Dave Bolland Working On Blackhawks Second Line

Dave Bolland

The Chicago Blackhawks search for a second line center started training camp with a familiar face getting another look among the team’s top six forwards.

At the team’s first practice, Dave Bolland skated between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. Is Bolland the answer on the second line?

On Saturday night, TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted that the Blackhawks would be asking for Bolland to play more of an offensive role in the team’s lineup, and the lines coach Joel Quenneville rolled out in the team’s first official practice confirmed that statement.

This would present a change of scenery for Bolland. Over the last two years, Bolland has started only 32.5 and 34.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, respectively; obviously skating between Kane and Sharp would change that ratio dramatically.

While Bolland’s health would have been a concern with increased ice time (he’s played in only 78 percent of the Blackhawks’ regular season games over the last four seasons), the 48-game schedule presents an opportunity for Bolland to step up.

The biggest concern with Bolland moving up to the second line is his ability to win faceoffs. Over the last five seasons, he has won only 46.5 percent of his opportunities at the dot (2,012 of 4,328) working almost exclusively as the Hawks’ third line center. However, as a third-line center, Bolland was working against the opposition’s best center a majority of the time he was on the ice.

Bolland has shown offensive flashes in the past that show he could be a good fit. While skating with the London Knights in juniors, Bolland put up 130 points (57 goals, 73 assists) in only 59 games during the 2005-06 season. Last season he tied an NHL career-best with 19 goals.

If Bolland does stick on the second line, the intrigue over the next week will be who Quenneville settles on being Bolland’s replacement as the third line center.

Oon Sunday, Andrew Shaw worked between Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg, with Marcus Kruger skating on a “fourth” line. Jamal Mayers will also be in the mix; he was good at the dot last season, winning 56.1 percent of his faceoffs.

ROSTER UPDATE: The Blackhawks recalled forwards Shaw, Kruger, Brandon Bollig, Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri and defensemen Nick Leddy and Ryan Stanton from Rockford on Sunday morning to fill out their training camp roster. Ben Smith is currently out of the IceHogs lineup with a hand injury.

D Bolland

20 thoughts on “Dave Bolland Working On Blackhawks Second Line

  1. Bolland is not the ideal 2nd line center because I believe he is more suited to play 3rd line Center and match-up against the opposing team’s 1st line. But I have to say, I like him there more than I would like Kruger.

  2. let me preface all of this with the point that Q will undoubtedly shuffle the lines again anyway.

    but, this move makes sense on the level that no matter where he plays he is our second best center. he will likely take on tough checking assignments regardless of where he plays and it would be interesting to see what he does with some quality linemates, since he has spent two years making everyone from Shaw to Pisani look more competent.

    Its also funny that you wouldworry about his draw abilities now. considering he usually needs to win d zone draws

  3. If this does work out why not put Kruger on the 3rd line center bc that’s what he is projected to be in the NHL or 4th once Mayers leaves and keep Shaw at wing

  4. Bolland may not be the ideal 2nd line center, but, I like him there more than *any* of the possible alternatives – Frans Nielson, Jason Arnott, Shawn Horcoff – previously discussed.

    Kruger assuming the 3rd line role might work out(?). (…anything that keeps Kane playing wing works for me)

  5. I encourage y’all to get to know Nielson’s game a little more before dismissing him. He’s an exceptional two-way center who can score. That being said, I’m at least intrigued by Bolland at 2C

  6. I like the idea of Nielsen, as his is a little more gifted offensively than Bolland. However, I dont think he is a huge upgrade. I mean if you can get him for Hammer and a low pick, it would be worth a shot on him, but i wouldnt want to give up much more than that. I think Bolland can do fine in that role, it just means someone has to be to the 3rd line what bolland was. Play with an edge, be an aggitator to the opposing top line. Can that be Bickell? Can that be Shaw or Kruger? You know Carcillo will be a pest, but we need someone that will just be an energy guy.

    The biggest issue, is that you cant really wait in the short year. If you want to win, you have to be right. One 4-5-6 game losing streak might be the difference in 4th or 9th. We dont have the luxury of “test bolland” and then after 3 weeks pulling a trade. We play 10 of 12 on the road to open up, and if we start 3-7-2, or something like that, it may be too much of a hole to work with.

    Like Tab said in the other article, Nielsen is an upgrade over Kruger right now. Kruger is still growing into the player he will be. It wouldn’t be a bad move for a team that has a stable of defenders even with Hjalmerson removed from the mix.

  7. Not sure if anyone knows… but if Shaw was with Stalberg and Bickell, and Bolland was between Sharp and Kane, does that mean Carcillo was the 1st line LW with Toews and Hossa?

  8. Bolland has a chronic bad back and he is unlikely to be healthy more than roughly 75% of the games. The greater amount of games in a shorter period-of-time only reinforces that this will jeopardizes the #2 center role. Trading for anither center would be premature at this time, however, as an improved Pirri should adequately fill in. Pirri has the skill, knowledge and now the experience to mesh with top talent. His skating had improved, which had been a drawback. Bowman is thetegire wise to wait say even up ti the April trade deadline before pulling the trigger. A tean like the Uslanders wull wanr a prospect inclusive in a deal…..something we should nit be qyixk to depart with.

