There weren’t many surprises when the Chicago Blackhawks traded Dave Bolland at last weekend’s draft. Despite the fact that he scored the latest regulation goal to clinch a Stanley Cup in league history, it wasn’t going to be enough to save him from a lackluster regular season. Not with the money he’s making.
It was a bit surprising to see the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire him, but after what they’ve done in the past week, it’s hard to say that anything the Maple Leafs do is expected. The next question following their acquisition of Bolland is the type of role he’ll see in the move to Toronto.
Despite some pretty strong offensive seasons in his junior days, Bolland never really saw an offensive role with the Blackhawks. That wasn’t due to a lack of an opportunity. He had the chance to succeed up in the second line, with some top tier talent. But where he found his niche was on the third line, killing penalties and providing defensive play against some of the league’s top forwards. It never really worked out for Bolland in an offensive role, for a variety of reasons.
However, general manager Dave Nonis wasted no time in stating the Bolland would see a chance to succeed more in the offensive end with the Maple Leafs than he was with the Blackhawks. Which means he could be starting the season, or at least the preseason, on the second line.
As of right now, the depth chart likely includes Bolland on the third line, with Nazem Kadri as the no. 2 guy in the middle, behind Tyler Bozak. But this increased role that Nonis is talking about, could see Kadri pushed over to the wing, while Bolland slots in as the no. 2 center.
This, of course, would probably not be the right move by the Leafs, at least based off of what we saw in Chicago. Not that Kadri is any sort of upgrade over Bolland in the faceoff circle. But his offensive upside is obviously much higher than Bolland, as we saw last year. This is all assuming that he goes into the middle full time in 2013-14.
Obviously, a lot of what happens will be determined in the preseason or early on in the regular season. Nonis had said that the Leafs will seek to use Bolland more on offense than the Blackhawks had. It’ll be interesting to see what that looks like, and if it actually works out for Toronto.