The Toronto Maple Leafs still have some business to take care of this summer, with a list of restricted free agents that includes the likes of Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson. But once those deals are taken care of, the front office could shift its focus to the future, as they have multiple key players set to hit the market next summer.
The Leafs acquired Dave Bolland from the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this summer, surrendering draft picks in order to acquire the center. We don’t know if the Leafs plan to utilize him as a second line center, or the role that he’s become known for, as a 3C, but he’s coming in on the last year of his contract.
Bolland is coming to Toronto with something to prove. He has never been the offensive player that many in Chicago had hoped he’d be, despite the opportunity to succeed between all-world wingers. The Leafs will give him an opportunity to succeed in a larger role, according to Dave Nonis.
Over the course of his career, Bolland has become labeled as a premier defensive forward, but also as a guy that has had some trouble staying healthy. His games played, going back to the 2009-10 season feature totals of 39, 61, 76, and 35, respectively. When he’s in the lineup, though, he can be an asset.
Despite his inability to win a faceoff on a consistent basis, Bolland is an in-your-face defender from the forward lines. He can help to generate turnovers and can kill penalties. Heading into his first year with Toronto, he’ll have to make a quick adjustment, as he’s playing for a long-term deal.
He’s in the last year of a five-year deal that carries a $3.375 million cap hit and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’ll not only have to stay healthy, but prove capable of providing more offense than he has for much of his career in order to ensure himself a spot in the future with this Maple Leafs club.