Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Meet a new Canuck: Nick Bonino

Meet a new Canuck is a feature I’ll be running throughout the off-season as an introduction to the newest members of the Vancouver Canucks.


Nick Bonino


In his college days, Bonino played for the Boston University Terriers. Bonino led Boston University to an NCAA National Championship, beating Miami University, as a sophomore in 2008-09, while scoring 50 points in 44 games. He also scored the game tying goal in the Championship game with 17.4 seconds remaining. He would finish up his collegiate career after only three seasons before moving on to the AHL, and he would score better than a point per game (117 points in 116 games).

The San Jose Sharks selected Bonino in the 6th round (173rd overall) in the 2007 National Hockey League entry draft. His rights were then traded to the Anaheim Ducks along with goaltender Timo Pielmeier for forward Travis Moen and veteran defenceman Kent Huskins (who is now in the Canucks system with the Utica Comets).

Bonino made his NHL debut on March 26th, 2010 against the Edmonton Oilers. The next game (against the Dallas Stars) Bonino scored his first NHL goal. He scored his first hat trick in a 7-4 Ducks win over the Los Angeles Kings on February 2nd of 2013. During the 2014 NHL off-season, Bonino, along with Luca Sbisa, the 24th overall pick in 2014 and a 2014 3rd round pick, was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for center Ryan Kesler and a 2015 3rd round draft pick. Bonino has a cap hit of $1.9 million for the next three seasons.

At 26 years of age, Bonino has now played parts of five NHL seasons, totaling 33 goals and 49 assists for 82 points in 189 games, while also sporting a career +9 to go along with 48 penalty minutes. His best season was by bar the most recent; in 2013-14 Bonino set a new career high in games played (77), and also more than doubled his previous career highs in goals (22), assists (27) and points (49).


Nick Bonino’s Role

In all likelihood, Bonino will play as the 2nd line centerman this upcoming season between veteran Alexandre Burrows and promising power forward Zack Kassian. It has the potential to be a dangerous line if Burrows can bounce back and Kassian can break out. Bonino, while not the defensive monster Kesler was, outscored the aforementioned Kesler last season (49 points compared to 43 points in the same number of games, though Kesler did score more goals than Bonino). If he can replicate that this coming season, I think most ‘Nucks fans will be more than satisfied.

The other aspect Bonino will help with is the pitiful powerplay. Bonino scored 40.8% of his points on the power play last season, albeit on Anaheim’s first unit. He almost certainly won’t play first unit this upcoming season with the Canucks, but he’ll be relied on to potentially quarterback the second unit power play.

One thing I’ve found is that people are severely underrating Bonino when talking about the Kesler trade, as if he’s some sort of no-name player. But you have to realize that that Bonino played 5:35 per game less than Kesler on average, and STILL outscored him. He’s also only 26, meaning he has lots of room to grow and develop into a stronger all-round player.

Bonino’s success will have a big impact on the Canucks 2014-15 campaign. If he develops into a legitimate, effective second line center the Canucks could be a playoff team. If not, then they probably won’t, as potential replacements such as Linden Vey or Shawn Matthias are not quality second line pivots. But I have confidence Bonino will thrive.


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