In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Timo Meier is putting his name up with some of the team’s all-time legends, thanks to a very hot start to the 2021-22 season. The same cannot be said for his teammate in Nick Bonino, who spoke recently about his frustrations with his start. Last but certainly not least, Sharks general manager (GM) Doug Wilson received a huge honor on Monday night, as he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Meier in Elite Company
The Sharks have gotten off to a decent start in 2021-22, and Meier has been a huge reason why. After two straight questionable seasons, the 25-year-old is playing to the level many thought he was capable of with six goals and 15 points through 11 games. His great play in the early going has him third all-time for most points by a Shark through the opening 10 games of a season with 14, trailing only Owen Nolan (17 in 1999-00) and Joe Thornton (16 in 2005-06, 15 in 2009-10 and 2010-11). (from ‘Curtis Pashelka: Timo Meier joins San Jose Sharks greats with fast start,’ The Mercury News 11/17/21).
Meier, who was taken ninth overall in the 2015 draft, recorded a career-high 30 goals and 66 points during the 2018-19 season, which was just his third in the NHL. Hopefully, this isn’t just a hot stretch of play and is instead him getting his career back on the right track.
Bonino Struggling Early On
This offseason, the Sharks signed Bonino to a two-year, $4.1 million deal to help them with secondary scoring. It seemed like a reasonable bet given that over his 696 game career, he has been quite reliable every season for scoring 15 or more goals and between 35-40 points. Unfortunately, the offensive side of his game hasn’t been on display at all with his new team, as he has yet to record a single point through 16 games.
“You think about it all day,” Bonino said on Monday in regards to his scoring drought. “You put a lot of pressure on yourself as a professional athlete. There’s really no answer for it. I wish I could point to something that’s going wrong. The puck is just not going in.”
While it has been a disappointing start, head coach Bob Boughner has been impressed with some of the other tangibles Bonino has provided, which is why he states the team signed him to begin with. (from ‘Kevin Kurz: Sharks’ Nick Bonino can’t find answers for pointless stretch: ‘You put a lot of pressure on yourself”, The Athletic, 11/15/21).
“We didn’t go out and sign Nick Bonino this summer because he’s a 50-60 point guy. We signed him for the things he brings – the intangibles, faceoffs, his penalty kill, his leadership,” Boughner explained. “He’s doing a great job in front of the net on the power play, taking away the goalie’s eyes. I just reinforced that with him. He’s been around (a long time), and he’s won championships. He understands the way he needs to play. He’s frustrated, but (the message was) don’t let that frustration take over and leak into your game.”
It’s great for Bonino to have a coach in Boughner who stays positive with him despite his struggles. Hopefully, that helps the 33-year-olds confidence and helps him get his offensive touch back in the near future, as his team could sure use it.
Wilson Inducted into Hall of Fame
While Wilson is known by Sharks fans as their team’s GM, he also had an exceptional and lengthy playing career that sometimes gets forgotten about. He was finally recognized for it earlier this week, as he, along with Ken Holland, Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, and Kim St-Pierre, were all inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. They were actually the 2020 class but were forced to be inducted a year later due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took Wilson quite some time to get in, as his last season in the NHL came in 1992-93. It was very well deserved, as the now 64-year-old played in 1024 career regular-season games, scoring 237 goals and 827 points, which are outstanding numbers for a defenceman. His career year came during the 1981-82 season, where he put up a career-high 39 goals and 85 points and was rewarded with the Norris Trophy.
Up Next for the Sharks
With the Sharks’ loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, they now sit at a record of 8-7-1, which has them in sixth place in the Pacific Division. They will look to improve on that when they take on the Washington Capitals in their final game of the week on Saturday night.