It appears that the Sharks will be landing one of the top centers on the open market as TSN’s Darren Dreger reports (Twitter link) that San Jose is set to sign veteran Nick Bonino. The terms of the expected agreement were not disclosed.
It’s a return to California for the Connecticut-born Bonino, who played the first several seasons of his career with the Anaheim Ducks. One of the best defensive centers in the league, Bonino scored 26 points in 55 games in his one season with the Minnesota Wild. While that’s not going to be the top of any leaderboards, the 33-year-old can still be a valuable two-way piece for the middle of the lineup. Not only does he come with a long consistent résumé, but he also won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of those wins came over the Sharks, meaning the fans in San Jose will be very familiar with what Bonino can bring in the playoffs.
Make no mistake, that’s what the Sharks are trying to accomplish this season as they continue to pay a veteran core. They’ve switched out the struggling Martin Jones for a younger Adin Hill, but simply will live or die by the performance of their defense. Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic take up more than $26M in cap space.
Still, adding Bonino certainly helps the team’s forward depth, which has been one of its weakest points over the last few seasons. Players like Rudolfs Balcers and Alexander Barkov have even sometimes jumped ahead of some of the more highly paid players that have been inconsistent. Bonino brings nothing but consistency to the ice, and hopefully will allow the team to build some stable lines moving forward.