Nashville plucks pesky Bonino from Penguins
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