Nick Bonino, we hardly knew you. The Penguins third-line center and pivot of the HBK line (RIP) helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups after he came over from the Vancouver Canucks in a 2015 trade that included Brandon Sutter.
Earlier today, Bonino inked a 4-year contract worth 4.1 million dollars per year with the team that broke his leg in the Cup Final, the Nashville Predators. The Preds, aware of their lack of talent down the middle, likely overcommitted to a player whose stock rose considerably based on a few months of action playing with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin.
Not to say that he wasn’t a huge part of the Penguins back-to-back Cup wins. However, there’s a difference between a 3rd line center with a very reasonable 1.9 million dollar cap hit and a 3rd line center with a 4.1 million dollar cap hit. The salary considerations combined with the four year term was too much for the Penguins, but well within the budget for the Nasvhille Predators, who were looking for a 2nd line center to play behind Johansen and faced with a weak free agent market.
But we’re still going to miss this: