Done deal: Dave Bolland for a 2nd (2013) and two fourth round draft picks (2013, 2014).
Leafs have their two scoring centers now with Kadri and Grabovski, and their two checking guys with Bolland+McClement. Feisty C group now.
— Anthony Petrielli (@APetrielli) June 30, 2013
Bolland has been a 40-or-so point center for the Blackhawks for the last five seasons, and rose to prominence as a third line beast with his playoff heroics in 2010 (note: that Cup win ended a rather extended drought for his franchise). Fresh off scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal a week ago, he served the role of a “tweener” center for the Hawks last season and brings two Cup rings worth of character and experience despite only recently turning 27. He will earn $3.37 million on the cap for one more season before he’s eligible to hit UFA in 2014.
Bolland is known for his hard-nosed character, defensive instincts and two-way ability. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville used him in all situations, be it penalty kill or (more rarely) even the occasional powerplay. We can expect Bolland to take over the shutdown center role for Randy Carlyle, who through necessity or otherwise misused Mikhail Grabovski in that role all of last season. We can expect Grabovski, assuming he’s still here, will be freed up to play more of a scoring role with Bolland in the lineup.
The center has good speed and shot, relishes in driving to the net and finishes his checks. Bolland plays the game with no fear, relishing in giving out contact as well as receiving it. He loves to throw a hit or two just to get fired up and in the game, and for that Leafs fans will love him. He does have injury concerns and tops out at around 40 points depending on his role.
One upside of this deal is that Bolland immediately replaces Komarov’s pest factor and inserts a better overall hockey player in the lineup. A true third line center should help out on the defensive end of things, allowing Carlyle to fill the shutdown more appropriately while providing some jam and secondary scoring in the process. We’ll have to see if this leads to a center moving out or not before making any concrete conclusions about Nonis’ direction.