    Whi knows how the concussion issue plays out in the folliwing years. One more serious Towes concussion and we are in trouble. We need to hold on to a strength….which us a stable full of various level of prospects. Later on we may choose to overpay in trading for a prospect. And do not forget Morin could be a great add as well

  9. Without trading, which Bowman hasn’t proven he can accomplish without giving away all stars for prospects, this is by far the best move by Q…Bolland CAN SCORE, there is no doubt…he is also a very good playmaker as well, and Sharp/Kane will like playing with him…the question as Tab puts it is face-offs…Bolly has simply got to get better…and if he can, Bolland will make a nice 2nd line centre for the rest of his career…WHY??? Because Kruger was absolutely born to be a 3rd line centre, and is ready to take over that role (likely with Shaw and Bickell). The only question for Kruger is the same as Bolland…face-offs. Kruger looks much stronger in Rockford this year, and his face-offs have been better, and if this can translate to the NHL, we have our 3rd line centre for a long while…

    Overall, this is good news…plus I am thrilled to see a 1st line of Toews, Hossa and Stahlberg/Carcillo.

  10. Danault will be a good checkliner. If we dont have outside center by then (& Teuvo is coming), then Bollys the man.



  11. Was at practice today…

    Saad looked good-showed some great speed in one of the 1-on-1 drills… I would love to see him skate w/ Toews and Stalberg or 19, and Sharp someday soon. Know I see why he had 6 SH goals last year in OHL… he has great acceleration!!!

    Carcillo looked good- he has way more talent and better hands than most think… he needs to do what Matt Cook did… stop being a Raffi Torres and use your speed and hands– you are playing w/ some serious talent!!!
    Bolly-Kane-Sharp was best/most dominant line out there in cycle drill…
    Bolland- is a legit 2nd center… smart, skates well and sees ice- weakness is injury!
    Kane shot the puck better than any practice I attended last year…. and didn’t see him smiling as much!!! Maybe he is growing up!!!!

    Hossa looked OFF!!!! I hope he isn’t Monty2.0!!!
    Monty- missing AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Stanton and Rosey looked good!

  12. I say wait on the center there is plenty of talent set to be free agents in 2013 plus bargains on players bought out that might just need a change of scenery….I like Getzlaf for this team

  13. I just crunched the numbers a little bit according to cap geek if the blackhawks buyout
    Montador @2.75 mil
    the hammer @3.5 Mil
    Frolik @2.33 Mil
    They will have close to nearly 14 mil in capspace. There are 4 names that really jump out on paper for next years free agent pool Ryan Getzlaf Andy Mcdonald (when healthy) Derek Roy and Niklas Backstrom (the Goalie)

    Theoretically you could sign Getzlaf and Backstrom Keep Leddy (which should be done anyway when NHL Gm’s call and are only asking about Leddy that should tell you something) you would still have cap space for the trade deadline and wiggle room to negotiate for the future. If Kane has Getzlaf dishing him the puck he scores 50 goals. here is what I see

    mayers/Kruger/(Teuvo if ready if not fill in) Bollig

    bad player like Brookbank

    2014 Stanley cup Champions….assuming no injuries on paper there is no better roster in the Nhl and this is actually financially possible but Im not a GM and there is probably a reason for it

    Your thoughts?

  14. A couple thoughts, Jared…

    First, each team is only allowed 2 amnesty buyouts, so dumping Frolik, Hjalmarsson AND Montador won’t happen. And, based on cap amount, age and ability, I would think Oduya goes before Frolik or Hjalmarsson.

    Beyond that, it’s going to be hard for Minnesota to let Backstrom leave. Not only do they have plenty of cap space even w/ the two huge contracts, but their back-up, Josh Harding, was diagnosed with MS this summer. Considering that, I would imagine they make every effort to keep him there.

    re: Roy & Getzlaf – they’re both fantastic players… which means there will undoubtedly be a bidding if/when either of them reaches free agency. Anaheim’s front office has been very public about wanting to keep Perry & Getzlaf, and they could financially make that happen. Dallas needs to lock up Jamie Benn before we can assess their financial well being, but Roy’s a good forward that could become a key piece of that roster. So while both of them would look good in Chicago, it’s easier to see them staying where they are today than coming to Chicago.

    Let’s also remember that the Blackhawks’ front office still believes they have drafted well in recent years. Both Roy and Getzlaf would require 4-6 year deals, which limits the available spots for young centers like Danault, McNeill and Pirri from reaching the NHL. With the new, lower cap, developing effective NHL players from within is going to be a necessity (it has been for the last 4-5 years fwiw)… and the Hawks have pretty good organizational depth to work with. I don’t know that the Hawks go out and throw a big-money, long-term deal at a free agent before they deal w/ Toews & Kane in 18 months

  15. I think a buyout of oduya is coming aswell, but they need a #2 center, bollad is a bit expensive, but what he brings as a shutdown third line center is almost priceless. Get rid of kruger, hes awful. Tab I know you disagree with that. As for a goalie, this is Crawfords last chance to show what hes got, and i believe he knows that. Hes got 48-76 games to show hes a legit starting goalie, otherwise he will be ridding the pine to a free agent pick up next year.

  16. Jared, my thoughts are Tuevo is the best prospect in system and will never play a full season on 4th line…

    He could play top 2 lines today… and would be great w/ Hawks talent… Will be a power play stud for many years…

    the only reason he won’t be on team is Hawks will give other prospects a year to catch up to this kid, lol! He is the closest thing to Pavel Datsyuk!

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