Predators trade Luke Kunin to Sharks

Acquire prospect John Leonard, third-round pick in return

In the midst of the 2022 NHL Draft, the Nashville Predators have traded forward Luke Kunin to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for winger John Leonard and a 2023 third-round pick.

The trade marks the end of Kunin’s disappointing tenure with the Predators. The Predators acquired Kunin in 2020 from Minnesota in the Nick Bonino trade, expecting him to develop into a reliable middle-six forward. Injuries curtailed his first season in Nashville in 2021. After he entered this past season with a clean bill of health, many predicted a breakout season from Kunin, but he could only muster a mere 22 points in 82 games.

Kunin is a restricted free agent, and the Predators had until this week to extend a $2.3M qualifying offer.

Leonard, a 2018 sixth-round pick, has played primarily in the AHL, but also has 58 games of NHL experience under his belt (44 games in 2021, 14 last season). He may have a shot of making the Preds as a depth/bottom-line forward this season, but he’ll likely start the year in the AHL.

Thoughts on the trade, Smashville?