Chad Minton’s Pick – @chad_minton
I see the Minnesota Wild as an up-and-coming team in the Central Division, and Nick Bonino will fit in nicely with veteran leadership. Out of all the offseason losses for the Predators, the one that’s going to hurt them the most is Bonino, not to overlook the loss of Craig Smith, which will also be hard to replace.
Bonino was the most consistent player on the Predators last season, aside from Roman Josi.
Without Bonino’s steady production (18 goals, 17 assists, 17.2 shooting percentage), the Predators would’ve plummeted much further in the standings and may have missed the Stanley Cup Qualifiers altogether.
With his new team in Minnesota, I expect Bonino to pick up where he left off and continue to build on what has been a very respectable 11-year career that includes a Stanley Cup. He’ll come around in the neighborhood of 15-20 goals and provide stability just like he did in Nashville.
At first glance, this trade between Nashville and Minnesota makes sense for both clubs. The Wild are getting veteran leadership, while the Predators are fueling their trend of getting younger with Luke Kunin. However, Bonino will bring quicker results than Kunin at first.
Bonino has a few more productive seasons left in the NHL, and this was a great addition for Minnesota as they’ll look to charge up the Central Division pecking order.