Preds acquire Grebeshkov from Oilers in set-up deal…

The Nashville Predators have made it official: they have traded a 2nd round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Denis Grebeshkov in what is apparently a set-up move.

Dan Hamhuis has been on the trade block for some time now due to his impending restricted free agent status come July 1 and it’s no secret that, in order to move Hammer, the Preds must get a defenseman in return. Bringing in Grebeshkov paves the way for Hamhuis to be traded without being forced to bring up a rookie blueliner with little to no NHL experience.

Grebeshkov has 19 points in 47 games this season, good for 11th on the Predators. Hamhuis, by contrast, has only 16 in 10 more contests. And he’s done that on an Edmonton club that is literally the worst team in the league. Putting all that together suggests it’s a slight offensive upgrade for Nashville’s blueline.

The 26 year old Russian is similar to Hamhuis on paper. They’re both former 1st round draft picks (2002 and 2001, respectively), they’re both around the same age (26 and 27), they both put up similar numbers (roughly 30 pts/yr) and they’re both subject to free agency on July 1. The catch here is that Grebeshkov is a restricted free agent wheras Hamhuis is an unrestricted one. That’s a big win for the Preds.

General Manager David Poile has been busy the last few days. First he signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a two year extension, he’s now put his team in position to trade Hamhuis and, if all that wasn’t enough, the player he got to fill the void of the soon-to-be-departed blueliner, is a restricted free agent so he’s not a rental player unless they want him to be.

Grebeshkov makes $3.15 million against the cap this season, only a portion of which the Preds will be on the hook for.

Interesting note: If Nashville and Edmonton had pulled the trigger on this deal before the Olympics, it would have given the Predators seven Olympians (eight if you count Alexander Radulov, whom the Preds still own the NHL rights to).

Props to Twitter user @SLakePreds for the initial scoop.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Jimmy Jeong of the Canadian Press