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— Just over a month until training camp, the Penguins still have a third line center hole and fourth line center hole with Matt Cullen undecided as the NHL off-season has reached the dog days of August where most GM’s are vacationing.

Mike Fisher retiring last week played right into why former Penguins center Nick Bonino was set on signing with the Nashville Predators from the start. From the get-go of the interview period, the Predators sold Bonino on having a bigger role in Nashville and being the long-term replacement for Fisher with the catch being Bonino would still be on a Stanley Cup contender.

Pittsburgh could have decided in June that Bonino is more valuable to them than Conor Sheary would be for this next three to four year window where the Penguins have to a chance win more Cups.

Therefore, Pittsburgh could have easily moved Sheary for draft picks around the draft to clear needed cap space to try to sign Bonino but it likely would not have mattered and wasn’t really a road the Penguins could have went.

Bonino who did not give the Penguins an opportunity to match the Predators offer, wanted a bigger role with a contender and Nashville setup as the perfect situation for him, even if Pittsburgh offered him a better or similar contract.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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