It seems likely that the Vancouver Canucks will have to soldier on without the services of key second-line centreman Nick Bonino.
Bonino sustained an apparent left foot injury while blocking a Ryan Suter one-timer in the second period of Monday night’s 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Read past the jump for more.
Here’s footage from Bonino’s final shift from Monday night’s game. You can see he makes a stellar kick save on a hard Ryan Suter shot:
Bonino is instantly in pain, and yeah, of course he is. The Canucks forward took an extraordinarily hard one-time shot off of the inside of his left foot from point blank range.
Canucks fans will be left to hope that the injury isn’t a fracture. It’s not a good sign that Bonino was spotted leaving the Xcel Energy Center on Monday night in a protective boot:
Nick Bonino leaving in a walking boot #canucks
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 10, 2015
This is an injury that the Canucks really can’t afford. In his first season with the club, Bonino is third among all Vancouver forwards in ice-time (behind only the Sedin twins). While logging second-line minutes at even-strength, Bonino has been a crucial penalty-killer for the team and has been a mainstay on the second power-play unit.
In 52 games Bonino has managed 11 goals and 25 points for the Canucks, almost all of it at even-strength. He’s been Vancouver’s most efficient even-strength point producer and it isn’t even all that close.
Bonino isn’t a great two-way player, but he’s a decent finisher and an effective depth piece. If he’s joining Brad Richardson in the infirmary, the Canucks will be down to only fringe NHL players in Linden Vey and Bo Horvat behind Henrik Sedin at centre. Perhaps they move Shawn Matthias back to his natural position in the middle of ice, or recall a player like Dustin Jeffrey from the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.
Clearly it’s a pretty significant drop off from Bonino to the next most effective pivot on this roster.