The Nashville Predators have traded Nick Bonino along with the 37th and 70th overall picks in the 2020 draft to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for RFA forward Luke Kunin and the 101st selection.
Bonino joined the Predators as a free agent in 2017 after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015-16 and 2016-17, signing a four-year deal worth $16.4 million. He has one season still remaining on that contract, which carries a $4.1-million cap hit.
The 32-year-old was on pace for one of his most productive seasons yet at the time of the league hiatus in March, having registered 18 goals and 35 points in 67 games in 2019-20. That point total matched last year’s 81-game tally.
Kunin, 22, comes over from Minnesota having hit career-highs in games (63), goals (15), assists (16) and points (31) after playing in a combined 68 games in the previous two seasons since being drafted by the Wild in the first round (15th overall) in 2016.
“Luke Kunin is a solid, young, up and coming player with a great future ahead of him,” Predators general manager David Poile said in the team’s press release. “He is a former first-round pick with good pedigree that can play both center and on the wing, and in all situations, including on the penalty kill and the power play.”
Kunin is a restricted free agent, coming off his three-year entry-level deal, and is not yet arbitration-eligible. He now becomes Poile’s lone RFA, but one of several free agents on the Predators’ roster right now.
Earlier this off-season, Poile promised change would be coming to Nashville, and he’s been putting those words into action since.
Pending unrestricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith are reportedly on the move come Oct. 9, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Wednesday that another forward, Kyle Turris, as well as defenceman Steven Santini have been placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout.
Forward Colin Blackwell and defencemen Yannick Weber and Korbinian Holzer are also set for unrestricted free agency.