Nashville Predators: Predator’s Options After Bonino Injury

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The injury bug has once again bitten the Nashville Predators center corp. But this time, there is more than one option to fix the hole left down the middle.

Another game, another injury for the Nashville Predators. This time, at least, the defense isn’t too beaten up. Unfortunately, it means that center Nick Bonino is walking around in an ankle brace after a summer of rehabbing a broken leg. The worst part is that Bonino was brought in to make sure that this exact situation didn’t happen. But here we are.

The Nashville Predators are in a precarious situation, in fact. They have centers dominating at the AHL level who deserve time in the NHL, a few options to trade for, or another player who currently sits as a healthy scratch. Time will tell what option the Predators select for the long term.

Bring Up Gaudreau or Kamenev

Frederick Gaudreau and Vladislav Kamenev have been dominating at the AHL level. Gaudreau has four points in three games while Kamenev has three points in three games. Good totals from the both of them. Players like Tyler Moy and Emil Pettersson could also get the call-up, but they still need time in the AHL in my opinion.

Gaudreau showed potential in the playoffs that he could be a full-time bottom six NHL player. He’s a more versatile option than most as he can play right wing as well as center. Gaudreau had a decent playoffs possession-wise as he managed a less than average. 48.73 Corsi. Although his Fenwick was much better as he put up a 51.82 score. He may not have the offensive potential that Kamenev does, but he’s a more defensively responsible player.

Kamanev is a different story. The offensive dynamo is still developing his two-way game but I’m not sure he has much to left to learn. Gaudreau is probably a more complete player at this moment, but Kamenev has much better upside. Kamenev had an extremely average pre-season with two points in five games as well as a 50 Corsi and a 51.38 Fenwick. An interesting stat I saw was that no goals were scored against Kamenev when he was on the ice, while four were potted for the Predators. Meaning that his two-way game is staking strides, albeit slowly. I’m not sure if a bottom six role suits him, but a spot on the third line might be a good stepping stone.

Trade For Players

This option is obviously trickier. The Nashville Predators will have to dangle one of their defensive players (prospect or NHLer) as trade bait. So who will the Predators go after?

Matt Duchene has been in trade rumors for what feels like the last decade, but the rumors persist. Duchene has put together an incredible start with six points in six games and a 61.30 Corsi. His asking price has most likely skyrocketed from what it was two weeks ago. Even though that asking price was already too high. Duchene will most likely command a first and a blue-chip prospect. Although I’m not sure which prospect the Predators would offer. It could be a toss-up between Samuel Girard, Alexandre Carrier, or even Dante Fabbro. But at this point does it make sense weakening an already beat up defense?

Alex Galchenyuk is also an interesting option for the Nashville Predators. He’s consistently one of the best possession players and scoring chance drivers on the Montreal Canadiens. Yet he consistently plays in the bottom six. Not only that, but he usually plays on the wing, though he’s a natural center. The Canadiens need good top six centers and puck-moving mobile defensemen. Since they’re looking to trade a center, they’ll probably ask for a defenseman. The player they’re most likely after on the Nashville Predators is Samuel Girard. He fits the description they want. He’s a Quebecois, he’s young, and he’s cheap. A pick would be involved, but it wouldn’t be a first, but most likely a combination of a second and fourth. I should also mention Galchenyuk is on a wonderful deal for four years at 4.9 million per. This deal is more likely than the Duchene one but even then it’s a longshot.

Ride It Out

The “safest option”. Put in Cody McLeod and hope for the best. A dumb move in my opinion. Call up the kids or trade the farm for a player, literally anything is better than McLeod in the line-up. I’m not optimistic about this situation though.

What The Nashville Predators Are Doing

Adam Vingan announced on Tuesday that the Nashville Predators are calling up Frederick Gaudreau while placing Yannick Weber on the IR. Although Gaudreau won’t be in the lineup against Colorado, this is still a smart move. Gaudreau has proven himself the most out of anyone in the AHL and should get the nod. My thought is to put Gaudreau or Sissons on the third line while bumping Jarnkrok to the second line. Let Fiala play with a defensively responsible center who will allow Fiala to take chances. Gaudreau or Sissons stepping in for Jarnkrok on the third line will be a fine replacement.

Here are my personal offensive lines moving forward.





Next: Girard's Play Could Force A Trade

They’re not perfect and they leave a lot to be desired, but they’ll work while Bonino rehabs. Let’s hope he can come back sooner rather than later.