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Preview/Lines #77: Bonino Enjoying Move to Wing

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

Nick Bonino came to San Jose last summer with the plan of playing as a full-time center, however, in his last couple of games, the Sharks have seen him put in time at wing.

Give Pavelski Another Assist, Bonino Wanted to Play Center Again

Despite the expectation of playing at center, Bonino says he doesn’t mind spending time on the wing. Especially because of who he is spending time on a line with, Bonino has seen the benefits of the switch.

He said recently: “Obviously playing with Cooch [Logan Couture] is a lot of fun. You know, over the last two games we’ve had five or six grade-A chances.”

With the addition of Thomas Bordeleau and Jasper Weatherby to the current Sharks roster, the team has an opportunity to try some different line combinations with some more center depth. The ability to utilize the team’s youth is something Bonino recognizes as a reason why he has been asked to step into this alternate role for the time being:

“I think part of the reason was just to maybe get a little bounce throughout the lineup,” Bonino said. “Barbie’s out so we’re missing some key guys. Just to get some looks at a different lineup. For me nothing really changes, especially playing with Cooch.”

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner confirmed the reason for the move: “For [Bonino], it was trying to get some balance in our lines and to give Cooch guys to play with so that line could be a threat to score as well.”

Bonino is actually tied for fourth with Jonathan Dahlen on the San Jose Sharks with 12 goals.

Boughner went on to say that Bonino playing on Couture’s wing has been a bit of an experiment, but he’s liked what he has seen thus far, noting that it seems Bonino has had more energy during his time on the wing.

It certainly seems as though the change has worked, as the line of Bonino, Couture, and Matt Nieto has found ways to be productive. This is a nice example of vet hustle and finesse: Couture (39) turns it over, but he back checks hard, Brent Burns (88) forces the turnover, then Bonino (13) makes a on-the-money backhand pass to Nieto (83).

This season might be lost for the San Jose Sharks, but they hope to see more of this from these veterans, all under contract for next year.

SAN JOSE SHARKS (30-34-12)

ST. LOUIS BLUES (46-20-11)

Jordan Binnington will start.

WHERE TO WATCH

Puck drop between the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks is at 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET at the SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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