Today marks the beginning of big changes for the Nashville Predators on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft.
In return, the Predators are getting forward Luke Kunin and their 101st draft pick, which ends up being defenseman Adam Wilsby.
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This move clears Bonino’s $4.1M salary from the Predators salary cap hit. The Predators may be clearing space to go after a high profile free agent.
This move also gives the Predators a younger player in Kunin. This fits in well with Poile’s youth movement era that he wants to usher in next season.
Bonino, at age 32, had one more year on his current contract. Kuni, who is 22, is an RFA.
The line that Bonino centered was the hardest working line for the Predators, and they produced outstanding results.
The 11-year veteran spent three seasons with the Predators. In his time with the Predators, he scored 95 points (47 goals, 48 assists).
Minnesota will be the fifth team for Bonino during his NHL career.
During his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was crowned a Stanley Cup champion. Other former teams include Anaheim and Vancouver.
What Kunin might bring
Kunin has three years of NHL experience and should keep showing improvement in Nashville.
Last season was Kunin’s best so far. In 63 games, he scored 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists). He also scored two poatseason goals in the bubble.
Kunin’s $925,000 cap hit helps the Predators in a significant way. By moving Bonino’s salary and Kunin’s lower salary, they free up some space to sign a free agent or two.
This trade may not sit well with the fans. Bonino has always played a gritty game, and his work with the third line last season was excellent.
From a business perspective, this trade makes lots of sense. The Predators are getting a younger player who may have some upside.
Last year’s production for the two players is comparable as well. Couple this with the lower salary cap, and this trade makes perfect sense.
Bonino will be missed by the team and fans alike. Unfortunately for him, he’s one of only a handful of current Predators players who had high trade value.
The Wild are getting a gritty and hard-working player in Bonino who should also help them in a leadership role.