When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, they had a few weeks to enjoy the victory before the draft. This time the Blackhawks had less than a week to begin the offseason and get to work after winning the Cup. Six days after bringing a championship to Chicago, the Blackhawks were busy at the NHL Draft on Sunday.
The Blackhawks started the day drafting Chicago native Ryan Hartman with the 30th pick in the draft. A lot of people were excited that Hartman is a local kid, but the Blackhawks drafted him because of his skill and not where he was from. Then the Blackhawks, who started the day with five picks total, drafted seven more players after a few trades.
Dave Bolland was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for three draft picks. Soon after Michael Frolik was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for two picks. This opened the door for the Blackhawks to keep Bryan Bickell in Chicago for another four years.
The Bolland deal was a surprise to no one who closely follows the Blackhawks and are aware of the lowered salary cap in the new CBA. I’m sure most of the two million people at the parade on Friday are confused why Bolland was traded but it all makes sense.
First, let’s just say Bolland was not really good this season. You know you aren’t playing well when Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw pass you up on the depth chart. No disrespect to either player, but Handzus was often a healthy scratch in San Jose before he was traded before the deadline and Shaw is a good player for his role but is limited offensively.
Bolland’s cap hit, on the final season on a five-year deal, is $3.375 million. Getting that off the books freed space to pay Bickell four million per season. Also with one year left on his deal, Bolland was likely to leave next summer anyways. To get something for him was important. Receiving a second round and two fourth round picks is a great return especially in a conservative trade market.
Bolland has injury issues too and missed some regular season games since signing his five-year deal. Bolland missed the first round series against Minnesota. He was not in the Blackhawks plans to be a future No. 2 center. Even though Bolland is gone he still won two Stanley Cups and I will post some videos below of the best Dave Bolland moments.
The Frolik trade was for a similar reason as Bolland. One year left on deal, high contract to play on the fourth line and his value won’t be higher. He found his role in the shortened season but at times was a healthy scratch during the 2011-2012 season. Frolik did score some memorable postseason goals and was on the ice when Bolland scored the game winner last Monday. The Blackhawks have some players in their system such as Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Ben Smith and Jimmy Hayes that will get a chance to audition in the spots where Bolland and Frolik played.
Bickell became a priority after a career season playing for the league minimum. He earned the contract through a strong playoffs. He scored timely goals and excelled on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Bickell had an average Stanley Cup Final, but he was also playing with a knee injury.
Now the Blackhawks have over $9 in cap space to sign restricted free agents Marcus Kruger and Nick Leddy. They also have room make minor moves in free agency, which begins on Friday.
The Blackhawks traded about $5.7 million of fourth line contracts and in return brought in five draft picks, and created room to sign Bickell. In the salary cap era, that is how it’s done.
Now here are some videos to honor Bolland:
When Bolland was in his prime. The dagger against Vancouver in 2010 and Stanley Cup Final shortie:
The Rat was so sneaky (at 1:01 of video below):
What an end to his career with the Blackhawks:
He stood for the true fans (0:59)