Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs

Report: Maple Leafs struggle with Bolland’s $5M asking price

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have given Dave Bolland rave reviews in his short time with the team – at least in rare moments of health – but retaining his services might prove too costly.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Bolland is looking for $5 million per year (maybe more) in a contract extension while the Leafs are leaning more toward the $4 million range, as Dreger compares the “difficult” negotiations to the talks they went through with Tyler Bozak. Such an asking price might just prompt a trade.

The 27-year-old is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Bolland’s current cap hit is $3.375 million. He just returned to Maple Leafs practice from that severed tendon injury on Feb. 21.

If these negotiations force a trade, Dreger reports that GM Dave Nonis seeks a top-four defenseman or top-nine forward. It sounds like he wants a player with term on his contract rather than a “rental” player.

The question of Bolland’s value could be interesting. When healthy, he’s fit in well in Toronto, scoring 10 points in 15 games while impressing head coach Randy Carlyle with his work ethic. It’s also true that he does a lot of things that don’t show up in box scores (and by “things” one sometimes means “agitating opponents to the point of sometimes taking bad penalties”).

On one hand, he didn’t always put up great numbers despite being surrounded by talented teammates in Chicago; on the other, he’s one of those rare players who has “Stanley Cup-winning goal” on his resume.

It remains to be seen if that resume ends up impressive enough to land him a new deal with the Leafs or instead prices him out of Toronto and onto another roster (either at the deadline or as a free agent this summer).

Here’s the full TSN’s Insider Trading segment.

Bolland (severed tendon) returns to Maple Leafs practice

Dave Bolland
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are that much closer to getting Dave Bolland back in the lineup.

Bolland, who’s been out since Nov. 2 with a severed ankle tendon, took part in Maple Leafs practice on Thursday, as the Toronto Star shares. While Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk are still away at the Olympics, Bolland skated on what would be the Leafs’ third line with Mason Raymond and Troy Bodie.

Seeing Bolland on the ice with the team isn’t exactly new, but taking part in a full practice is. He’s been skating with the team since January, and even toyed with the possibility of returning before the break, but his ankle wasn’t game-ready.

The possibility of seeing Bolland in the lineup when the Leafs return to action on Feb. 27 on Long Island is very real.

Dave Bolland ‘should be available’ for Leafs after Olympic break

Dave Bolland
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Dave Bolland, his season disrupted by a severed tendon at the start of November, should be ready to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup when the NHL schedule resumes later this month.

“It looks like Bolland should be available to us, which is a player back into our lineup,” said Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle following his team’s 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Bolland underwent surgery the day after suffering the injury to his left ankle and was listed as being out indefinitely. The injury occurred on a Zack Kassian hit when the Leafs visited the Canucks earlier this season. Bolland was rushed on a stretcher by a group of reporters and out of Rogers Arena in Vancouver immediately following that game on Nov. 2.

Prior to the beginning of February, the 27-year-old Bolland, in his first season with the Maple Leafs, had given himself a “fifty-fifty” chance of returning prior to the Olympic break, which began at the conclusion of Saturday’s NHL action.

The Leafs acquired Bolland at the end of June, following his second Stanley Cup championship with the Chicago Blackhawks. In 15 games with Toronto, he’s scored six goals and 10 points.

Bolland gives himself 50/50 chance to play before Olympic break

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Dave Bolland made it clear to TSN that he believes his chances of returning from an ankle injury before the Olympic break rest at “fifty-fifty.”

“We’ll see,” Bolland said. “If I’m ready then I’m ready …”

Here’s video of the unfortunate incident in which he was cut by Zack Kassian’s skate in early November:

It’s easy to say that the 27-year-old should just take a measured approach with the Olympic break so close, but it’s just as easy to ignore the toll months of rehab can take. Bolland admitted that the process has been “grueling” to TSN.

So far, it seems like the pesky center has been a nice fit in Toronto, too; he has 10 points in 15 games. That’s just one fewer point than he managed in 35 contests with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

The Maple Leafs have these games remaining before the break:

Saturday: vs. Ottawa
Tuesday (Feb. 4): at Florida
Thursday (Feb. 6): at Tampa Bay
Saturday (Feb. 8): vs. Vancouver

PHT Morning Skate: Bolland ready to skate this week

Dave Bolland
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Maple Leafs center Dave Bolland has been out since November with a sliced tendon. He’s looking to get back on the ice this week. Finally, good news in Toronto. (Toronto Star, NHL.com)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Everyone was getting a laugh at Patrick Kane scoring on his own net last night, especially his teammates. In case you didn’t notice, the Blackhawks won. (CSNChicago.com)

Alain Vigneault’s explanation for Daniel Carcillo scrapping with the Flyers and an overall feisty game? “Boys will be boys.” (Katie Strang)

The Blues’ line of Vladimir Tarasenko, Vladimir Sobotka, and Patrik Berglund have been getting things done lately. Now they just need a catchy nickname. (Post-Dispatch)

Players who were coached by Paul Maurice in Carolina in 2002 believe he’ll be a good fit for the Jets. (Canadian Press)

Who’s next to pay the price in Winnipeg if the losing persists? The players know it’ll be them. (Winnipeg Sun)

Believe it or not, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle has faith in Jake Gardiner. (Toronto Sun)

Michael Del Zotto would like to stay on the left side, not the right. He’d probably also like to not end up a healthy scratch anymore. (Ranger Rants)

Finally, get ready to have your icy, cold heart melted. The Capitals granted a Make-A-Wish to eight-year-old Branden Neinaber who suffers from a disease similar to cancer. He got to drop the ceremonial first puck between captains Alex Ovechkin and Steve Ott on Sunday and produced this very awesome moment. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)