Dave Bolland’s Historic Return

On Saturday evening, Dave Bolland returns to the United Center.

There is historical significance to Bolland’s return. He will be only the third two-time Stanley Cup champion Blackhawk to play in Chicago with another team. The other two: Louis Trudel (with Montreal) and Elwyn “Doc” Romnes (with Toronto), both of whom came back to Chicago during the 1938-39 season.

But to fans and teammates alike, Bolland is more than a historical footnote.

Dave+Bolland

The Blackhawks selected Bolland in the second round of the 2004 Draft out of the OHL, and then watched him put up 215 points (91 goals, 124 assists) in 125 games with the London Knights over the following two seasons. After his 130-point, 104-penalty minute 2005-06 campaign, the Hawks sent him to Norfolk to begin his professional career.

Bolland made his NHL debut with one game in the 2006-07 season, but came up to stay during the 2007-08 season.

Of course, the 2007-08 season also saw the debuts of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and will forever be seen as the year the Blackhawks’ renaissance officially began.

Bolland never became the offensive force his junior production may have led some to believe he would be, but he settled in and became an effective third line center. His first full season in the NHL – 2008-09 – was his best, as he totaled a career-best 47 points and scored 19 goals, a total he has reached once since (2011-12).

Back surgery limited Bolland to 39 regular season games during the 2009-10 season, but he was one of the critical pieces to that championship team. He scored eight goals and added eight assists in 22 postseason games as the Hawks captured the Cup for the first time in 49 years.

His chirping with opponents, especially members of the Vancouver Canucks, made him a fan favorite. And his ability to get into the heads of elite opponents made him one of the best agitators in the game.

Unfortunately, his $3.375M cap hit, and the presence of Andrew Shaw, made Bolland expendable this summer. And, with the Hawks looking to add picks in the draft, Bolland was dealt to his hometown Maple Leafs for three picks – a second and fourth in the 2013 Draft, and a fourth in the 2014 Draft.

(The picks the Blackhawks received in the 2013 Draft were used on Carl Dahlstrom and Fredrik Bergvik.)

All of the moves made after the 2010 Cup victory sent players to the Eastern Conference (though the then-Atlanta Thrashers are now the Winnipeg Jets, and are in the Hawks’ division). Indeed, Blackhawks fans did not have the opportunity to thank many of the stars of that team the following season.

I’m sure Bolland will receive a nice ovation on Saturday night. And he should. Bolland was one helluva player in Chicago, and will forever be linked to the organization’s rebirth.

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8 Responses to Dave Bolland’s Historic Return

  1. JenInChicago says:

    I love Bolly.

  2. Matt says:

    Welcome back, Rat!

  3. Phil says:

    I have always been a big Bolland fan. He possesses great intangibles that tend to rise when the big games are on the line. Prior to his back injury he really seemed on the verge of becoming a very good 2 center. Any time you get The Rat as a nickname you have to be doing something right. One of my favorite Bolland plays(and there are many) was when he triggered Jumbo Joe Thorton into slashing him on a faceoff in the 2010 Cup run. I think we scored on the ensuing PP. A classic! Pissing off the Sedins was always wonderful to watch. Speaking of Vancouver, remember when Bolland came back from injury and the Hawks took the Nucks to a game 7 a few years ago? It was Bolland that was the catalyst IMO that helped swing that series back to the Hawks. Marvelous stuff. I will miss Bolly. I’m afraid he is not the player he once was due to injury history, but he brings moxie to the rink that most players do not possess. I wish him nothing but great success in Toronto, and the rest of his career. I will give him a standing O tomorrow night at the game. Number 36 was a great Blackhawk.

  4. Mike says:

    The fans should give him a warm reception. Chicago has smart fans. I think they will know that leaving was not Rat’s doing.

  5. ebonyraptor says:

    Hey Tab – correction: I believe the 3rd round pick they got for Bolland turned out to be John Hayden – not that Frederick guy.

    As to Bolland – one of my all time favorites. I thought he should have been in the conversation for the 2010 Smythe (along with 4 or 5 other guys) because of his work against D.Sedin and Jumbo Jerk. He took them off their games and that made a huge difference in how those series played out. I’m really happy that he’s playing so well to start this season and I hope he can stay healthy and keep it going (not against the Hawks of course).

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    re: ebonyraptor – the 3rd round pick used to select John Hayden was acquired in the Michael Frolik trade. Bolland was a 2nd + two 4s.

  7. RyanDale says:

    I was critical of his play during last season but really glad he finished on top with some big plays and the Cup Winner. He was a beast in the ’10 playoff run. Hated to see him go, great Hawk and should never have to pay for a thing whenever he is in Chicago!

  8. Sr. Brad says:

    Nice to be back everyone…It will be great to see Bolly back tonight…he was a great Hawk…tonight is the game for this Hawk’s team to put it all together…the day off Friday should have their legs re-energized and they should be lethal tonight.

    Lots more comments to make after the game tonight…

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