Is it just bad timing or are the Nashville Predators really preparing to trade one of their most consistent players all season in Nick Bonino?
This has been one of the trickiest and harder-to-read approaches to the trade deadline in recent memory for the Nashville Predators.
Opinions are all over the spectrum on what the Predators and GM David Poile should do leading up to Monday’s trade deadline.
Nick Bonino remains an interesting piece that the Predators could part ways with, despite how excellent and important he’s been all season to them.
Now, according to reports from Brooks Bratten of the team’s official website, Bonino has missed practices recently, which is understandably raising some eyebrows:
#Preds forward rushes at practice:
Nick Bonino is absent.
— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) February 20, 2020
It’s hard to know if this is just a routine illness that can plague anyone this time of year, or is something in the works behind closed doors?
Or maybe it’s just a maintenance day as he’s been putting in a lot of ice time and the Predators want to be cautious. A lot of different scenarios that doesn’t have to necessarily end in “he’s getting traded”.
I think the interest for Bonino on the market should be relatively high. He’s had a resurgence this season, and he’s been so vital to the Predators remaining afloat in what’s been a disappointment as a whole.
And since John Hynes has become head coach following Peter Laviolette‘s departure, Bonino is among the team’s leaders in ice time, per Adam Vingan of The Athletic:
Ice time leaders among Predators forwards since John Hynes arrived:
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) February 17, 2020
I initially had Mikael Granlund as the likely piece to be traded, but he’s hit a hot streak of his own since Hynes took over. He could still be dealt, and so could Bonino for that matter.
What makes it so hard to know what the Predators are going to do is surrounded by their peculiar spot in the standings. They’re only three points out, but sometimes it feels like they’re already eliminated based on how they’ve played and fell short of preseason expectations.
It would be a horrible idea to give up Bonino over Granlund. I like the way both of them have played, but Bonino has another year left on his contract, while Granlund is a pending unrestricted free agent.
Granlund is the more expensive player I’d expect as well, so parting ways with him just makes more sense to me and will bring more in return.
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As for what’s going on now with Bonino missing practice, I’m leaning towards it just being a coincidence. I don’t see Poile giving up Bonino unless a team is willing to drastically overpay for him.
We’re going to get a taste of how valuable Bonino is to the Predators firsthand tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. Kyle Turris is projected to move into his place on the third line.
Take it for what you will, but Bonino will still be a member of the Nashville Predators this time next week. Just my gut feeling.
The Predators aren’t ready to give up on this season just yet, and letting Bonino go would be waving the white flag until next season.