At a cost of three draft choices, the Maple Leafs have added their second Stanley Cup-winning player.
The first, of course, was Jonathan Bernier. The second is Dave Bolland.
Bolland scored the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks a week ago and contributed eight goals and 16 points in the Hawks 2009-2010 Cup run. He scored seven goals and delivered as many assists in 35 games during the lockout-shortened regular season.
In addition to the two Cups, Bolland has won a Memorial Cup and a World Junior championship. Other than that his career has been bereft of victory.
Bolland will earn $3.375 million next season in his final year before unrestricted free agency.
A prolific scorer as a junior with the London Knights, Bolland restructured his game for the NHL and became an excellent checker with a Linesmenesque zeal – the Sharks Joe Thornton was a favorite target – that earned him the unflattering nickname of The Rat.
In the most recent three seasons in which he has played a full season or a reasonable facsimile of one, Bolland has scored 19, 15 and 19 goals. Last season he scored seven goals and recorded 14 points in 35 games.
He is not the number one centre the Leafs covet but he has shown himself to be able to elevate his game in the post-season. As a veteran with a resume of winning, Bolland is exactly the kind of player the Leafs were unable to throw over the boards in Game 7 against Boston. Think of him as a lower case Brad Marchand.
Where this leaves the Leafs at centre is a tough guess.
Tyler Bozak remains unsigned and while their offensive numbers are similar (Bolland has averaged half a point a game while Bozak has garnered .56) they really aren’t transferable pieces.
Landing Bolland increases the Leafs depth but he can’t replace Bozak in the face-off dot or deliver the numbers of a true number one centre.
Leafs GM Dave Nonis is continuing to pursue Bozak, “we’re not ruling out signing Tyler at all,” he said at the draft.
There’s little doubt coach Randy Carlyle will love Bolland’s grit – “he is the type of player who thrives under the way he coaches,” Nonis said.
Free agency opens Friday and with compliance buyouts (the Leafs still hold their two in arrears) sure to come this week, the Leafs may yet have a chance at a game-changing centre. One, Vincent Lecavalier, is already at large so the next five days could be significant.
If you’re keeping score, Nonis has landed a potential number one goalie and a good to very good second or third line centre for Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens and draft choices.