Player Name/Position: Nick Bonino, Center
Overall Grade: B+
Contract Status: One more year at 700K, then RFA.
2013 Stats: 27 GP, 5 goals + 8 assists= 13 points. 15:53 TOI/G, 46.8 FO%, and led all forwards with 49 blocked shots.
Playoff stats: 7 GP, 3+1=4. 16:37 TOI/G, 55.6 FO%, and led all forwards with 10 blocked shots
Offense: Bonino's offense this year was a bit of a mixed bag, highlighted by a 4 point performance against the Kings on Feb. 2. Except, when you realize that four of his 13 points came in one game, you realize he scattered 9 points over 26 games. It's the difference between a 40 point pace and a 28 point pace. Bonino's offense is very cut and dry. He works hard in the corners and is much more of a playmaker. You aren't going to see him make a lot of fancy dangles or insane passes, but he is effective at getting the puck to his scorers. He's an effective piece in keeping an offense going, as evidenced by the tumble the PP took when he was out with a torn hamstring. He had early troubles generating chemistry with Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne, but Bonino tends to be at his best playing with good scorers. He can feed them puck and his good defensive sense, allows his linemates to take chances. He's a worker around the net and can find his fair share of rebounds, as evidenced by the fact that he led the team in shooting distance at 22.3 feet. This kid isn't afraid to get in close and shoot.
Defense: I've always considered Bonino to be a responsible player. He reads plays well and is an effective backchecker. This year, the numbers are a little more discouraging. He was second to last in corsi among forwards and his 7.4 drop in OZone start and finish% means he wasn't really moving play forward. His GAon/60 for the season was 2.29 and his GA0ff/60 was 1.81, which means we gave up less goals when he was off the ice. He was dead last in +/- off at 1.45. Part of this might be explained by his limited GP, as advanced stats report better results over a longer period of time. It's also important to note that the Ducks were a very poor possession team overall. It's also difficult to say whether or not Bonino was affected by his teammates. He spent a lot of time going up and down the lineup and spent some time as the bottom center. Overall, I still have faith in his defensive abilities, because he's rarely the person I see out of position.
Highlight of the Season/Postseason: Yeah, Nick Bonino gets two. WHAT?! He's just awesome like that.
Expectations for Next Year: I think Bonino has what it takes to be the 2C for this team. He was close to a breakout season until he tore his hamstring, [Ed. Note: In a pregame soccer game, initially reported as the flu. -CK] and I think a duo of Selanne and Etem are exactly what he needs on his wings. That is if Selanne comes back for another year. If not, I think Etem-Bonino-Palms would be an effective second line as well, if we end up keeping Bobby Ryan. Bonino is an effective player. He has the ability to fill holes and operate at multiple levels. The more I think of him, the more I think of him as Mike Richards lite, without the crazy side that guys develop playing on Broad Street. He offers a solid 2-way game that can be augmented to provide a little more offense or to get him some good grinders that he can feed down low. Bonino is a valuable player and his versatility shouldn't be underestimated.