Nick Bonino has been a big part of the Pittsburgh Penguins past two Stanley Cups. A staple of the team’s third line and the centerman on the team’s HBK unit with Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel, it’s surprising to think that he may be on the way out in Pittsburgh. Nevertheless, the business of hockey has a way of ruining good things and if Bonino receives an offer he can’t refuse in free-agency tomorrow afternoon, you can hardly blame him for leaving.
In fact let’s be honest, it’s more likely than not that Bonino will receive a ridiculous offer on July 1st and the Penguins will be left out in the cold. No problem though, according to GM Jim Rutherford. One Penguins insider, Jonathan Bombulie of the Tribune-Review, is reporting that the team has a plan for replacing Bonino and could pull the trigger at any moment. No word on who that player might be, or who the team in question is, but rest assured Pens fans that Rutherford is on the case.
From Bombulie’s article:
The Penguins expect to lose center Nick Bonino in free agency and are close to making a trade to fill the void he leaves on the third line, general manager Jim Rutherford said Friday morning.
“It's like all trades,” Rutherford said. “You don't know if it's going to happen or when it's going to happen, but there's been enough conversation here over the last week that something could happen.”
So, who could Rutherford be targeting? It’s not often that quality centermen become available on the trade market. And, who would the Pens trade to get back such a commodity?