Poile pulls trigger at deadline, gets Grebeshkov and Boyd…

At last year’s trade deadline, Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile did not make a single move.

Captain Jason Arnott begged and pleaded for the Preds to bring in a scorer but Poile refused to pay too high a price. Russian winger Nik Antropov was apparently the target Poile had in his scopes but that deal fell through when the New York Rangers gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a second round draft pick and a conditional pick to bring him to the Big Apple as a rental player.

Poile’s decision to stand pat was heavily criticized by Predators fans, especially once Nashville missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Fast forward to March 3, 2010.

While Deadline Day itself wasn’t very overwhelming for Preds fans (after all, how “overwhelming” could it be when Dan Hamhuis stays put?), acquiring defenseman Denis Grebeshkov from the Edmonton Oilers and center Dustin Boyd from the Calgary Flames is a step in the right direction.

As Grebeshkov showed in his first game, he has an offensive upside from the blueline. In the first period alone, Grebeshkov scored a goal and assisted on another. If he keeps contributing on the score sheet, he should turn into quite a pick up for Nashville as they only had to give up a second rounder for him. Not only that, but adding the Russian Olympian to the defense corps without losing a roster player basically suggests the Predators now have the best defense in the Western Conference.

While fans were screaming for scoring help, Boyd’s stats suggest he’s purely a depth move for the offense. Boyd has 19 points in 60 games with Calgary this season, putting him in the Marcel Goc category but with less experience.

Boyd’s biggest role appears to be on the penalty kill, however. Ever since Scott Nichol and Vern Fiddler departed, the Preds just haven’t been the same on the PK. Nashville has a 76.2% success rate when down a man this season, good for 26th in the NHL. Last season with Fiddler and Nichol? 82.5%, good for 10th best.

When they heard Boyd’s name, fans immediately started hoping he’ll become this year’s Jan Hlavac and not this year’s Brandon Bochenski. Hlavac came in at the 2008 deadline and put up 13 points in 18 games with Nashville. Despite his success, Hlavac opted to play in Europe instead of resign with the Predators, or even in the NHL. Bochenski, at the opposite side of the spectrum, played in just 8 games, picking up just 3 points and was essentially a healthy scratch for the remainder of the season.

With the addition of Boyd, the Predators have 13 forwards. So which forward gets bumped? Is it playmaker Cal O’Reilly? Is it “the future” Colin Wilson? Does Jordin Tootoo become a perma-scratch? Room has to be made for Boyd if he’s going to avoid becoming this year’s Bochenski.

The answers will start to trickle in tomorrow night when the Preds face-off against the Los Angeles Kings.