Luke Kunin, 2022 RFA
2021 Cap Hit: $2.3M
Roster placement was the main issue with Luke Kunin in 2021-22. It became painfully clear he shouldn’t be on the top line unless there are a rash of injuries. And yet Hynes continued to put up him situations where he failed to produce much offense, and also took a lot of bad penalties.
Kunin was third on the team in penalty minutes with 99, while only producing 22 points. He played in all 82 games, which is impressive on its own.
A player that’s consistently in your top-six can’t be taking that many penalties. It messes up the line chemistry and obviously puts the team in bad situations. Tanner Jeannot and Mark Borowiecki were the only two player that served more penalty minutes, but they also took a lot of fighting majors which skews it.
If Kunin stays on this team next season, which wouldn’t surprise me, then Hynes really needs to find a better spot for him on the roster. Remaining on the top two lines will be baffling, as it was all season.
With Kunin being an RFA, the Predators can choose to send a qualifying offer to him if they want to retain him. However, I think they should let him test the waters and move on from the Kunin experiment.
Open up the lineup ever more to more offensively affective players, via the prospect pool or finding someone on the open market in free agency. Find someone for your top-six that’s not going to put up nearly 100 minutes of penalties while also rarely producing offense.