Predators hope Kunin and Borowiecki add strength and improve special teams

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“Our goal in going into free agency was to reorganize our team a bit,” said general manager David Poile. “Specifically strengthen our forwards, be a harder group of attackers to face and also to improve our defensive third pair. I think that with our signatures, we have achieved these objectives. “Among the additions is forward Luke Kunin, acquired in a trade from the Minnesota Wild for forward Nick Bonino October 7. Kunin scored a career-high 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 63 games last season and scored two goals in four playoff games.

“He plays in all situations, he plays in the center, he plays the wing,” said Poile. “He’s playing what I would call a tough game, he’s got a lot of energy, a lot of bite, a power play, shots on goal. I think he’s just a good all-around player who is getting better and better. . ”

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

Defender Mark Borowiecki and forward Nick Cousins and Brad Richardson were signed to add strength and improve a penalty that ranked 29th in the NHL last season (76.1 percent).

“He’s got a level of courage and physicality that we have to come back to, playing to a new standard,” Poile said of Borowiecki. “Plus, it’s pretty obvious from watching him play and talking to him… that he will bring a lot of veteran leadership to our hockey club. ”

Here’s what predators look like today:

Key arrivals

Mark Borowiecki, D: The 31-year-old signed a two-year contract on October 9. He scored a career-high 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 53 games with the Ottawa Senators last season. … Nick Cousins, F: The 27-year-old center, who signed a two-year contract on Oct. 10, scored 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 65 games for the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens last season. He had five assists in 17 playoff games for Vegas. … Luke Kunin, F: The 22-year-old center was tied for fourth on the Wild with 15 goals last season. … Brad Richardson, F: The 35-year-old right-winger signed a one-year contract on October 12. He has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 59 regular season games and three points (two goals, one assist) in nine playoff games for the Coyotes.

Key departures

Nick Bonino, F: Scored 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 67 games last season. … Mikael Granlund, F: Remains an unrestricted free agent after scoring 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) in 63 games last season. … Dan Hamhuis, D: He retired Aug. 13 after collecting eight assists in 60 games last season. … Craig Smith, F: Signed a three-year contract with the Boston Bruins on Oct. 10 after scoring 31 points (18 goals, 13 assists) in 69 games last season. … Kyle Turris, F: Had the last four seasons of his six-year contract bought out on October 7 and signed a two-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers on October 9. He scored 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 62 games last season. … Austin Watson, F: Traded to the Senators for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft on Oct. 10. He scored 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 53 games last season. … Yannick Weber, RE: Remains an unrestricted free agent after scoring three points (one goal, two assists) in 41 games last season.

At dawn

Philip Tomasino, F: The 19-year-old center finished fourth in the Ontario Hockey League last season with 100 points (40 goals, 60 assists) for Niagara and Oshawa. … Eeli Tolvanen, F: The 21-year-old right-winger scored two points (one goal, one assist) in seven NHL games in 2017-19. He was second to Milwaukee in the American Hockey League with 21 goals in 63 games last season. … Train de Yakov, F: The 23-year-old center scored six points (two goals, four assists) in 21 NHL games last season and 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) in 32 AHL games.

Video: NSH @ LAK: Trenin hijacks Irwin’s domestic stream

What they still need

More than Matt Duchene. The center signed a seven-year contract on July 1, 2019 to add more oomph to the roster behind the No.1 center Ryan Johansen, but his 13 goals were the least of his 11 seasons in the NHL.

Video: NSH @ ARI, Gm4: Duchene deflects PPG by Kuemper

Fantastic focus

Duchene scored 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 66 games last season, up from 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) in 2018-19 with the Blue Jackets and Columbus Senators. His shooting percentage (9.6%) was well below that of 2018-19 (18.0%) and his career NHL average (12.7%), signaling a potential rebound season. Nashville’s offense isn’t laden with fantastic talent outside of the elite defenseman Romain Josi, but Duchene is expected to be a full-time center again this season and among his leaders in average ice time per game, making it worth picking in the late rounds. – Rob Reese

Projected programming

Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson

Eeli Tolvanen – Matt Duchene – Luke Kunin

Rocco GrimaldiColton Sissons – Nick Cousins

Yakov Trenin – Brad Richardson – Jarnkrok Street

Romain Josi – Ryan Ellis

Mattias EkholmDante Fabbro

Mark Borowiecki – Matt Benning

Saros Hair

Pekka Rinne



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