on March 3, 2010.  He spent most of his years as a Flame bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL levels, but never really seemed to cement his place as a mainstay in the big show until the 2009-2010 season.  He arrived in Nashville, and many Predators fans (myself included), weren’t too sure what kind of player we were getting.  As soon as I got word that we made a trade deadline move, I rushed to the Flames message boards and was glad to see that many Calgary fans felt like we got the much better end of the deal.  From what I read, the consensus was that Boyd was a young talent that has 2nd line potential.  They keyed in on the point that management didn’t feel Boyd had a spot on their roster at the time and wanted to give him a shot to earn more minutes with another team to become a better player and further develop his skills.  I’m sure the fact that he was a restricted free agent at the end of the year was another huge factor, as they probably didn’t want to make a qualifying offer to a player who they didn’t have room for and/or chance having to match an offer sheet from another team.  In other words, they wanted something guaranteed for the player that they spent resources and time developing. Boyd played in 18 games as a Predator, chalking up a mediocre 3 goals and 2 assists and averaging 12:11 of ice time per game.  I have to admit, I didn’t really see anything in those 18 games that made me fall in love with Boyd.  To me, he seemed like an average hockey player but had youth on his side.  However, in his defense, I’m sure it was incredibly tough to join a team so late in the season and fit in productively after spending the majority of his career with one franchise.  So, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Trying to break down the performance of a player that sees only 12 minutes of ATOI in 18 games is pretty difficult, but trying to assign a value to a player like that is an even more daunting task.  Should we have tried to re-sign him?  I don’t really have a strong opinion on that.  But, when I found out we traded Ellis’ negotiating rights and Boyd (an RFA) for a talented prospect, I was happy and more interested in our acquisition than concerned about our loss.  Be sure to tune in to Off-season Losses & Gains (Part 4), where Amanda will analyze the addition of potential point producer Sergei Kostitsyn. 

Verdict: I didn’t see enough of Boyd to miss him too terribly much.  I do, however, think the move to dump negotiating rights and a restricted free agentfor a potential offensive producer was a good move by Poile.  

EDMONTON, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 30: Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames tries to shoot the puck past Denis Grebeshkov #37 and goalie Devan Dubnyk of the Edmonton Oilers in the third period during a preseason NHL game on September 30, 2008 at Rexall Arena in Edmonton, Canada. Calgary beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. (Photo by Jimmy Jeong/Getty Images)

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Denis Grebeshkov

Denis Grebeshkov was acquired March 1, 2010 from the Edmonton Oilers for a 2nd round pick in the 2010 entry draft.  Edmonton was paying him $3.15 million for the season, so we were only on hook for the remaining money owed to him for the 2009-2010 season.  I’m assuming Grebeshkov was acquired to add a little more grit and experience to our blueline for our playoff run, but the move puzzled me a little.  Our blueline seemed to be ok, and our prospects, although limited in pro experience, were ready to be called up at any moment.   I guess the front office wanted an insurance policy.

It turned out that rather than Grebeshkov being an insurance policy, he needed one that insured him from “lower-body injuries.”  Grebeshkov went down to block a shot in his fourth game as a Predator and sustained an injury to one of his testicles, which required emergency surgery.  Ouch.  He was out for the rest of the season and finally reappeared in game 5 of the 2010 playoffs, one of the most devastating losses in Predators history. 

It was announced July 28, 2010 that Denis Grebeshkov signed a 2 year deal with SKA of the KHL, temporarily (or possibly permanently) ending his relatively short NHL career. 

I have to say, it definitely didn’t look like this was Grebeshkov’s first rodeo in the few games he played for the Predators.  I suppose it’s potentially easier for a defenseman to transition to a new team than a forward who has to gel with new linemates.  If he hadn’t sustained an injury so soon after arriving, would he have made a bigger impact on our defensive corps?  Would game 5 have ended differently if Grebeshkov had been playing and fitting into his new role without the gap because of injury?  How many licks does it take to get to the middle of a Tootsie Roll pop?  The world may never know.

Verdict: I’m sure he would have been an excellent addition to the Pred’s defense, but it would have come at a premium.  I’m sure he would have taken a pay cut and played for less than his 2009-2010 contract of $3.15 million, but it would have still been too much.  Our blueline looks ok going forward; Someone always seems to step up.  Another loss to the KHL…Is there any need to panic?

*I’m only one fan and, admittedly, my knowledge level on these two players isn’t too deep.  If you’ve got a comment or want to tell me I’m way off base, feel free to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear your opinions.

To be continued…

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Tags: Denis Grebeshkov Dustin Boyd Free Agency Sergei Kostitsyn

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