Veteran forward Nick Bonino has scored at least 25 points in each of his last eight NHL seasons, but through the Sharks' first 13 games of the 2021-22 season, he has been kept off the scoresheet.
Bonino's latest bagel came in the Sharks' 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on Thursday night.
After the loss that dropped the Sharks to 7-5-1 (15 points), the 33-year-old Bonino voiced frustration at his own performance this season.
"Personally, I don't know, I can't remember the last slump I've had like this," Bonino told reporters on a video conference call. "I feel like I'm doing the right things, playing the right way, helping the team but it's pretty frustrating to not produce for the guys. Just searching for that point. They usually get you on the right track. When I shoot, it doesn't go in. When I pass to someone, it doesn't go in. No bounces, nothing.
"So just keep sticking with it. We're going to get some guys back here, so not sure where I'll end up, but yeah, for me, just try to play the right way and work out of it."
Bonino was paired with Sharks captain Logan Couture and rookie Jonathan Dahlen on the top line against the Jets. He had two shots and was a minus-two in 15:38 of time on the ice. The Sharks' only goal of the night came in the first period from Andrew Cogliano, who skated on the third line with Jasper Weatherby and Nick Merkley.
So is there anything Bonino can rely on from previous seasons that can help him break out of this 13-game slump?
"Honestly, don't change much," Bonino said. "I haven't changed much since I came into the league. Like I said, even coming into tonight, which I'm pretty happy with, I'm defending well, winning faceoffs, blocking shots, keeping the puck away. Good on the [penalty kill], good on the power play. I'm doing what I can. If I had four or five points, it would be normal."
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The Sharks, who expect to get back several veteran players from COVID-19 protocol for their next game against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, scored the first goal of the night in Winnipeg, but then the Jets took over, scoring the next four games.
"We were in it the whole way," Bonino said. "Just a couple bad reads led to odd-man rushes the other way. [James Reimer] kept us in it. We had our chances. I think if we get a power play or two there, we can get them. Did a great job on the [penalty] kill. Kept it close. But yeah, it's always tough coming into this building, and over the last however many games it's been since that Winnipeg game Saturday when we got our first positive [COVID-19 test], I think we've done a heck of a job."
The Sharks gave Bonino a two-year contract with an AAV of $2.05 million in the offseason, and with his track record, it's just a matter of time before the veteran breaks out of the slump.