It’s not an ideal start for the Nashville Predators to drop their first two games. But Nick Bonino is bringing hope in the young season.
Two difficult road challenges has the Predators still without a win or any points. And that can’t help but have us all a little on edge. However, we have to realize that it will take time for this new roster to find chemistry.
Bonino is a major cog in the Nashville Predators machine. He’s a part of the Predators getting past the jitters of a new season and defending their Western Conference title. He’s been brought in to be the replacement to Mike Fisher, and that’s no easy task.
Bonino Hasn’t Looked Great
How tough was it for Bonino to return to Pittsburgh to play a team that he just won a Stanley Cup with? Nevermind that the Predators left with their tails tucked between their legs. Bonino was a beloved member of the Penguins for years and an integral part of their HBK line.
There’s nothing to write home about in Bonino’s first two games. He’s yet to notch a point and has just two shots on goal. He’s also been less than stellar in the faceoff circle, winning less than half of them, per naturalstattrick.com. Now that he’s had his first awkward meeting with his former team, he can focus on settling in with the Predators.
Bonino’s leadership qualities are what’s really exciting. He instantly fills the void that was left by ex-captain Mike Fisher. But it will take more than just two games for us to see the results on the ice. He’s a guy that will quickly make an impact in the coming weeks as the season unfolds. Check out an interview from Mark Howard of Fox Sports Tennessee discussing Bonino winning a personal third Stanley Cup with Nashville:
An early plus-minus rating of -4 will not continue. It’s a product of being on a new team and possibly not being fully recovered from a broken leg.
What To Expect Moving Forward
It’s only a matter of when Bonino shows us the kind of player he is, not if. He may not become a scoring machine, but the Predators don’t need him to be. They need him to bring leadership on the ice, block shots, win faceoffs and create scoring chances.
The home-opener for the Nashville Predators is coming against the Flyers, and Bonino deserves a huge welcome from the fans. It may be impossible to replace what Fisher meant to the franchise, but Bonino can come pretty darn close.
As far as notching Bonino’s first goal or point in a Predators uniform, I’m expecting that to come in his next game. The Nashville Predators are going to break out of this offensive slump sooner rather than later. Bonino will play a major factor against a Flyers defense that isn’t top tier.
My prediction for Bonino is he notches his first points as a Predator with two assists in the home-opener. The Predators will also get their first win of the season, and Bonino will be one of the stars of the game. He’s just too good to keep quiet any longer. The early jitters should be gone. So now we can start seeing the rewards of the biggest move of the Predators 2017 offseason.