Now a member of the Predators, signing with the Stanley Cup runner-up for four years at $16.4 million, Bonino is now walking without the use of crutches, per NHL.com, adding he’ll be re-evaluated in the coming weeks.
“We elected not to do surgery,” Bonino told reporters.
“We kind of wanted to get to July 1 and see where I’d end up. I think it’s good to get out here right away. It’s coming along. We’ll see in a couple weeks; I think we’ve got to revisit it and see how it’s healing, but for now it’s doing all right.”
He may now be counted on to play as Nashville’s No. 2 center behind Ryan Johansen, taking on a larger role than what he held with the Penguins. The Predators have been on the rise for the past two seasons, getting within one win of the Western Conference Final in 2016, and advancing to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final last month.
The 29-year-old Bonino had 18 goals and 37 points during the 2016-17 regular season, and four goals and seven points in 21 postseason games before his injury.
“I’m not coming here thinking I’ll be the guy to bring (a Stanley Cup),” said Bonino, per The Tennessean. “I’m just coming here to help a team that was really good the last few years maybe get a little better, and do anything I can to help.”