Let the offseason waves keep flowing as the Nashville Predators have reportedly traded Luke Kunin to the San Jose Sharks, per Christ Johnston of TSN:
There was speculation sine the season ended that the Predators might try to move away from Kunin as he was becoming a restricted free agent, and didn’t have the type of season you would like to see from the 24-year-old winger who managed just 13 goals, but 99 penalty minutes.
This frees up more roster space for a potential free agent foward to join the mix when the market opens up on July 13. You need more speed and offense in this starting lineup for 2022-23, and Kunin wasn’t that guy. At least not in the top-six.
A busy offseason continues for Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators haven’t been shy this offseason in making signficiant changes as they’ve already traded for veteran blueliner Ryan McDonagh, and traded away Mathieu Olivier to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Per the San Jose Sharks official twitter account, the Predators will receive a 2023 third-round pick and left winger John Leonard:
Leonard is just 23-years-old and adds more depth maybe intially to the Milwaukee Admirals, and perhaps he gets an NHL chance at some point for the Predators next season.
Another step in the direction of youth for the Nashville Predators. Honestly this is about as much as you could’ve hoped for in return for Kunin. What kind of stings is the draft day trade for Kunin in return for Nick Bonino never really panned out.
Leonard has appeared in 58 NHL games, but has just four goals. He’s a former sixth-round draft pick from 2018. He’s listed as a left winger and has potential to eventually develop into a quality depth guy, per Dobber Prospects.
You’d expect Leonard to intially go to the AHL next season to help out the Admirals. We’ll have to track his development there before we know if this is a good trade or not. The third-round pick for 2023 makes the trade package not bad at all.
Maybe the NHL-leading penalty ridden Nashville Predators will spend a little less time in the penalty box next season with Kunin’s departure. He’s a hard-working player that you hate to see go, but this looks like a step in the right direction to the Predators getting better for the long and short-term future.
There almost certainly has to be another move up the sleeve of General Manager David Poile as he still tried to re-sign Filip Forsberg, and likely add another couple pieces in free agency next week.