For a minute or two, Nick Bonino experienced deja vu again.
“When I listen to what he says on the ice and how he says it, I remember him saying pretty much the same thing when we were together in Nashville,” Head said. Nick Bonino told the Post when asked about coach Peter Laviolette. After Saturday’s training camp session. “It’s nice to come to a new team and get familiar with it.”
The feeling is mutual. Bonino, who played for Laviolette with the Predators in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who played for him in Washington last season, are the only two players under the head coach. He is an experienced player.
“I think there’s an advantage because I’ve worked with Nick before and I’ve worked with Gustafsson before,” Laviolette said. “They’ve been in the system with me before, so they know that. I think it helps get the message across in the room.”
The 35-year-old fourth-line center signed a one-year free agent contract with the Blueshirts for $800,000.
He signed a two-year deal worth $2.05 million per year AAV, followed by a four-year deal worth $4.1 million per year.
When the Blueshirts expressed interest on July 1, he did not respond.
“For me, with a family and three kids, my goal was to sign with a team that needed me as soon as possible so I could get them into school and have a place,” Bonino said. Told. “Logically, there is more going on for me than there was 10 years ago.
“I’m glad the deal with the Rangers worked out so quickly. A lot of depth and senior guys are squeezed under this cap, especially if you’re an older depth guy. . So I’m happy to have the opportunity here.
“I feel like I still have a lot of good hockey in me,” said the new No. 12. “I’m glad I was able to forget about the contract and get ready.”
Bonino will anchor a fourth unit with Tyler Pitlick on the right and either Jimmy Vesey or Barclay Goodrow on the left. The Boston College product, who shared a college locker room with former Blueshirts Christopher Higgins, Matt Gilroy and Kevin Shattenkirk, will take penalties and be relied upon in the faceoff circle. .
“I think Nick brings a lot to the table for a variety of reasons,” Laviolette said. “I think some players are really smart, intelligent hockey players who really think about the game. I think I’d put him in that category as someone who’s always thinking.
“That’s why he plays in those big moments where we win championships and in the playoffs. That’s been his MO. He’s the coach and the person that I and other coaches rely on to do that job. . He’s a good penalty killer and a good faceoff man. He knows the system.”
What’s more, Bonino, who won back-to-back Cup titles with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017 (they beat Laviolette’s Predators in the finals the following year), said he was able to convey Laviolette’s words, and perhaps even his temperament, to his teammates. can.
“I spoke well. [Laviolette] said Bonino, who returned to Pittsburgh from San Jose in a loan trade last year but was injured in the three games before his return. “It was more of an on-ice thing, being relied on defensively and probably on some matchups, faceoffs and penalty kills.
“I think he knows I’m always upbeat, even off the ice. I always try to stay upbeat and keep the players happy and focused. I always smile. So I think he knows me from Nash and expects me to continue that.”