ST PAUL, Minn. — Luke Kunin was like a lot of the Minnesota Wild's young skaters, full of promise but inconsistent, and lighter on production than both coaches and fans expected.
No more. Kunin will be packing his bags and heading to Nashville, after the Wild swapped him for veteran forward Nick Bonino and the 37th and 70th picks in the 2020 NHL Draft. Minnesota will send the 101st selection to the Predators along with Kunin.
The 32-year-old Bonino recorded 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) and recorded three game-winning goals, 89 blocked shots and 104 shots in 67 games with Nashville during the 2019-20 season. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound native of Hartford, Conn., scored a goal in four Stanley Cup Playoff games this postseason as the Predators fell to Arizona in the Qualifying Round.
Bonino has winning in his pedigree, helping to capture two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.
Kunin collected 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) while recording 54 blocked shots and 64 hits in 63 games with Minnesota in 2019-20. He owns 52 points in 131 career NHL games in three seasons with the Wild.
Minnesota currently owns six selections in rounds 2-7 in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft: #37 and #39 in the second round, #70 in the third round, #132 in the fifth round, #163 in the sixth round, and #194 in the seventh round.
The trade of Kunin is just the latest move by GM Bill Guerin to remake a stagnant roster that struggled to make the playoffs this year, and quickly lost in the first round to Vancouver. Earlier this week Guerin traded forward Ryan Donato and goaltender Devan Dubnyk to San Jose, and earlier jettisoned veteran centers Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu.
Guerin and the Wild braintrust selected Austrian center Marco Rossi with its first round, ninth overall pick Tuesday night.