Dave Bolland is not a fit for the Edmonton Oilers

On Wednesday, ESPN/TSN reporter Pierre LeBrun tweeted that Chicago Blackhawks centre Dave Bolland was being shopped by the team. Bolland, highly regarded as one of the league’s best checking centres in recent years, would under normal circumstances be a highly desirable acquisition for the Edmonton Oilers. Circumstances, however, are far from normal.

The Cost

If Bob Stauffer is anywhere close with his report as to what the Blackhawks are asking for – and it’s pretty unlikely he would write that unless he had solid information – than Chicago isn’t looking to shed cap hit or simply move the player out; they’re hoping for a team to see Bolland as a guy who drives results.

A reminder as to what Pominville (and a fourth-round pick) fetched at the deadline for Buffalo:

The 16th overall draft pick in 2013 A second round draft pick in 2014 Prospect Johan Larsson (2nd round pick in 2010; 62GP, 15-22-37 in the AHL this season as a rookie) Prospect Matt Hackett (3rd round pick in 2009; 43GP, 0.907 SV% in his third AHL season)

Larsson and Hackett both had relatively poor seasons – Larsson was a much bigger scorer in Sweden while Hackett managed 0.917 and 0.916 save percentage seasons in his two previous AHL campaigns – but both are still decent if unspectacular prospects.

It isn’t a ridiculous return for a third-line centre who is among the best in the league at his position, but then that’s the second problem.


Dave Bolland had a miserable season in 2013.

Unlike in previous campaigns, Bolland didn’t play brutal minutes. He did see good opponents, but he had a 50/50 split of offensive and defensive zone draws and basically had Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp welded on either hip all season. Of course, Bolland missed some time to injury, so Kane and Sharp played roughly half their minutes with Bolland and half their minutes with other players. A look at their results with and without Bolland is instructive.

With Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland on the ice, the Blackhawks were outscored by a 4:3 margin and out-Corsied (Corsi measure all shot attempts and shows which end of the ice the puck is in) 5:4. With Kane on the ice and no Bolland, the Blackhawks outscored the opposition 3:2 and out-Corsied them 4:3.The results (shown in the link above) were very similar for Patrick Sharp with and without Bolland.

Putting that into English: a line of Patrick Kane, Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp were crushed by the opposition despite playing on a very good team. That same unit, minus Dave Bolland, was dominant. Bolland fell to fourth line duty in the playoffs. Bolland’s only 27 but plays a physically intense style with a slight frame (6’, 184 pounds) and any team acquiring him runs the risk that this year was the beginning of the new trend with Bolland rather than an aberration.

The Bottom Line

Dave Bolland has been a very, very good hockey player in recent years, but his struggles in 2013 make him a risk – and any team acquiring him should refuse to pay market value given that risk. The Blackhawks, while evidently interested primarily in future rather than current assets, are asking for a hefty return for Bolland’s services. It simply doesn’t make sense for a team like Edmonton to offer up that kind of package for an uncertain return.

Recently around the Nation Network

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced they were going to buy out Vincent Lecavalier, and fans in 29 other cities immediately started wondering if he might be a fit for their team. In Vancouver, it appears that general manager Mike Gillis has definite interest:

Needless to say Lecavalier will have plenty of suitors, including the Canucks to hear Pierre LeBrun tell it on the Team 1050 on Thursday. "The Canucks front office has already talked to John Tortorella about this," Lebrun passed along on Thursday, "and they see this as a possible fit if they can get out of cap hell, which they’re in now."

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  • Kurri In A Hurri

    I’ve always thout 8million is too much for one player. You could get two sixty point players to play together instead of crosby. I woul rather pick up two 4 million top 4 dmen instead of letang. Not to mention he will have an albatross contract that makes him untradeable when we get in our cap crunch. Plus you are making holes further down the roster to get him, which for a paper thin team like the oilers is catastrophic(see penner and gilbert trades).

