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Fantasy Spin: Ducks' Bonino severely undervalued

by Pete Jensen

The scorching-hot Anaheim Ducks are the talk of the NHL, but Nick Bonino is still being overlooked.

That needs to change.

The Ducks have won 18 of their past 19 games and have yet to lose in regulation in 22 home games this season (20-0-2). Their top-line combo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry is currently tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins' duo of Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz for the NHL's most productive point pair (35 common goals).

But as integral as Anaheim's front-liners have been to its historic stretch, the team's depth scoring has made it unbeatable of late, especially at home. That's where Bonino's value truly lies.

Nick Bonino is the third-leading scorer on the NHL's best team, but remains available in the majority of Yahoo leagues. (Photo: Getty Images)

Bonino has emerged as Anaheim's third-leading scorer (35 points) behind only Getzlaf (55) and Perry (53). Despite the Ducks' deep lineup and coach Bruce Boudreau's ever-changing line combinations, Bonino has separated himself from a crowded flock and warrants fantasy attention in all leagues.

Only the St. Louis Blues (13) have more skaters with 15-plus points than the Ducks (12) this season. Anaheim has as balanced a scoring offense as there is in the League, rolling out four potent lines and lighting up the scoreboard -- most recently in a 9-1 rout of the Vancouver Canucks.

Bonino scored twice in that lopsided affair, marking the second multi-goal game of his career and his eighth multi-point outing of the season. He's only owned in 37 percent of Yahoo Fantasy leagues at the moment.

We're talking about a forward with the third-most points on the best team in the NHL. In all seriousness, what more must Bonino do for fantasy owners to take notice?

Coming into the season, Bonino was an unproven commodity with 33 points in 112 career regular-season games. He scored three goals in the team's first-round loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but still went undrafted on average in Yahoo leagues entering this season.

But Bonino is the latest proof that you can score prolific assets on the waiver wire if you play your cards straight and are attentive. Bonino currently sports the same point total as the Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal, the St. Louis Blues' David Backes, the Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds and the Colorado Avalanche's Gabriel Landeskog, all of whom are established players from a fantasy standpoint.

Only 25, Bonino has been consistent all season long -- with the exception of one five-game pointless stretch from Dec. 20 to Dec. 29. Fortunately for the fantasy owners who signed up for his services, he has roared back with points in six of his past eight games and four multi-point games over that span.

Bonino's power-play production has been the biggest surprise of all. After seeing only 1:46 per game in those situations last season with three points, his minutes with the man advantage have spiked to 2:56 per game in 2013-14. His 17 power-play points this season have him tied with the Chicago Blackhawks' tandem of Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith for 14th in the NHL.

That's pretty good company for a relatively unknown fantasy commodity.

The Boston University product was overlooked in the 2007 NHL Draft when the San Jose Sharks took him with the 173rd pick, so the fact he's still off the radar is not shocking. That said, he's severely undervalued in fantasy, so make sure to accommodate him on your roster.


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