Florida Panthers

Bolland the 5.5 million dollar man scratched

Dave Bolland sat out for three games as a healthy scratch
Bolland the 5.5 million dollar man scratched
James Skelton

Dave Bolland, a player on one of the most lucrative contracts for the Florida Panthers finally returned to play against the St. Louis Blues after being healthy scratched for three consecutive games.

Bolland, a free agent signing in the summer of 2014, was brought in as a gritty veteran presence with Stanley Cup experience pedigree. With Dale Tallon outbidding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida landed Bolland for a reported $27.5  million dollar contract for five years.

His first season resulted in 23 points in 53 games. As has been the case for a lot of Bolland’s career, injury derailed his season somewhat. Still, he put respectable but hardly outstanding numbers for his first season in Florida. His play became better when the Panthers were making their final run to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, they just missed out.

Underwhelming Start

This season, he has started with underwhelming offensive output. Of course, Bolland is used primarily as a shutdown centerman against other opponent’s top lines. Still, for a player paid so much, more goals and points would be nice. It would really help a Panthers team struggling for offense.

However, as well as his poor offensive production, his defensive abilities have been suspect so far this season. His faceoff percentage is an alarming 46 percent. And as a gritty player, he commits a lot of unnecessary penalties, which leaves the Panthers shorthanded far too often.

Perhaps this was being noticed before his healthy scratching, as Bolland’s ice team was decreasing significantly, so Gerard Gallant was seeing something he did not like. And fair play to Gallant for scratching Bolland if he was not happy with his on ice performance. Players should be based on their ability and what they bring to the ice, not how much they are paid.

Time for Bolland to Step Up

Hopefully, the three consecutive games that Bolland was healthy scratched for will get him going. Perhaps we can see the Dave Bolland that was a key component for the Chicago Blackhawks. If anything, at least with Bolland back, it will give the young star pivot Aleksander Barkov more time in the offensive zone.

Without Bolland, Barkov is deployed in more of a shutdown role, where he generally excels in. However, with Bolland back, it means Barkov can operate more in the offensive zone. Of course, Barkov will still be used in the defensive zone, but his time will be split more effectively, which should hopefully provide a more balanced system and overall better team.

And with Nick Bjugstad injured, this is the perfect time for Bolland to stake his place in the team, and live up to his contract, and help the Panthers make the playoffs.

  • Chinawall

    Dale Tallon…I wonder if this team will every be successful despite this kind of management? Makes a mistake signing Brian Campbell when he was in Chicago and then goes and acquires him. Low budget teams like Florida should stay away from these drunken spenders.

    • Iain

      Imo, Campbell has been a good signing. If anything, he has helped Ekblad and his development. Of course, he is overpaid, but Campbell overall has been a good player for Florida.

    • VAiN

      I’m guessing you never watch the Panthers. Campbell hasn’t missed a game in his 5 seasons here and has been a steady force the blue line.

      • Chinawall

        I would like to but too painful. How many top 5 selections does it take before you get it right Dale? Even Garth has turned things around

  • Iain

    Bolland had a good game against Nashville. Good in the faceoff, and made some key defensive plays. Maybe he got the memo!

  • Chinawall

    He seems like a good dude…Chicago was happy Tallon came along and took them off their payroll otherwise they would have even been more screwed…

    • Iain

      He was actually traded to Toronto from Chicago for a couple of second rounds picks.

      • Chinawall

        I was talking about Campbell. Leafs were thinking they were playoff bound and knew Bolland was friends with Clarkson so they acquired him to give them leverage. Guess that all didn’t work out too good..

        • Iain

          Apologies! Yes, good point about Campbell and Chicago!

Florida Panthers
James Skelton

James covers the Florida Panthers for Along the Boards. He joined the team in February 2015.

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