Dave Bolland Contract Extension is No Easy Call

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Dave Bolland
Dave Bolland

Some Leafs news making the rounds last night as it pertains to Dave Bolland’s contract situation: Darren Dreger floated a five million dollar asking price on TSN’s Insider Trading.

Don’t get too caught up on “rumoured asking prices,” because they’re often inexact to put it mildly (Dreger reported $6+ million on David Clarkson a day or two before free agency). More than anything, it has to be a wait and see approach with Bolland. There’s no reason why the Leafs can’t reevaluate this situation come season’s end, after they’ve seen the aftermath of the injury recovery and after they’ve seen what he can do over (hopefully) 37 regular season games plus any playoff games as opposed to 15 October games. When approaching a contract of potentially four or five years in length, it should go without saying that 15 games mean basically nothing. It certainly isn’t enough to know if Bolland slots in as a complementary piece, which the Leafs need to take a hard line with and prepare for the possibility of losing rather than adding another long-term contract to their books, or a core piece for this team in the long run. How well does he recover and how big of a role does he play for Randy Carlyle down the stretch and into the playoffs?

Dave Bolland signed his existing contract, a five-year, $3.375 million (AAV) deal, before the 2009-10 season when the cap was $56.8 million; that’s about 5.9% of the cap. The same deal under the current $64.3 million cap is $3.8 million. Under a $70.2 million cap, which is what the cap will be during the first year of his next contract, it would be $4.1 million. He’s won two Cups since signing the contract, scoring 8 goals and 16 points during the first winning run and the Stanley-Cup winning goal during the second (after a much quieter playoff run and poor season overall). Hurting his case is his inability to stay healthy, playing just 226 of a possible 356 games (just 63.4% of total games, or an average of 52 out of 82 games), and the fact that the offensive promise shown in the 2008-09 season as a 22-year-old, when he posted 19 goals and 47 points (career highs), was never achieved again let alone built upon during the contract. Nevertheless, he signed that contract as an RFA under a $56.8 million cap.

Given his UFA leverage, a rising cap and his two rings since (including 17 goals and 43 points in 67 playoff games), it seems optimistic to think Bolland can be had for less than $4 million even if the Leafs give him the term he wants. Is Tyler Bozak money the best the Leafs can hope for with this player? It’s a guessing game, and for all we know a hometown discount might factor in to some extent. As Anthony pointed out, though, the Leafs could soon find themselves with the one of the most expensive forward corps in a year’s time once Nazem Kadri is due up for a contract, and we can question whether or not it would be strong enough down the middle to justify that (the goal is winning a Cup, remember). Meanwhile, the Leafs have been getting their excellent goaltending at a bargain price (that won’t last much longer) and their defence is pretty young, incomplete, in need of improvement, and soon to be in need of some new contracts.

It’s shaping up to be the most difficult contract negotiation with an in-house player Dave Nonis has had to face as Maple Leafs GM.


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Tomorrow is the first Leafs game day in three weeks!

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks

  • Mind Bomb

    hoolihan  Sup Bro, one more sleep lol

  • Mind Bomb

    hoolihan   He has to be aware of all this though, He knows the Leafs are tight to the Cap, at the end of the Day, he has his Cup, he just made close to 17 mil over the last 5 years, and has a chance to play in his home town to finish his carreer, If he does approach this reasonable he is an Idiot, and can go make a mil more playing in Edmonton, or Buffalo, cause no contender has room for him

  • B_Leaf

    I think part of the question with Bolland has to be comparitive value and replacement options. For example, who is more valuable David Clarkson or Dave Bolland, and so on. The replacement for Bolland right now is Peter Holland…Is that a good switch for a team trying to become a cup contender?  What about if one of our high priced wingers like Clarkson were moved in a trade? Who could replace him? Production wise it wouldn’t be hard. Style wise Komarov does a lot of things better. If we are looking for a top six physical type, Josh Leivo is a financially viable option opening cap space for other positions on the team.

    By the end of the season and hopefully the playoffs we will have a better idea of each players value. At this juncture I like the Leafs top 3 centers and do not see a viable option in the system to replace any of them, even though I do like Peter Holland and see the potential. Letting Bolland walk leaves us exposed if we do not have a plan B.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Have to believe that Nonis tells Bolland’s agent that if he wants anything north of $3.75 million, then he will have to wait until the end of the season to negotiate.  It would be incredibly reckless to sign any contract while Bolland’s status is unclear.  Of course, the real aggaravtion for Leafs fans is that waiting means the Leafs may be forced to watch Bolland walk away without recouping any of the assets traded to obtain him.  But that is a result of the injury IMO, and no fault for that rests with Nonis.
    But losing Bolland for nothing would be preferable to signing  him to anywhere near $5 million right now.

  • MaxwellHowe

    B_Leaf I don’t envy Nonis here.  Tough choices to be made.  Signing Bolland to a contract over $4 million makes signing Kulimen and Franson very challenging to say the least.  And even if he manages to sign all three, good luck trying to upgrade when they’re once again right up against the cap.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Bolland is going to get around 4 million per.  Give or a take a few ducats.

    Time to start exploring the trade market to get rid of the real shitty contracts we have.  Guys who are sucking up Cap Space but arent worth a tinkers damn and you know who they all are.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Mind Bomb Hey brother.  Another day of the same arguments.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    And the fact that Subban didnt do fuck all in the tournament and managed to forever link his huge head into the middle of the team picture is pissing me off.

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook lets be subtle.  I’ll spell his name backwards.  Lupul.