TSN is now reporting that Dave Bolland has agreed to a five year deal with an annual cap hit of 3.375. This is lower than the intial report that had an annual hit of 3.6. I suppose we’ll just have to wait for the Blackhawks to officially announce this signing before we know for 100% certainty.
My best guess is they’re waiting to announce the signings of their restricted free agents together, which should probably come within the next 24 hours or so.
One quick more note about the Bolland contract- Make no mistake, this is NOT a fair market contract. The Hawks paid for Bolland’s potential, not his past performance. It will be interesting to see what the fan (and media) reaction to Bolland next year will be. It’s one thing to be a pleasant surprise scoring a goal once a week while playing on a rookie contract. It’s another to be doing that with $3.375 million next to his name. Just ask Dustin Byfuglien how that went for him.
Byfuglien was a pleasant surprise in the 2007-08 campaign, bouncing back and forth between wing and defense. He notched 19 goals and 17 assists in 67 games after being called up shortly after the season started. His best game was on November 30th against the Coyotes when he had a hat trick and an assist in a 6-1 drubbing of the Coyotes.
Going into last summer, there were significant worries that some team was going to send Byfuglien an offer sheet the Hawks couldn’t afford to match. So instead, they gave Byfuglien a significant raise (a 3 year, $9 million contract) and to go with it, a huge bullseye on his back.
Now, Bolland will have to deal with the same inflated expectations based on his contract. If he becomes a point-per-game player and shutdown center like Steve Konroyd tells everyone he is, then this will be one of the best contracts in the league. But if Bolland is the same player as this past season, then it will be very interesting to see how quick people will throw dirt on him.
It’s taken awhile, but the Hawks off-season is finally starting to kick into gear.