Despite the fact that they were one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference last season, grabbing the no. 5 seed and nearly knocking off the Boston Bruins in the first round, the Toronto Maple Leafs spent a great deal of time this summer making upgrades all over their roster.
One of the players that they brought in to try and improve their already impressive group of forwards was Dave Bolland, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a draft pick. Since they acquired him, his role with the team has been something of a question.
The question surrounding Bolland in a Leafs sweater is whether they’ll try and make him more of an offensive presence in the lineup, or if he’ll remain in a similar role to that of his time with the Blackhawks, as a checking line center. If the Maple Leafs know what they’re doing, it’ll be the latter for the veteran forward.
Bolland was an offensive force in his days in junior, but that hasn’t translated to offensive success at this level, at any point. The Blackhawks tried to roll him out as a second line center on multiple occasions, but he was underwhelming as an offensive presence each and every time.
He has a couple of 19 goal seasons to his credit, but it’s a matter of consistency with Bolland as an offensive player. He doesn’t have any. What he does bring to the table is an ability to shut down upper tier forwards and play outstanding defense from the forward position. That’s the type of role he should remain in with the Maple Leafs.
When it comes down to it, that will likely be where he ends up. Tyler Bozak will likely hold down the top line, and Nazem Kadri is slotted in as the pivot on the second unit. Barring any injuries or struggles from either of them, Bolland will likely be headed for that defensive role, and that’s the right move for Toronto. Don’t try and make him an offensive presence.