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On Thanksgiving Day, the Anaheim Ducks and general manager Bob Murray gave Ducks fans something to be thankful for in the form of a 3-year $1.9 million per year contract for Ducks center Nick Bonino. Bonino has without question earned himself such a contract with his play the last couple of years. Bonino has certainly grown in his time with the Ducks and he has become one of the more underrated forwards in the league.

Nick Bonino

Bonino (or Bones as the team and fans like to call him) has become a jack of all trades for the team as a defensive minded forward, a powerplay specialist, a shot-blocking wizard, and a genuine offensive threat. There doesn’t seem to be much that Bonino can’t do for this team and he has certainly gained head coach Bruce Boudreau’s trust.

His play has even garnered him comparisons to 3rd line specialist and key player in Anaheim’s 2007 cup run: Samuel Pahlsson. Last season when Bonino went down with an injury the team was notably worse. He’s certainly one of those cogs in the machine that is essential to the success of the team, and having him locked up for 3 more years is excellent news for the future of this team.

When Saku Koivu retires, Bonino will certainly be a key part of Anaheim’s shutdown line. Even more exciting is that Bonino seems to be better than Pahlsson offensively. With 17 points in 28 games, he is the fourth highest scoring forward on a team with the 5th most goals per game. 17 points in 28 games also means Bonino is on pace for 49 points which would be a career high for him. That kind of production is excellent for a player who isn’t even on the second line regularly and most certainly makes him a bargain type player at $1.9 million a year.

Along with his high production (even more impressive when you consider he only averages about 16 minutes a night) Bonino has contributed with 27 blocked shots (a 79 bks pace) and 12 takeaways (a 35 takeaway pace) showing he is very useful in his own end. Bonino is the kind of guy you find on championship teams and Anaheim’s future is brighter with him locked up.

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