Thursday, June 27, 2013
Will Cup hero Bolland be on the move?
By Jesse Rogers
Will Dave Bolland's Cup-winning goal in Game 6 end up being his last as a Blackhawk?
CHICAGO -- Could the player who scored the winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals be headed out of town? Sources tell ESPN.com's Pierre Lebrun the Hawks are shopping veteran center Dave Bolland.
"We've had some plans in place for a long time; we are going to have some changes," Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said on Thursday.
One of those changes could see Bolland and his $3.375 million contract on the move. Bolland scored a rebound goal with 59 seconds remaining of Monday's Game 6, giving the Hawks a 3-2 advantage and an eventual second championship in four years.
"(I) would love to be back here next year but whatever happens, happens," Bolland said in response to the rumors. "This is the NHL and trades happen, but I would love to be back here. I love Chicago."
In reality, anyone who follows the Hawks can't be surprised that Bolland is on the trade market. Although part of the core that has won two championships, his role was diminished as this season wore on. He averaged 13:30 of ice time per game in the playoffs this year compared to 18:39 in 2010, the last time the Hawks won it all. He was also dropped to the third and fourth lines after starting the year as the second line center.
"The third line has sort of been my key," Bolland said of his past success. "Getting to that second spot was a bit of a jump for me. It was a hurdle. I went through this year, it was a roller coaster for sure. Things went up, things went down."
Bolland had seven goals and seven assists in 35 games this year but he helped win Games 1 and 6 of the finals with key scores. Still, his role might be redundant now with the emergence of Andrew Shaw. Many have compared Shaw's skillset to Bolland. Additionally, the emergence of Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger as defensive stalwarts clutter the landscape for Bolland. And the Hawks have some young prospects at center who might be ready to make a jump to the NHL if he's moved.
"The core of the group came from drafting and developing," Bowman said. "We'd like to continue that process and give some new players some opportunities."
Those players come cheaper than Bolland as does Shaw. The latter is still on his entry level deal which will pay him $577,500 with bonuses next year. Bolland will be entering the final year of a five-year deal he signed before the last Cup win.
The savings on Bolland could be used to re-sign forward Bryan Bickell, whose value increased during the playoffs. The compliance buyouts of Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz will also help toward that cause. Unlike Bolland's role, there isn't a polished power forward waiting in the wings. In short, Bolland is expendable. A player like Bickell is not.
Either way, expect some movement within the roster in short order.
"There's a lot of work to be done here in a short amount of time with the schedule so tight," Bowman said. "We don't have it all sorted out yet but we have an idea of what we want to do. It just takes some time."