The Minnesota Wild added a veteran center Wednesday when they swung a trade with Nashville which netted them, in part, Nick Bonino.
A two-time Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh, Bonino has carved out a role for himself, especially the past four seasons with the Penguins and Predators.
Bonino can put the puck in the net on occasion – the past four seasons he’s had 18, 12, 17 and 18 goals (the latter in 67 games). His career high is 22 goals and 49 points with Anaheim in 2013-14.
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He’s also strong defensively. Bonino has received votes for the Selke Award, given to the top defensive forward, in three of the last four years. This past season, he had 11 takeaways on the penalty kill, which tied him for 11th-most in the NHL. Over the past three seasons he has 28 takeaways when short-handed, which is tied for 16th in that span.
“He’s always a very reliable two-way player,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said in December 2019. “But this year, you see a lot of his goals, he’s going to the dirty areas, going to the net. Obviously, some good deflections and some good chances at rebounds. He’s a guy that doesn’t get enough credit but plays the right way every night, whether it’s a (defensive) zone draw or a net-front presence, Nick’s your guy.”
Bonino will also be a welcome addition on faceoffs; he’s won 52.8% over the last three seasons, including 52.6% on 928