Nashville Predators Grades: Nick Bonino Pushes for Team MVP

Color me shocked over the season we saw from Nick Bonino as he was one of the most consistent players on the Nashville Predators.

In a season full of peaks and valleys for the Nashville Predators, it was one of resurgence for Nick Bonino as he helped keep the team afloat.

We can point to a lot of troubling areas that the Predators showed as they clung onto a playoff spot, and fell short of the expectation many of us had for them as a team.

Bonino went the other direction. He outperformed my personal expectations for him, and now he’s made a strong case as being the team MVP, behind the obvious choice of Roman Josi.

Consistency and stability

The biggest value that Bonino brought to the team was stability on the third line. While the rest of the lineup was constantly being shuffled, there was consistency from Bonino’s line.

Along with Rocco Grimaldi and Craig Smith, Bonino’ on many occasions carried the team when players at the top of the lineup were no-shows.

Take for instance the October 29th win over the Blackhawks when Bonino recorded the hat trick and scored all three goals that the Predators put on the scoreboard. Grimaldi assisted on all three goals, and Smith assisted on two of them.

In a 6-4 win over New Jersey in December, it was Bonino’s line that did a lot of the heavy lifting in a game that wasn’t a pretty win by any stretch of the imagination.

There are numerous other examples of when Bonino’s line carried the load and allowed the Predators sneak out with a win.

Bonino did tail off a little bit over the last few games of the season before it came to a halt. He recorded just one point over the last nine games, and his shooting percentage slumped way down as he managed just eight shots on goal over that span.

But in the grand scheme of things, this has been a rebirth of a season for Bonino. One that has been extremely beneficial to both himself and the team.

Bonino delivered

There were some rumblings that Bonino would be dealt at the trade deadline thanks to his play being so strong, but instead the Predators held onto their top performers. He has one more year left on his current deal.

If the season doesn’t end up being completed, which it looks bleak, then Bonino will be robbed of the really strong probability of eclipsing 20 goals for only the second time of his career.

He probably wasn’t going to catch Filip Forsberg for the team lead, but his goal output wasn’t expected by most people and a huge surprise that the Predators ended up needing badly.

NICK BONINO

C, Nashville Predators

A

I’ve got Bonino with a really high grade as he was one of the few players on the team that strongly outperformed preseason expectations and was a lifesaver in many respects to the Predators remaining in the playoff picture.

Bonino is also one of those players that exhibits strong leadership on and off the ice. He’s not going to be the big time superstar, but he knows his role and is usually pretty reliable in that regard as well.

Related Story: Predators Season Grades: Craig Smith Fuels the Engine

The bottom line is Bonino delivered more than was expected when others were no-shows and delivered far less than what they’re capable of. That’s why he gets an almost perfect grade.

 

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