Dave Bolland is Good and Will Be Missed
The title of this blog post is a pretty obvious statement to Maple Leafs fans right now. Heck, it’s probably an obvious one to Blackhawks fans – who spent 6 seasons watching Bolland.
But it often feels like people outside of Chicago have only realised how good Dave Bolland is now he is playing in Toronto.
He’s always been this good. It’s just no one seemed to notice before.
Bolland won two Stanley Cups in Chicago, but largely sat in the shadows of stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith. He was seen as the sort of player that is considered to be a useful cog in a championship team. Much like Maxime Talbot was for Pittsburgh.
And, to be fair, in many ways he is, but my argument has always been Bolland is better than that – better than just being seen as ‘useful’ and would be a good player for any team in the NHL. It’s just that he happened to sit behind some pretty special players on the Hawks depth chart, and thus didn’t get the kudos he deserved.
Without being disrespectful to Max Talbot; Bolland reminds me more of Chris Drury during his time in Colorado. Highly talented, but stuck behind some great players (in Drury’s case it was Sakic and Forsberg!) – as soon as they moved to a new club and played a bigger role, well, people start to realise how good these guys are.
Bolland has 6 goals and 10 points in 15 games for Toronto before sustaining a freak injury on Saturday, sidelining him indefinitely. But his contribution is greater than the raw numbers.
The Leafs have already won a number of games they had no right winning this year. Granted there have been some pretty large contributions from both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer in that time; but Bolland has also been a strong contributor in both ends of the ice as Toronto have gone 10-5-0 to start the season.
The one knock against Bolland is his face-off ability, which is fair, but the Mimico native has the ability to play in pretty much any situation and has a legitimate shot at scoring 20 goals and 40 to 50 points every season.
A lot of teams would be happy with that kind of production from a guy who is probably classed as the #3 centre on the Leafs roster right now, behind Bozak and Kadri (assuming everyone is fit). Throw in the ability to play on the PK and even the powerplay, and you have a pretty useful player right there…
Bolland’s absence will undoubtedly be a set back for the Leafs, especially with Bozak out for at least a fortnight as well,but moving forward maybe Dave Bolland will get the respect he deserves.