The Rat doesn’t need any introduction. Let’s get right to it!

The Good:

After Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, you’d be hard pressed to find a Blackhawk who is asked to do more than Dave Bolland (okay, maybe Jonathan Toews) night in and night out. Whether it’s anchoring their most important line, killing penalties or playing on the power play, he does it all, and he does it all pretty damn well. This season, Bolland was once again asked to shoulder the burden of shutting down other teams top lines, and as usual, he delivered. The 200 ft game Bolland (he played tougher minuets than anyone) can and does bring to the table is a major factor in the success of this hockey team – especially in the playoffs. As usual, Bolland was a mainstay on the penalty kill (which was awful) and led the team with 3 shorthanded goals, which really wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was the fact that he ended up tied for 2nd on the team with 7 power play goals. His 10 special teams goals were 2nd on the Blackhawks behind Marian Hossa. Another reason everyone loves Bolland : the playoffs! His performance was criticized in some quarters, but I thought that line was the most consistent and effective the Blackhawks had. I shudder to think what the Phoenix series would have ended up looking like without Bolland, along with Bickell (which probably says something about the ‘Hawks).

The Bad:

Bolland is liable to disappear on any given night of the regular season. For whatever reason, he seems to shut down over certain stretches, and when he goes, the 3rd line goes with him. Of the 19 goals he scored, 7 were on the power play and  2 were empty netters. While his 3 shorties were great, the ‘Hawks need more than 7 goals at even strength when a goaltender is present. His 37 points were certainly a bit underwhelming, but considering he played with the criminally negligent Bryan Bickell and a Michael Frolik who simply disappeared off the face of the earth, it doesn’t look so bad. He has always excelled with skilled winger (Havlat and Versteeg) skating beside him. Hopefully he will have one next season.

As usual, he could also stand to become a little more consistent at the dot. Somehow he ended winning almost half (48.8%) of his draws, but it sure didn’t feel that way.

The Outlook:

Some have speculated that Dave Bolland may be on his way out of town. I cannot stress enough how much I fear this development. Many believe that our dear Rat could be replaced with Marcus Kruger. If you believe that Kruger can survive on the 3rd line while trying to bring what Bolland did to this team, I think you’re nuts. Yes, Bolland gets paid like a 2nd line center, and no, he didn’t put up that kind of production this season. But with Joel Quenneville affirming that he will be the coach of the ‘Hawks next season, I don’t see how Stan can take away his safety blanket and hand the reigns to a Kruger, who one gets the feeling could literally be destroyed on the ice at any minute. You thought Bolland was injury prone? Wait ’till you see what happens to Kruger over the long haul.

You’d have to get a king’s ransom in return for Bolland to make a deal worth happening. A completely established 2nd line center and probably another defenseman would have to be on their way to Chicago. It’s hard to see that sort of package developing. I think he stays.

Season Grade:

Bolland earned himself 2.5 Indian Heads this season. While we would have liked to have seen more offense, he was Old Reliable defensively and was one of the only guys on the power play worth a shit.  Hope to see you next year, Mr. Bolland.