While the Canucks are certainly showing that they are a team to be reckoned with, revealed most recently in their 4-0 shutout over the Eastern powerhouse New York Islanders, this team would be that much better with Nick Bonino in the lineup. It’s as simple as this: Nick Bonino is one of the most underrated players in the league.
Apart from having a solid if not spectacular 25 points in the 52 games he played before going down with an injury, Bonino is a hockey analyst’s dream. Despite starting 36.5% of shifts in the defensive zone, his CF% (Corsi For %) is 51.2%. That is to say, when Bonino is on the ice, the Canucks control the puck more often than not.
Delving even deeper, Bonino has a CF60RelTM of 6.77, the highest on the team! For those who do not what this statistic is, it stands for Corsi for per 60 min relative to teammates. As puckalytics.com says, "One could consider TM statistics an expected value for the player if the player had no (positive or negative) influence on his teammates results when he plays with them." Additionally, Bonino’s CA60RelTM is 2.02. While that is not spectacular, it is good. His overall CF%RelTM is 2.1, good for 8th on the Canucks. That is to say, Bonino’s overall Corsi is 2.1% better than a comparative player that could replace Bonino. Bonino is one of, if not the most important Canuck in terms of Corsi.
Comparatively, Ryan Kesler, the player that Bonino was essentially traded for, has a 50.8 CF% while starting 34.1% of his shifts in the defensive zone, fewer than Bonino. Additionally, his CF%RelTM is -.03, which is miserable is comparison to Bonino. So, while Kesler has more points than Bonino and a better faceoff percentage, he has greatly benefitted from the situations that Ducks’ coach Bruce Boudreau has put him in. Based on "fancy stats", Bonino is having a far superior season than the departed Kesler.
Bonino skated recently and is set to come back into the lineup (hopefully) somewhat soon. The Canucks need him. In terms of fancy stats, Bonino is one of the most prolific Canucks; Vancouver will need him and his Corsi ratings if they are to make a big push for Lord Stanley’s Cup this year.