The Florida Panthers promised to be busy during free agency and they kept their promise as they added 6 players to the roster. The players included Willie Mitchell, Al Montoya, Shawn Thornton, Jussi Jokinen, Derek MacKenzie and Dave Bolland. These players bring in a nice combo of skill, toughness, veteran leadership and playoff experience that will be very valuable to our young team. Signing these guys also adds depth that will allow the younger players like, Vincent Trocheck and Quinton Howden to fine-tune their skills further before making the jump to the big club. Lets take a look at each of the signings individually and grade them. Today we will be analyzing the much criticized signing of Dave Bolland.
Dave Bolland – 5 year contract worth $27.5 million – Grade C
- Many of us Panther fans heard rumblings before July 1st that Dale Tallon was very interested in his former draft pick, Dave Bolland. Tallon drafted Bolland in the second round of the 2004 draft while he was GM of the Blackhawks and during his time in Chicago, Bolland won two Stanley Cups. In 2013 he scored this clutch goal to clinch the Cup for Chicago. With many former Blackhawks on our roster currently such as Brandon Pirri, Dylan Olsen, Tomas Kopecky, and Brian Campbell the connection was obvious and it seemed only a matter of time until Bolland was a Florida Panther. Many of us were “ok” with the rumor until we heard that Bollands asking price was anywhere from 5-6 million a year. However, the price didn’t scare Tallon away as he signed him for $5.5 million annually for 5 years keeping the Chicago-Florida connection alive and well. Bolland spent last season with Toronto and only played a mere 28 games because of a severed tendon in his left ankle. His best season came in 2008-2009 when he scored 19 times and added 28 assists and since that season Bolland has never put up more than 40 points or played in a full season. Bolland’s contract and injury history raise some red flags. However, scoring goals has never really been Bolland’s best attribute and he is known as a two-way center who has great leadership abilities. He will fit in nicely on the third line and will be a good mentor for the young players. If Bolland can play most of the season and put up 40-50 points this contract won’t be as bad as it seems right now.
“I was drafted by Dale, he built that team to win that first Stanley Cup in Chicago. I feel Dale has that same chance here to build this team to be like that Chicago team.” – Bolland to Sportsnet
“I’m going be there to be a leader, I want to be there to help some of these young guys out, make the playoffs. I’m there to be a team player, to help Florida move forward.” – Bolland to Sportsnet
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