The NHL Season is quickly approaching, with that in mind we’re going to take a look at who is (likely) to be on the Leafs roster come October 1 in Montreal. Contract numbers via CapGeek.com; Regular Stats via Hockey-reference.com; Nerd stats via behindthenet.ca. For the rest of our Player Previews go here.
Dave Bolland, No. 63, centre | 6’0″, 181 LBS | 27-years old.
ToT Approved Nicknames:
His shutdown play in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs earned him the moniker of “The Rat”. Which I like a lot.
6 NHL seasons, all with Chicago, 332 career games
$3.375-million/season; UFA following this season
332 GP 70 Goals 98 Assists 168 Points
35 GP 7 Goals 7 Assists 14 Points
On-ice Corsi -11.67; PDO: 968
You Oughta Know:
During the lockout Dave Bolland complied with a fan on Twitter who asked “Can I get a RT for wanting Gary Bettman Dead”. While publicly agreeing with the fact you would like to see the commissioner of the NHL dead is pretty bad, nothing is worse than retweeting someone because they ask for a retweet. NOTHING.
Dave Bolland was an integral part of the Blackhawks two Stanley Cup runs in recent years, although he was much more effective leading up to their first Cup in 2010. Since that 2010 season Bolland has failed to be a positive possession player (as per Corsi), despite playing on one of the best possession teams in all of hockey.
Known for his pestering style, Bolland is ideally utilized as a 3rd line centre (aside from his inflated cap hit), but as a member of the Blackhawks he often played on one of their top two (highly skilled) lines. His most common linemates last season were Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, whom if you’ve been sleeping under a rock are pretty great. The fact that Bolland struggled offensively while playing between two offensive studs should be of concern for the Maple Leafs who already have one over paid centre that can’t produce between two highly skilled players.
What to Expect:
If the Nazem Kadri contract situation escalates to the point where Kadri is missing regular season games, Bolland could be thrust into a top-6 forward position that is ill-suited to his skill set. Having one of Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland as one of your top 2 centres may be palatable (but not really), having both could be a disaster for the Leafs top wingers.
If Kadri does resign in a timely manner, Bolland will be slotted into the his ideal position as the Leafs third line centre. Along with Nikolai Kulemin and Trevor Smith (who are clearly not close to Kaner and Sharp), Bolland will be tasked with shutting down the oppositions top offensive players, and will hopefully pitch in offensively when the opportunity arises.
Leafs fans can expect Bolland to live up to his “Rat” moniker while hopefully rediscovering his offensive touch while playing with lesser linemates, potting somewhere around 15 goals and 30 points, but after the way he struggled offensively last season, that might be asking a bit much of the Etobicoke native.