  • Kurri In A Hurri

    Jonathan, what are your thoughts on Rich Peverley?

    Darren Dreger said he might be available for trade. Do you think he’d be more suited for the Oil than Bolland… provided we get rid of Horcs?

  • OilersBrass

    I’m not so sure going hard after Letang is a good idea. Between the price to acquire his rights, and then his desire for a 7 mill + per season contract. Offensively he’s very good but in the D zone he’s not good enough to warrant that money. For that kind of dough he needs to be a complete dman, ala Chara, Weber, and Suter. I would not pay Letang more than Hall.

  • Oh yeah, letang coming here now for one year for sure at $3.5 mil is most excellent. it is the stupid ridiculous notion that he wants more than $7 mil per year longterm.

    I think he is an excellent top defender and is in his prime perfectly…but…if he is that type of money seeker from even the Penguins…why did he not win the cup more than just once with those guys of Crosby, malkin, Iginla, Fleury, etc???? Don’t forget also that Jordan stall played for years too with letang and still only one cup was won…

    If the Oilers are remotely gonna possibly pay more than $8 mil per yr for this guy long term….then I say go harder for Weber (without losing the team core somehow) and pay his huge contract cause Weber is a much better defenceman than Letang.

    • I agree, if we’re getting into Weber money for a player, why not just go get Weber? Obviously talking about it and making it happen are two very different things, however I think what we’re all saying is we don’t want Mac T to go do some ridiculous over payment for someone. Plus that really screws up the top contract method whereby all payers are now going to be measured against the six million Hall is getting.

      Are you as good as Hall? No? then you won’t make as much as him.

  • Bonvie

    I don’t think Bolland works if too much is paid as he is more like now an injury prone 4th line center. Apparently…at the asking price of what chicago seemingly wants…aka Pominville deal…way too much dude!!!!

    I very much rather would see Zack Smith or Boyd Gordon brought in for the next year.

    Although not a Canucks fan nor… a fan of this player from the canucks, I even would think Lapierre would be a better fit as a gritty tick me off guy for the 4th line as centre….hope I am not going crazy suggesting this guy to come to the Oil…lol.

    Congrats on Keith Acton coming to the Oilers!!! Good man and he did play excellent PK roles and was a good centre/faceoff performer. Should be able to help the Nuge on faceoffs. I am unsure as to why both Steve Smith and Buckberger are here still though.

    • Bonvie

      If the oilers are going to use 8 million of cap on a Dman this is not the type of Dman they should be using it on. The Oilers have an offensive dynamo in Justin Shultz already, he still needs to improve in his own end, but I think it’s clear for all to see we have a good offensive Dman on the rise. The type of Dman we are looking for if we use by far the biggest single piece of our cap on one player should be in the Weber, Pronger mold. That physically dominating Dman who plays a two way Game and emphasizes shutting down the other teams offense. This type of player would instantly round out the Oilers defense.

      • CaptainLander

        In theory it sounds good, but Pit will want one of the 4 forwards or schultz plus ,will not be worth it.

        Ebs, Marincin and the 7th is likley the asking price

        On top of that 7.5 or 8 mil, for 8 years? He is good, very good but is he Webber good?

        • Bonvie

          I know your suggesting, but Letang could command Eberle straight up, nothing else, squat. Elite first liner for elite.dman, Why the add ons I figure. I would not do it on the basis I’d rather have Eberle over an inflated over-rated dman. Letang is.great, but is sketchy defensively and injury prone. Don’t want, price too high. Give Schultz 2 years and we got our Letang.

    • YoungOil

      Agreed, but what would the cost be? I’m thinking Petry + Pajaarvi + 7th overall should do it. If we need to sweeten the pot a little more, add Marincin or a skilled forward like Rajala.

      If worse comes to worst, the most I would give up would be Petry + Pajaarvi + 2013 and 2014 firsts for Letang. All of this is ofcourse, conditional on him signing a long-term extension.