Nashville plucks pesky Bonino from Pen­guins

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

NASHVILLE, Ten­nessee — The Nashville Preda­tors took care of an area of con­cern and added to an area of depth on Satur­day, sign­ing cen­ter Nick Bonino away from the Stan­ley Cup cham­pion Pitts­burgh Pen­guins with a four-year, $16.4 mil­lion con­tract and ac­quir­ing de­fense­man Alexei Emelin in a trade with the Ve­gas Golden Knights

Bonino, a crafty play­maker and su­perb penalty killer, was a key player for the Pen­guins dur­ing the past two post­sea­sons, con­tribut­ing a to­tal of 25 points to help them hoist the cup twice — in­clud­ing against the Preda­tors last month.

Bonino broke his leg block­ing a shot in Game 2 against Nashville but played through the pain and fin­ished the game be­fore miss­ing the rest of the se­ries.

“We saw first­hand what Nick can do of­fen­sively by get­ting two goals in the open­ing game of the fi­nal,” said Nashville gen­eral man­ager David Poile.

The 29-year-old has 75 goals and 187 points in his eightyear ca­reer. He spent five sea­sons with the Anaheim Ducks be­fore hav­ing a one-sea­son stay in Vancouver and a twoyear run with the Pen­guins.

Play­ing more in Nashville, per­haps on its sec­ond line, was part of the ap­peal of the team’s pitch af­ter Bonino played be­hind Sid­ney Crosby and Ev­geni Malkin with the Pen­guins.

“Play­ing more min­utes, you want to do it,” Bonino said.

The Preda­tors need him in part be­cause they traded cen­ter Colin Wil­son to the Colorado Avalanche for a fourthround pick in 2019. Nashville drafted Wil­son No 7 over­all in 2008 and he had 95 goals and 237 points for the fran­chise.

The trade for Emelin cost the Preda­tors a 2019 thir­dround pick — and just over $1.9 mil­lion in salary with Ve­gas re­tain­ing just un­der $1.2 mil­lion — but gives them an even stronger de­fense be­hind the core four of Ro­man Josi, PK Sub­ban, Mat­tias Ekholm and Ryan El­lis.

Poile, re­cently named the NHL’s top ex­ec­u­tive, cleared some salary cap space by part­ing ways with Wil­son. He will count $4 mil­lion against Colorado’s cap the next two sea­sons.

“I don’t think there’s any way of get­ting around Colin’s time here was a lot of ups and downs, some fab­u­lous mo­ments, mostly in the play­offs,” Poile said.

The Preda­tors also brought back for­ward Scott Hart­nell on a one-year, $1 mil­lion deal, adding depth up front for a unit that lost James Neal in the ex­pan­sion draft to stock

Nick Bonino

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