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Wild acquires 'proven winner' in Bonino

Former Penguin won two Stanley Cups with Wild GM in Pittsburgh

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

The Wild started day two of the 2020 NHL Draft with a serious bang on Wednesday, making waves before it even had an opportunity to select a player.

With the draft's second day freshly underway, Minnesota made a trade with Central Division rival Nashville, acquiring yet another familiar face for Wild General Manager Bill Guerin in veteran centerman Nick Bonino.

But he also provided Director of Amateur Scouting Judd Brackett with some additional draft firepower, netting an extra second round pick (37th overall) and a third-round selection (70th overall) in exchange for forward Luke Kunin and a fourth-round pick (101st overall).

For more on the draft picks, click here.

For Bonino, who played for the Penguins when Guerin was an assistant GM there, he timed his short stretch in the Steel City well; in two seasons for the Pens, they won a Stanley Cup each time.

Bonino has been a part of plenty of playoff teams throughout his career having skated in 98 postseason contests, a number he intends to build upon next season in Minnesota.

Video: Nick Bonino talks trade to Wild

"Hopefully I can come in and make an impact on a team that is year in and year out a playoff contender, and I love playing in the playoffs," Bonino said. "That's the best time of year. So with Minnesota personally, I'll do everything I can to help our team get to the playoffs and ultimately win."

Bonino comes to Minnesota with the reputation as a solid locker room guy, a consistent on-ice performer and one of the NHL's best defensive forwards.

Last season with the Predators, Bonino scored 18 goals and 35 points in 67 games. The year before, he scored 17 goals and 35 points in 81 games. 

His best year in the League came in 2013-14, when he tallied 22 goals and 49 points in 77 games with the Anaheim Ducks, his final year in Southern California before he left for Vancouver. 

Bonino finished 12th in voting for the Selke Trophy this past season, earning one first-place vote from the Pro Hockey Writers Association. He finished 13th in 2018-19 and in 626 career games, Bonino is a plus-72, including a plus-17 last season and a career-best plus-27 the season prior.

"We've gotten a proven winner in Nick Bonino, another center, a guy that I know well from my Pittsburgh days," Guerin said. "Nick brings a lot of a lot of intangibles on and off the ice, and [that is] something that we're looking for. 

Bonino is no stranger to trades, but having a friendly face in Guerin will certainly help in his transition to yet another new team. At the very least, it made hearing the news of a trade a little more palatable. 

Video: Bill Guerin on NHL Tonight

"It wasn't the typical trade call, I would think. He's just a fun, happy guy. Obviously great at his job," Bonino said. "Speaking with him right away, there's some more joking around a little bit, having that familiarity made it a little bit easier, especially after getting off the phone with your former GM saying you've been traded. So, it's nice to speak with him and excited to get there in person and get to work.

"Obviously with every trade you go through, there's bittersweet feelings. I love Nashville, I love the guys there, that's the biggest thing, it's a great group of guys. Every team I've been on, you can say that about, so I'm excited to get to [Minnesota]. I've already had a lot of guys reach out and welcome me and my family. 

"From everything I've heard, it's a great organization from top to bottom, it's run really well and it's a great team that's always a playoff contender. I didn't expect to be doing a press conference this morning when I woke up, but here we are and I'm just trying to make the best of it."


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