29-Year-Old Center – Nashville Predators
Nick Bonino Contract Information:
Bonino signed a four-year, $16.4 million contract with the Predators in July of 2017.
Bonino (leg) told reporters his leg "feels better than I thought it would at this point," Adam Vingan of The Tennessean reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Few players have gone from shockingly bad to shockingly good the way Bonino did in 2015-16. Despite averaging 0.46 points per game through his first six NHL seasons, the center scored only four goals and 13 points in his first 50 games with Pittsburgh. Fortunately for him, a midseason trade and ensuing line shakeup changed Boninoís fortune and that of the Penguins. Along with the Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel, coach Mike Sullivan put Bonino at center on a unit which would go on to become the vaunted HBK Line. The center collected 16 points in the final 13 regular-season contests and added 18 points in 24 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup. Boninoís play lends itself to injury Ė he blocked 50 shots while playing through a postseason elbow infection Ė but look for at least a half-point-per-game pace from him when that trio is together.
Bonino got off to a red-hot start in his first season with Vancouver, but went through a massive cold stretch during the middle of the year before finishing the season strong. The 26-year-oldís inconsistent play may have been one of the reasons he was shipped to Pittsburgh during the offseason in exchange for the more versatile Brandon Sutter. Coming off a 15-goal, 39-point season, the 6-foot-1 center comes to a Pittsburgh team that already has its top two pivot positions filled by superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Thus, Bonino will likely slot in as the teamís third-line center. The Penguins are so loaded with the offseason acquisition of Phil Kessel that their second power-play unit, which is projected to include Bonino along with Olli Maatta, David Perron and Chris Kunitz, will likely produce a ton of goals. Bonino managed just one power-play tally last season after striking a career-high seven times with the man advantage in 203-14 with the Ducks, so look for him to bounce back in that department. Although he isnít a major point producer, he has a terrific shot that should make a 20-goal season with the offensively loaded Penguins a realistic objective.
Bonino and Luca Sbisa arrived from the Ducks in an offseason deal that saw star forward Ryan Kesler head south. Bonino is coming off a great year in Anaheim in which he recorded a career-high 22 goals and 49 points. He was absolutely lethal on the power play, recording seven goals and 20 points. And he proved his regular season was no fluke later on in the playoffs, helping the Ducks to the second round with four goals and eight points in 13 postseason games. With his new squad, Bonino should slot in as the teamís second-line center, while serving as a fixture on the power play. Much is expected of Bonino, but heís no Ryan Kesler. Prior to last season, the 26-year-old had never recorded more than 18 points in a season. He should be a decent fantasy contributor in Vancouver, but donít expect much more than 20 goals.
Despite having a torn hamstring in March, Bonino was able to return and record 13 points in the 27 games in which he played. He also logged four points during the Ducks' first round playoff loss to the Red Wings. This will be an important season for Bonino. Not only is a contract year, but it's also his first real shot at a significant top-six role. He will compete for the job of second-line center and will provide decent production if he wins it. Left-coast guys tend to drop in drafts, so you might be able to score him as a later-round keeper as a result. Watch him carefully in camp.
Bonino played a career-high 50 games last season, registering five goals and 13 assists. He should remain a depth forward for the Ducks and does not provide a great amount of fantasy value.
Bonino, who played sparingly in 26 games with the Ducks last year, signed a one-year deal with the team this past July. He went scoreless averaging 9:48 of ice time in the NHL, and mostly played with Syracuse in the AHL. The rookie center will be competing for time on the fourth line this season and should see a lot of action in the preseason.