This post is part of Predators Day on PHT…
For two years, Nick Bonino was one of the best bargains in hockey.
On July 1, Bonino cashed in on his success, signing a four-year deal with Nashville, where his cap hit will go from $1.9 million to $4.1 million.
Also expected to increase is his role, from third-line center to second-line center.
“It’s great to be behind (Crosby and Malkin), but at the same time … you want to do more,” the 29-year-old said after signing, per the Tennessean. “That’s just the way it was in (Pittsburgh), and that’s what happens when you have two players like that on the team that are great players. I’m happy for an opportunity.”
In other words, Bonino has something to prove in Nashville. He’s well-aware that second-line center is no picnic. It comes with tough matchups and minimal shelter from above. It demands both defensive responsibility and offensive production.
“I think we really are strong down the middle for the first time in a long time,” said GM David Poile, per NHL.com. “This might be as good of a center ice as we’ve ever had.”
It might be, as long as Poile’s right about Bonino’s ability to handle a bigger role.
Otherwise, it may be Sissons or Jarnkrok on the second line, with Bonino back on the third. Because don’t forget, Mike Fisher isn’t an option anymore.