Bonino can still help sharks next year

VANCOUVER – It has not been an ideal season for Nick Bonino.

The 33-year-old was the San Jose Sharks’ biggest free agent signing this past summer, and is expected to center the third line for a hopeful playoff.

Bonino went pointless in his first 18 games and the Sharks are now 17 points out of the playoffs after a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night.

“It’s been a frustrating year,” Logan Couture noted. “He wanted to contribute with his first 15-20 games here offensively, and for some reason the puck didn’t go in for him.”

But the two-time Stanley Cup champion has shown he can still help San Jose return to the promised last year. Bonino is signed for another year for $ 2.05 million dollars.

This was Bonino’s third goal in his last four games.

In his last 51 games, Bonino has 11 goals and nine assists. During a season of 82 games, it’s 18 goals and 14 assists, which is equivalent to what the Sharks were hoping for from Bonino in the low season.

Of course, one can not wish Bonino’s downturn away. He currently has an average of his career’s lowest 0.98 points per. 60 on 5-against-5. That is far from previous career-low 1.42

Either way, it’s good to see Bonino back to adding some secondary scores. And of course, his game is so much more.

Note on his goal, for example, how he loosens the puck from Conor Garland (8) in the neutral zone. Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) and Matt Nieto (83) serve it on a platter for the explosive Noah Gregor (73).

“It’s one thing I’ve noticed he’s really good at,” Gregor said. “How strong he is on the stick. He’s so good at stealing parks, getting under guys and stripping players.

“He removes puck all over the ice and creates footsteps or fights for his line mates.”

A Stick Check is, according to SPORTLOGiQ, “to separate the opponent from the puck with your stick, causing a loss of possession.”

At the All-Star break, Bonino led all of San Jose forward by 4.69 Stick Checks Per 60 at 5v5.

Here is a defensive category where Bonino leads not only the San Jose Sharks, but the entire National Hockey League.

With 91 blocks, he is 24 ahead of current second-placed Anze Kopitar for most shot blocks by an attacker.

He is the fourth most used penalty killer, behind Andrew Cogliano, Logan Couture and Nieto, on the league’s third best penalty kill.

He is still a force in the faceoff circle, winning 51.4 percent of his draws.

Outside the ice, Bonino’s voice still carries weight.

“He plays the right way every game. He’s so consistent. He’s so good to us with faceoffs and on penalties,” offered 23-year-old Gregor. “He’s very vocal in the room and talks to the younger guys and helps them. to navigate through the league. “

Captain Couture added: “He is a fantastic professional. There are reasons why guys play in this league for 13-14 years, especially guys who are not top talent – not to take anything from Bones – he is a center line on third “The guys do things the right way, they do the little things, they win faceoffs, they check hard, they kick.”

Bonino sounds like the perfect vet to guide the young San Jose Sharks back to the playoffs.

“He’s been a solid guy. A leader for us, I know young guys look up to. He’s one of those guys we lean on to set the standard. That’s why they brought him in here, “said head coach Bob Boughner.” I thought he did a good job with it. “

That said, we have to face reality. Bonino’s skating is slower. Scouts have been telling me this since last low season.

He’s not one of the league’s best third line centers anymore – either he needs some dynamic wingers around him, or ideally he should slide down to a fourth line.

But the point is: Bonino can still play, and he can still help the Sharks.

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