When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Dave Bolland over the summer, not many people thought they were getting as good of a player as he’s been early on this season.
Through 12 games, Bolland has 10 points including six goals. On top of that he’s often been matching up against the opponents’ top centers, as was the case in the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle told reporters following last night’s game, as Chris Johnston of Sportsnet shares, he’s been invaluable so far.
“He’s been everything that we’ve asked,” Carlyle gushed when asked about Bolland. “He’s a model for our younger players.”
Further to that, Carlyle holds Bolland up as an example to other players on how to prepare correctly for games.
While Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk pile up the points, Bolland is doing that and working his defensive game to the tune of playing over 20 minutes a game. Maybe buying out Mikhail Grabovski was the right move for Toronto after all.
Dave Bolland is the type of player that can get under opponents skin. He chips at both ends of the rink and until this summer, he was part of a Chicago Blackhawks squad that won the Stanley Cup twice in just four seasons.
After Bolland netted the 2013 Stanley Cup-winning goal, the cap constrained Blackhawks dealt him to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s gotten off to a good start with his new team and tonight he’ll get to show his former squad what it’s like to be at the other end in his return to Chicago.
Not that any form of revenge seems to be something he’s looking for. After all the success Bolland had with the Blackhawks, he’s not entering this game with hard feelings. He still thinks very highly of the city and is close with many of the core Chicago players he spent years playing alongside.
“I still text with some of the guys and stay in touch,” Bolland told the Toronto Sun. “(Jonathan) Toews and Kane and (Duncan) Keith, guys like that.
“When you are on a winning team and you are together for that long, going through two Stanley Cups, I don’t think any of us will ever break apart from one another. You win as a team and you are always along on that same path.”
Toews largely echoed Bolland’s comments. The former teammates will both work hard to exit the game with two points as they each fight to add to their successful careers, but that doesn’t have to diminish their previous accomplishments together.
Newly acquired Toronto Maple Leafs center Dave Bolland has three goals so far this season. Two of them were game-winners, including Saturday’s 6-5 OT stunner:
It’s not the solid scoring that has Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle raving. Instead, he glowed about the 27-year-old’s work ethic to the Toronto Sun on Sunday.
“He practices like a pro. He’s trying to make himself better every day,” Carlyle said. “Some of our young players could take notice of that and we’ve talked to them about it. Just to take notice of how he approaches practice and how intense he is and the level of commitment he puts in.
“It’s guys like David Bolland that sell your program and help coaches in leading by example and showing the way. Those are very, very important intangibles that happen within the team.”
Despite a red-hot start, Carlyle isn’t happy with everything that’s happening with the Buds, particularly last night’s hectic affair. Still, it’s clear that he’s pleased with Bolland.
In the span of a week, 27-year-old forward Dave Bolland went from scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal to getting traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m excited to put on a Maple Leafs jersey in front of ACC fans. Pretty much lost for words,” Bolland said, according to the Toronto Star. “I’m sad to leave Chicago. You always want to play in one city all your career. But it’s a business.
“But it’s great to come back to where my whole hockey career began.”
Bolland, who was born in Mimico, Ontario, admitted that this series of events has been “crazy,” but he’ll have new opportunities with the Maple Leafs. Chicago traditionally used him as a third-line center, but Leafs GM Dave Nonis said they won’t “pigeon-hole him” in that role.
Toronto is somewhat thin up the middle, especially if they let Tyler Bozak walk as an unrestricted free agent.
“He’ll use him in all areas,” Nonis said. “He’ll probably be put in a more prominent role with us than he was in Chicago.”
Less than a week after scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal, Dave Bolland is on the move.
The Chicago center is on his way to Toronto after a draft-day trade — the Leafs gave the ‘Hawks their 51st and 117th overall selections from this year’s draft, and a fourth-rounder at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Bolland, 27, had 7G-7A in 35 games last year, missing time late in the season and through the early parts of the playoffs with groin and foot injuries.
The Toronto native is heading into the final season of his five-year, $16.875 million deal, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.375 million.
The move makes a lot of sense from both sides.
Chicago had reportedly been shopping Bolland throughout the week. His deal will expire next summer and, given Chicago’s financial future — the ‘Hawks are tight to the cap — getting him back in the Windy City would’ve been difficult.
For Toronto, the move addresses a general lack of talent/depth at center. It also acts as a potential safeguard in the event the Leafs can’t reach a new deal with UFA forward Tyler Bozak, who was the club’s No. 1 this year.
“I can tell you that Randy [Carlyle] is very happy that we brought in David Bolland,” Leafs GM Dave Nonis said.