After spending a couple of years searching (albeit not too hard) for a second line center, the Chicago Blackhawks thought they found their answer to their second line woes when they promoted Dave Bolland up from the third line.
Having primarily suited up as a third line center, in a defensive role, for the Blackhawks, there were questions of whether or not Bolland could transform into an offensive threat, despite an impressive offensive career when he was in juniors, many years ago.
As it would turn out, those questions have been absolutely valid in regard to Bolland so far this season. Despite a solid start to the season, he’s been a ghost for the Hawks playing on that second line. If it wasn’t for the Hart Trophy caliber play of Patrick Kane, we’d be talking a whole lot more about his struggles.
In 29 games this season, Bolland has 14 points, evenly split between seven goals and seven assists. Considering he’s playing next to one of the highest scoring players in the game, that seems like an extremely low total. His goal scoring, or lack of, has been one of the more frustrating aspects of his game, with only four goals since January 26th. He had only two in the month of March.
Worse than his goal-scoring, though, is his inability to find any sort of success at the faceoff circle. He’s winning draws at a 46 percent clip. That number actually seems generous. There are only two players on the negative side of plus/minus for the Blackhawks. One is Sheldon Brookbank. The other is Bolland.
The struggles of Bolland could lead to more than just needing to find a second line center to replace him. It could very well lead to his departure from the Blackhawks. It’s getting to the point where his salary is no longer worth what he brings to the ice. It’s going to be an interesting summer in regard to his status.