One week after he scored the winning goal in the Stanley Cup final, Dave Bolland was punted from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Leafs general manager David Nonis sent three draft picks to the Blackhawks, 51 and 117 this year a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL entry draft, for Bolland, 27, in a move that gives him some depth at centre. Bolland is not the No. 1 centre Nonis is still looking for but he is a solid defensive player and has one year left on his contract at $3.375-million.
With centre Tyler Bozak headed to unrestricted free agency this week, adding Bolland gives Nonis more options. He could let Bozak go elsewhere and start the season with Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Grabovski, Bolland and Jay McClement as the Leafs centres. Or, if Nonis thinks he can land a No. 1 centre in another trade or as a free agent (Vincent Lecavalier is a longshot), he could give a compliance buyout to Grabovski, who is not head coach Randy Carlyle’s kind of player. Grabovski has four years left on his contract for a total of $21-million, so a buyout would cost the Leafs $14-million over eight years
Bolland was not surprised at the trade. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has to get pending free agents Brian Bickell, Ray Emery, Marcus Kruger and Nick Leddy signed, among others, and Bickell is due for a big raise. So Bolland’s name was in the trade talk leading up to the draft.
“I had heard the trade rumours,” Bolland told TSN. “So I knew something might happen.”