Nashville Predators fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday. Luke Kunin and the Predators finally came to terms on a two-year deal.
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Kunin was absent as the Predators took the ice for practice on Monday. It was later announced that he wouldn’t practice with the team until the two parties reached a deal.
Fortunately, the two sides agreed quickly as the Predators need all of the practice time with the full squad they can get.
Kunin Comes To Nashville
The rights to sign Kunin came to the Predators in a trade with the Minnesota Wild back in October.
In a move that rattled the Predators faithful, Kunin came to Nashville in a trade for Nick Bonino, and some draft picks.
Fans questioned trading a proven scorer and veteran in Bonino for a younger player who has only been in the league for three seasons.
Upon closer inspection, the trade worked out great for the Predators. In Kunin, they got a comparable player to Bonino (although not yet proven), who is younger and hasn’t reached his prime.
The move also shaved some salary cap as Bonino was earning $4.1M a year.
Kunin is coming off of a career year with Minnesota. In 63 games last season, Kunin scored 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists).
In his previous season with Minnesota, Kunin tallied 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists). It’s the hope that the Predators are getting him at just the right time.
Part Of The Youth Movement
Kunin was one of the first postseason signings of GM David Poile’s youth movement. While the youth movement may be taking a backseat, as evidenced by the recent signings of Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula, Kunin has an opportunity to be an impact player right away.
While Predators fans will miss Bonino, it’s exciting to get a player like Kunin who has lots of potential to grow his game.
We won’t know which line Kunin will wind up on until the Predators’ first game, but hopefully, he can continue to build on his numbers from last year.
The newly defensive-minded Predators will need scoring from wherever they can get it. Kunin has an opportunity to contribute and be an impact player right out of the gate.