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Predators boldly clear cap space by trading Bonino, buying out Turris

Pierre McGuire, Bob McKenzie, Craig Button analyze the biggest storylines going into NHL free agency, including where Henrik Lundqvist and Alex Pietrangelo will end up.

The Nashville Predators made big moves to clear up cap space heading into free agency. It’s fair to wonder if their bold moves to erase prior mistakes will only lead to more mistakes in the future, though.

In short, the Predators will buy out Kyle Turris, while sending Nick Bonino to the Wild for Luke Kunin. Minnesota also gained some upgrades in the 2020 NHL Draft. In a lesser move, Nashville also bought out Steve Santini.

But zooming out, the Predators paid big to gain salary cap space. Could it be in the name of reuniting free agent Taylor Hall with his former Devils coach John Hynes? We’ll see.

Predators trade Bonino to Wild for Kunin and cap space; Minnesota gets better picks

First, the Predators traded Nick Bonino to the Wild for Luke Kunin, with Minnesota getting pick upgrades for their trouble.

Predators receive: Luke Kunin, fourth-round pick in 2020 (101st overall).

Wild receives: Nick Bonino, 2020 second-rounder (37th overall, Marat Khusnutdinov) and a 2020 third-rounder (70th overall).

The key here is money. Bonino, 32, carries a $4.1 million cap hit that expires after 2020-21. The Predators get to determine how much 22-year-old Kunin costs, as he’s an RFA.

But of all of the mistakes the Predators made at center, Bonino seemed to right himself as a useful two-way player.

If Marco Rossi backs up the hype as a nice steal at No. 9, then this continues a tidy run of work by Wild GM Bill Guerin during draft ... well, not weekend. Draft mid-week? To be fair, the Predators got much younger, at least if you only look at the roster players, not the exchange of picks.

Predators buyouts include Turris; time for another free agent splash?

The other eyebrow-raising Predators move involved Nashville waiving Kyle Turris to set up a buyout. Nashville also cleared up some money by buying out Steve Santini, a defenseman they acquired as part of the P.K. Subban trade.

Cap Friendly provides a helpful update:

This represents another dizzying set of moves by the Predators, and possibly to set up another major signing. It could also be massively risky. Moving on from P.K. Subban seems prescient at this moment. Doing it all to land Matt Duchene? Not quite as good.

But while the Taylor Hall - Hynes reconnection makes for a logical conclusion, we don’t actually know what Poile is cooking up for the Predators. If patterns hold, it will probably be bold, though.

Like a poorly executed Doritos flavor, bold doesn’t always mean good.