It’s unclear exactly what role Dustin Boyd will play for the Nashville Predators.
That’s because coaches and management believe the 23-year-old forward, acquired from Calgary shortly before Wednesday’s trade deadline, can do a little bit of everything.
“He’s like a Swiss Army knife,” general manager David Poile said. “He can do a lot of different things. He can play all three forward positions. He can kill penalties. He can play up or down in the lineup.”
The Predators got him for a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft.
According to Poile, the veteran of 223 NHL games was not available until Wednesday, after the Flames were involved in several of the day’s record 31 trades involving 51 players that were made across league prior to the 2 p.m. (CST) deadline.
Nashville’s need for a player such as him, likewise, was heightened earlier in the day when forward Ryan Jones was claimed off waivers by Edmonton. Jones was placed on waivers with the idea that he would be reassigned to Milwaukee.
Jones, who signed a two-year contract for $975,000 per season last August, had 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 41 games this season. He spent the first part of 2009-10 in the minors.
Boyd’s contract calls for him to make $650,000 this season. He is scheduled to be a Group II (restricted) free agent following the season.
“We had hoped to give Jones the opportunity to get his game back together in Milwaukee,” Poile said. “It just shows that you have to have your pro scouting in order so that you’re ready when someone (like Boyd) becomes available and you can make a decision.”
Originally a third-round pick (98th overall) by the Flames in 2004, Boyd had 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 60 games for Calgary this season. He set career-highs for goals (11), assists (11), points (22) and games played in 2008-09.
Also Wednesday, the day after Denis Grebeshkov had a goal and an assist in his Predators’ debut, defensemen Cody Franson and Alexander Sulzer were reassigned to Milwaukee.
The moves left just six defensemen on the Predators’ active roster.
“We want them both to play a lot,” Poile said.
Grebeshkov played 17:45 in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over Edmonton, which was more than Franson or Sulzer averaged. He had the only assist on Colin Wilson’s goal that tied it 1-1 at 12:14 of the first period and then made it 2-1 when he scored 2:41 later.
“It was a Steve Sullivan-like debut,” Poile said.