CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
Dave Bolland logged 16 12 minutes per game in 76 games in 2011-12. He matched his career-high with 19 goals and added 18 assists for 37 points. Bolland was one of the few Hawks who really stood out on special teams with a career-high seven power play goals and career-best three shorthanded goals. Bolland was even in plusminus, delivered 58 hits and won 48.4 percent of his faceoffs. He did not score a goal in the playoff series vs. Phoenix, finishing with three assists and an even rating.
Boden's take: The third-line center turns only 26 next week, and his value is highest come playoff time. While he had his healthiest season in three years and matched his career-best goal total (19), he remains somewhat of a riddle to Hawks fans who want to see more impact offensively with the defense and agitation he's usually so good at providing in crunch time. But at that end of the ice, the body of work indicates he won't come close to the 57 goals he amassed six years ago in London (OHL). Part of it has to do with ever-changing linemates he's been playing with. Faceoff consistency is another area the Hawks could use some improvement from him.
Myers' take: The checking-line center enjoyed his healthiest season since 2008-09, although his numbers werent too far off last season, when he played just 61 games. Bolland is still strong at shutting down the oppositions best scorers. He had his share of linemates this season - and played the second-line center position for a brief moment - and defensively, he was fine. Points-wise, he was streaky. Bolland was once again gathering up points at the time of year he usually does: the end of it. But there were some big gaps in there during the season, and the Blackhawks needed he and others to bolster their secondary scoring more.
Boden: With two years and less than 7 million left on his contract, some may wonder if Bolland could be one of Stan Bowman's moveable parts this off-season if he's looking to shake things up. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Marcus Kruger -- if Patrick Kane's the second-line center and Jamal Mayers is back in the middle on the fourth line -- there's too many men in the middle. But when all is said and done, they'd have to replace a guy who provides 15-20 goals (sure, you probably wouldn't mind him getting it up to 25), and has been a plus-35 over the past four regular seasons and plus-11 the past four postseasons playing against the opponents top line. Phoenix's leading goal-scorer this season, Radim Vrbata, was held to one assist in the playoff series. If the Hawks do to trade him away, they would need someone who could step in and provide something similar.
Myers: Bolland needs to have another season like the last one in terms of his health. And while it may be a thought to shop Bolland elsewhere, it should remain just that. Yes, they have an extra center or two right now, but Bowman has constantly talked about how you can never have too many of them. So don't get rid of him. Of all of the Blackhawks' role-player types, he has still been the most consistent of that group. The Blackhawks need his checking ability and his presence in that locker room.
How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out highlights of Bolland above.
Up next: Jimmy Hayes