Blackhawks trade Dave Bolland to Maple Leafs, Michael Frolik to Jets
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org June 30, 2013 10:33PM
Dave Bolland celebrates his goal that gave the Hawks the Stanley Cup title last Monday in Boston. | Charles Krupa~AP
Updated: August 2, 2013 7:39AM
NEWARK, N.J. — A week ago, Dave Bolland assured himself of a place in Blackhawks history. On Sunday, he became Blackhawks history.
Six days after Bolland scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins, the Hawks traded the enigmatic agitator to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the NHL draft Sunday for three picks — a second-rounder, a fourth-rounder and a fourth-rounder in 2014.
The Hawks also traded winger Michael Frolik, whose deflection banked off the post and led to Bolland’s Cup-winning goal, to the Winnipeg Jets for a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder. The trades helped the Hawks re-sign Bryan Bickell to a four-year, $16 million deal, but general manager Stan Bowman said the priority was to acquire draft picks and to free up roster spots, not cash.
‘‘We have a lot of young players that are ready to play, and at some point you have to open up spots for them to play,’’ said Bowman, who singled out forwards Brandon Pirri, Ben Smith, Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin. ‘‘It has nothing to do with Dave Bolland or Michael Frolik. They contributed greatly to our success. But we’ve got a lot of young guys, and there’s only 12 spots up front.’’
Despite Bolland being a two-time Cup winner and part of the Hawks’ vaunted core, the deal wasn’t a shock. This was the third consecutive summer the Hawks shopped Bolland. The native of the Toronto suburb of Mimico knew the rumors were swirling around him, saying Thursday he wanted to return to Chicago, but ‘‘whatever happens, happens.’’
‘‘Thank you for everything Chicago!’’ he said on Twitter. ‘‘Such amazing memories. I look forward to playing in front of my home fans wearing the Maple Leaf.’’
Bolland had seven goals and seven assists during the regular season as he battled numerous injuries. During his Hawks career, he had 70 goals and 98 assists in 332 games and earned a reputation as one of the NHL’s top irritants and a lockdown checking-line center.
His departure leaves the Hawks even thinner at center than they’ve been (Bolland spent most of the regular season as their second-line center). But Bowman repeatedly mentioned Pirri was the American Hockey League’s leading scorer with 22 goals and 53 assists in 76 games with the Rockford IceHogs and said he thinks Pirri can be a top-six forward.
Frolik, a former first-round pick of the Florida Panthers who emerged as a penalty-killing specialist this season, had three goals and seven assists during the regular season, then three goals and seven assists in the playoffs. His penalty-shot goal in Game 6 of the series against the Detroit Red Wings was one of the biggest of the postseason.
Bolland and Frolik combined to make nearly $6 million, and the Hawks also saved about $6 million by buying out the contracts of Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz. Aside from Bickell’s big deal, the Hawks now can re-sign restricted free agents Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger.
‘‘We certainly are going to sign both of those players,’’ Bowman said.
The extra cash could allow the Hawks to be players in the free-agent market, but Bowman said he doesn’t expect to make any splashes. Instead, he wants to promote from within.
‘‘These guys have paid their dues, and they deserve a chance to play at the NHL level,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘That’s sort of the way the puzzle’s supposed to work. If you draft well and you develop well, they’re going to become NHL players, then you don’t need to go in the free-agent market. . . . There’s nothing but good news that came out today for us. We’re headed in the right direction.’’