It hasn’t been as rampant as those nonsensical Patrick Kane trade rumors, but the prospect of the Chicago Blackhawks cutting Dave Bolland loose is something that has been examined and discussed as a possibility by fans and writers, as well as those hilarious Bolland-for-Roberto Luongo reports.
With a few holes to fill elsewhere, some feel that trading Bolland as part of a large deal to acquire either a second line center, or a defenseman, or a goaltender would benefit the Blackhawks. Bolland on his own likely wouldn’t be enough to fill one of those needs in a trade.
The reason for the idea that Bolland might be expendable is due to the emergence of Marcus Kruger. He’s proven to be a very smart player, with still plenty of growing to go in his game. That growing is likely to be more physical than anything, and we’re likely starting to see that his game is going to be primarily defensive, like Bolland.
Yes, there are similarities between the two. But the idea that Kruger could serve as a replacement for Bolland is a misguided one, to say the least. In Bolland, you have one of the very best shutdown forwards in the game, who you could put against any team’s top unit and know he’ll succeed.
Kruger’s defense has been impressive, but can he take his game to that high of a level? As limited as Bolland may be (mostly due to some of his linemates being lackluster offensively) on offense, I have to think his offensive upside is still higher than what Kruger brings to the table.
At this point, there’s no reason to expect Dave Bolland to be anything above what he is right now. And that’s fine, considering the fact that he’s just about the best at what he does. His role makes him extremely valuable to the team, regardless of Kruger coming along the way he has.
In short, trading Bolland would make little sense, for a variety of reasons. On top of the fact that he’s so strong defensively, he’s also the second best center on the roster overall. As much as you’d like to capitalize on his value to upgrade elsewhere and as much of a compliment as it is to Kruger, it just doesn’t add up.