There were few teams that were as busy, in one way or another, than the Toronto Maple Leafs over the summer. Whether it was making trades, signing big name free agents, or retaining one of their multiple young restricted free agents, the Leafs had a long list of items to worry about over the offseason.
One of the more intriguing moves that they did make was acquiring Dave Bolland from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Despite scoring the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Bolland was looked at as a goner regardless and the Leafs jumped at the opportunity to acquire the hometown guy.
The reason there was intrigue surrounding him was due to the role he’d be filling in for the Maple Leafs. Primarily used as a defensive forward, there are many who thought that Bolland was underutilized as an offensive player, despite getting the opportunity to succeed multiple times as a no. 2 center.
Early in his Maple Leafs career, though, Bolland is earning rave reviews, and his early success with his new club is being reflected on the stat sheet. Through three games, all three of which have been wins for the Maple Leafs, Bolland has three points, including a two-goal game in the second tilt of the year for Toronto.
The thing about Bolland’s success, is that it’s not an individual effort in any way. His play is bouncing off of Mason Raymond, and vice versa. Raymond, who signed with the Leafs after a training camp tryout, has four points already as well, logging minutes to the right of Bolland.
It’s unlikely that Dave Bolland is going to continue this type of pace. He simply is not a point-per-game type of player, even if his offensive potential hasn’t been realized at this point. But there’s no doubt that having the increased opportunity on offense could lead to a career year for the forward.
Add an increased offensive role in with the chemistry he’s clearly developed with Raymond, and you have a pair that helps to make this Maple Leafs team even deeper than they already appeared to be. It’s still very early, and Bolland is still something of a wild card, but the positive signs are there thus far.