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Preview/Lines #60: Reimer on ‘Crazy’ Toronto Trade Deadlines, Bonino on Sharks Trading Him

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San Jose Sharks

With the trade deadline of Mar. 21 looming, the stress of possible trades is palpable, even if the San Jose Sharks try to shake off the gloom and focus on the games ahead of them.

The Sharks have some questions to answer when it comes to how their roster will stack up next season, given their wealth of young development in the minors and another year likely out of the playoffs. Now that Tomas Hertl has finally been re-signed to an eight-year contract extension, the floodgates seem to be open for the Sharks, with players and fans alike pondering, “Who’s next?” 

Whether or not the Sharks will be buyers or sellers still remains to be seen, but this upcoming Deadline has reminded several of the older veteran players of Deadlines past. James Reimer, Nick Bonino, and even head coach Bob Boughner shared their memories.

It’s no secret that certain hockey markets are more rabid than others. James Reimer, who played with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization from 2010-11 until halfway through the 2015-16 season, when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks, spoke about how acutely players felt the stress of the Trade Deadline there. 

“There’s always so many rumors and so many trades that were talked about, that never happened and so it’s one of those things you just can’t control,” he said. “That’s the craziest of the crazy there [in Toronto]. I mean, maybe Montreal is probably bad too. So [to have] been there for six years and then to experience it, it gives you a good foundation of what you can and can’t handle.” 

James Reimer is notably Mr. Cool – he has a healthy sense of perspective about how important it is for him to acknowledge what he can and can’t control when it comes to the potential of being traded. But, he recognizes that it’s not just hard on the players – it’s hard on their families too. 

“You don’t really think about it,” he said. “Wives, for me, worry about it more than you do, because they’re going to be stuck with the brunt of keeping the family in sync and stuff like that. And so, you know, it’s just one of those things you just can’t control and you have to focus on your job and try to perform at the highest level possible. Anything that keeps you from that isn’t worth thinking about.” 

Nick Bonino knows what it feels like to be traded when you’re young, and maybe unprepared for the mental and emotional journey it takes you on, good and bad. Bonino was traded as a San Jose Sharks prospect when he was still at Boston University, to the Anaheim Ducks in 2009. 

“Way back then, I did hear about it. I think the morning of the deadline, there wasn’t anything I was expecting or even worried about, to be honest,” the veteran centerman recalled. “I remember sitting in class, [my] agent was calling.”

He didn’t know where he was going yet, just that he might be leaving the Sharks organization.

“I came back and started making a list of places I wanted to play, not based on anything to do with hockey, but more on the weather – because when you’re not in the NHL, or you’re not a pro, you don’t have kids, you don’t have anything to worry about,” he said, smiling. “That day, I went to practice and got off the ice and I found out I was traded.”

“That’s the only time [I’ve] been traded at a Deadline. The others have been in the summer when you have a chance to take a breath and get the logistics in order. It’s always in the back of your mind, I think, as a rookie or veteran these days.

“It wasn’t something I thought of at all. It’s kind of your first indication that it can be a business, not just a sport.”

The Trade Deadline is a little different for head coach Bob Boughner these days, but he hasn’t forgotten what the anticipation felt like as a player, particularly the unique set of pressures that happens when you have kids. 

“I remember having little kids in school and that’s the hardest part, when you have kids involved. If it’s just you and the wife it’s not so bad. But you know when you have kids it’s a major difficulty. I mean, you’re moving them out of schools, and trying to find places for them to go to school in the new city and the house,” he recalled. “You always wondering as a player at the Deadline, hoping you’re safe. Once your name got thrown into the rumor mill, you were on edge. There’s no doubt about it. There’s no sugarcoating it.”

Boughner remembers one such experience of being traded that was particularly tough. 

“I won’t name the team, but I was at the Deadline. My name was getting thrown around the papers and I had the GM come to me – and I think my wife at the time was pregnant – and he came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Your name’s everywhere. You’re not going anywhere.’

“I was traded two days later… I was always a depth guy. So I was always a possibility near a Deadline being thrown in the deal. So it’s an uncomfortable time.”

San Jose Sharks (26-25-8)

Los Angeles Kings (33-21-8)

The Kings have activated Alex Edler — per Zach Dooley, this is how he projects the Kings’ lines tonight.

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks is at 7:00 PM PT/10:00 PM ET at the Crypto.com Arena. Watch it live on ESPN+ or HULU. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

 

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