Since he came up with the Ducks at the end of the 2009-10 season, Nick Bonino has been looking to jump on the handful of opportunities that come his way.
A golden one opened just a few months ago and he seized it. Bonino was allowed to shed his No. 63 jersey and ask for 13 – his favorite number and the one he wore as an NCAA champion at Boston University.
"I also had it at Syracuse," Bonino said. "They called me this summer and said, 'What do you want?' I didn't hesitate."
If his spot in the first two days of training camp are an indication, Bonino's biggest opportunity in his still-brief NHL career will come Saturday night when the Ducks open their lockout-shortened season in Vancouver.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has put Bonino on the second line with Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne and it is likely that he'll line up there when the puck drops against the Canucks.
For someone who is finally at the point of making a real impact, the former Boston U. star eagerly awaits his great chance.
"It's definitely what you aim for," Bonino said. "It's not set in stone where I'll be the whole year. Up until now and last year, I did everything I could to solidify myself as a member of this team full time.
"That continues every day. Except for maybe a few exceptions, no one's guaranteed a spot on the team forever. Every day, I'm coming to the rink, trying to prove myself."
It also represents a significant risk for the Ducks, who didn't hit the free-agent market to fill the hole in the middle as they look to move veteran Saku Koivu to a shutdown third-line role.
Bonino has played in all of 85 NHL games. Fifty of them came last season, where the 24-year-old finally secured a regular role and put up modest totals of five goals and 13 assists.
New number, new role for Ducks Bonino
Orange County Register | Jan 15