Dave Bolland

UFA of the Day: Dave Bolland


Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Dave Bolland

The Toronto Maple Leafs had high hopes for Bolland when they acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 2013.

Bolland came to the city as a two-time Stanley Cup winner that was commonly seen as a great third-line center thanks to his reputation for frustrating some of the best skilled forwards in the game, but Leafs GM Dave Nonis wanted to see him play a “more prominent role.”

That experiment never really got off the ground though because Bolland missed the bulk of the season with an ankle injury. By itself, that’s an unfortunate setback, but it’s also part of a troubling trend. Bolland has now missed more than a third of his regular season games over the last five years as he’s battled a variety of injuries.

Despite that, the 28-year-old is reportedly demanding an annual cap hit of around $5 million. He might end up getting that too as there aren’t many two-way centers still in their prime that are set to enter the free agent market.

New Leafs president Brendan Shanahan did call him “the type of player we need” and Bolland would like to spend the rest of his career in Toronto, so there’s definitely some mutual interest there. That asking price might result in him finding employment elsewhere though.

Bolland wants to be a Leaf for life

Dave Bolland

“I want to be a Leaf until my career is done.”

That was Dave Bolland this morning on Sportsnet 590 the Fan in Toronto. A pending unrestricted free agent, the 27-year-old forward is coming off a frustrating season in which injuries limited him to just 23 games.

Bolland knows he has “options” and the freedom to “shop around,” but at the same time, “for myself I want to get something done here (with the Leafs).”

The Leafs would similarly like to get something done; however, it’s not clear what price they’re willing to pay. Bolland is one of the few experienced NHL centers under the age of 30 that can test unrestricted free agency this summer. After Colorado’s Paul Stastny, he’s arguably the most coveted in that category.

Bottom line: if Bolland really does want to stay in Toronto for the rest of his career, he may have to take a hometown discount.

Shanahan: Bolland is ‘the type of player we need’

Dave Bolland

Although a recent report suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs were interested in trading the negotiating rights to pending unrestricted free agent Dave Bolland, it looks like new team president Brendan Shanahan has other plans.

“I’d like to get him signed,” Shanahan said, per the Toronto Sun. “He’s the type of player I like, the type of player we need.

“This is a guy we want to have back. Dave (Leafs GM Nonis) knows I want him back. But any time you are a UFA, there are other factors involved.”

The big factor, unsurprisingly, is money. Exactly how much is Bolland worth? He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner that’s capable of stepping up in the playoffs. He’s also solid on the third line and can occasionally serve as a top-six forward thanks to his responsible defensive play and decent work offensively. At the same time, an ankle injury limited him to 23 games in 2013-14.

In February, it was reported that Bolland was seeking $5 million annually, up from his previous cap hit of roughly $3.4 million, and as of early April, the two sides were still significantly apart.

Bolland’s agent, Anton Thun, was noncommittal when responding to Shanahan’s comment.

“I’m pleased that Shanny would say something like that,” Thun said. “David has said all along that Toronto definitely is a consideration.

“At the same time, there are other considerations involved here — things such as market value along with other factors.”

So now we’ll wait and see just how much this “need” is worth to the Maple Leafs.

Leafs face Lightning without Bolland, Ranger

Dave Bolland; Alex Galchenyuk
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are fighting off elimination as they face the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they’ll do so without a key forward.

Dave Bolland (ankle) is unable to play tonight. The team announced that Paul Ranger is also missing the game while Carter Ashton, Jerry D’Amigo and Colton Orr return to the lineup.

Some wonder if we’ll see Bolland, 27, play again this season.

In case you’re wondering, the Leafs could be eliminated two ways tonight:

  • By losing in regulation while the Columbus Blue Jackets gain a point.
  • If they lose in OT or a shootout, the Blue Jackets win and the Detroit Red Wings gain a point.

The Maple Leafs will need to dig deep, and even then, they’ll need plenty of help to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Leafs, Bolland remain ‘significantly apart’ on new deal

Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs

According to Dave Bolland’s agent, zero has changed on the contract front with Toronto.

“Nothing is happening right now,” Anton Thun explained, per the Toronto Sun. “We exchanged proposals prior to the Olympics and we were significantly apart.”

Bolland, 27, is in the final of a five-year, $16.8 million deal (with a $3.375 million annual hit) originally signed with Chicago. A pending UFA, his contractual status is one of the most complex heading into the summer given all that’s transpired over the last year — Bolland scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the ‘Hawks in June, was dealt to Toronto a short while later, started extremely well for the Leafs (10 points in his first 12 games), then suffered a lacerated Achilles that sidelined him for a whopping 56 games.

So yeah, lots of plot twists.

All of this leaves both Toronto and Bolland in a bit of a muddle. Reports claim Thun’s tabled a proposal that would pay Bolland $5 million annually (or $40 million over seven or eight years), figures the Leafs were reportedly struggling with.

Thun said he hasn’t spoken with the Leafs since early February. That’s key, because the landscape in Toronto has shifted significantly since then — at the time, Bolland’s pending return was pegged by many as a potentially huge boost to a playoff-bound team; instead, he’s been limited in his return (two points in six games, only playing more than 12 minutes once) and Toronto has gone in the tank, now needing help just to make the postseason.