Dave Bolland

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

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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
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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.

Leafs likely to get Bolland back Saturday, not Bernier

Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto forward Dave Bolland has been forced to sit out of 56 consecutive games due to an ankle injury, but there’s a good chance that he’ll be back for tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, reports NHL.com.

The Maple Leafs have already sent forward Carter Ashton to the minors as the team gets ready to potentially activate Bolland in the coming hours.

The bad news is that goaltender Jonathan Bernier will not be available as he continues to recover from a groin injury. This will be the fourth straight game that he’s missed. James Reimer, who has allowed 11 goals in Toronto’s last three contests, will play between the pipes again.

Toronto lost all three of Reimer’s recent starts, making this game against Montreal critical. The Maple Leafs only have a three-point cushion on the Detroit Red Wings in the battle for a postseason spot, but Toronto has played in two extra contests. In other words, if Toronto doesn’t stop its losing streak soon, the team might end up falling short of the playoffs.

Bernier and Bolland practice, but status remains unclear

Colton Orr, Roberto Luongo
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Goalie Jonathan Bernier (groin) and center Dave Bolland (ankle) are potential returnees for the Maple Leafs this weekend.

The key word there is “potential,” because there were no guarantees from coach Randy Carlyle after both players practiced today.

With four losses in its last five — a stretch that’s come with talk of another epic collapse — Toronto hosts Montreal Saturday and is in New Jersey to play the Devils Sunday.

While Bernier was only recently forced out of the lineup, Bolland hasn’t played since Nov. 2, when he severed a tendon on the outside of his ankle during a game in Vancouver.

At the time Bolland was hurt, he had six goals and four assists in 15 games. His extended absence has often been cited by management when the Leafs have struggled.