A contract extension between center Dave Bolland and the Toronto Maple Leafs is “just not coming together,” according to Bolland’s agent, Anton Thun.
Thun provided that update to Sportsnet, adding, “We can’t force the Leafs to accept our terms.”
Bolland, 28, is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s reportedly pursuing a contract worth $5 million per season. The Leafs would like to keep him, but it’s not clear how much they’re willing to pay for the privilege. Similarly, he’d like to stay, but knows he has options.
If it’s not Toronto, Bolland may be a fit with Florida, a team with money to spend, youth to complement with veterans, and a general manager, Dale Tallon, who knows Bolland well from their time together in Chicago.
Related: Bolland wants to be a Leaf for life
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…
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.
“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.
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.
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.