Have we seen Dave Bolland in a Blackhawks sweater for the last time? According to ESPN's Pierre Lebrun we may have.
Heard from another team that the Blackhawks are shopping center Dave Bolland...— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 27, 2013
Bolland, 27, has one year remaining on his current deal and carries a cap hit of $3,375,000. That cap hit could be the key factor in him being moved as GM Stan Bowman looks to retain forward Bryan Bickell. When asked about the rumors of being traded Bolland had this to say:
(I) would love to be back here next year but whatever happens, happens, This is the NHL and trades happen, but I would love to be back here. I love Chicago.
Bolland has spent the last six seasons with the Hawks but has had to deal with injuries almost every season. He missed 13 games this past season and has had only 2 fully healthy seasons where he played 81 and 76 games.
Possibly due to these injuries, he has also failed to take that next step. In 2010 he was a lock down defensive center on the third line and seemed like he was ready to be the Hawks second line center. However three years later he is still playing that third line center role and people wonder if he still has that same potential.
The Hawks also have a bit of a surplus of young guys ready to replace Bolland. Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger are already on the roster while Brandon Pirri and Mark McNeill are young guys who would like a shot at making the team next season.
With the Hawks wanting to retain Bickell and add draft picks in this weekend's draft, moving Bolland is the best way for them to achieve both goals. They only have five picks. Their second and third rounders went to Winnipeg in the trade for Johnny Oduya.
A lot of teams could be in the market for Bolland. He brings defense and experience and could help teach younger guys. And at 27 isn't old and maybe he could reach his potential if healthy and given the chance elsewhere.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if we saw an A on Bolland's jersey next season if he in fact isn't playing for the Hawks. Teams to watch would be the Oilers, Jets, Canadians and Panthers. The Oilers have a lot of young forwards and could use a veteran while the Jets, Panthers and Canadians all have GMs who have seen Bolland play first hand during their time in Chicago's front office.
Most importantly they all have the capspace to take him on. Now we will just have to wait and see. If he isn't moved this weekend then I would fully expect Bolland to return to Chicago next season.
Now it's time to sit back and see but if history has shown us anything, Stan Bowman likes to be active at the draft.