Dreger: Maple Leafs 'don't have the stomach to pay (Dave Bolland) $5-plus million per year'

May 20, 9:26 AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs and pending unrestricted free-agent forward Dave Bolland have publicly indicated their mutual interest in working out a contract extension, but its been clear for a while that the two sides were far apart on the ticket price of Bolland's next deal.

The Maple Leafs have already committed close to $49 million in salary cap space to just 12 players for next season per capgeek.com. With the upper limit of the salary cap projected to come in at $69-70 million for next season and restricted free-agents like Jake Gardiner and Cody Franson still to sign, Toronto won't have much in the way of flexibility going into the draft and free agency. 

All told, Dave Nonis, Brendan Shanahan and company cannot afford to behave in a spendthrift manner while filling out their 23-man roster. Signing Bolland to an extension with a cap-hit of $5 million per season or more, for example, would appear to be a luxury item that falls outside of Toronto's price range. 

Which is essentially what TSN's Darren Dreger suggested in an appearance on TSN1050 radio in Toronto on Tuesday morning:

With Dave Bolland you get what you get provided that he's healthy, and that's going to be the biggest issue for the Toronto Maple Leafs - and for any team. And the negotiation has to be fair, and to this point, the Toronto Maple Leafs don't believe that it is. In terms of the player they're getting in Dave Bolland - they have a great appreciation, would love to keep him - they just don't have the stomach to pay him $5-plus million per year.

Bolland was excellent for the Maple Leafs this season before sustaining a gruesome ankle injury in early November, but he wasn't the same upon his return. If he's healthy he's a useful two-way centerman with a reputation of raising his game in the postseason. In terms of production rate, however, Bolland ranks 227th among the 292 forwards that have played over 2500 even-strength minutes over the past five seasons.  

Jul 1, 11:48 AM

Report: Blues, Panthers 'in the running' to sign Dave Bolland

Jul 1, 11:48 AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs could not come to an agreement with forward Dave Bolland as he heads to free agency at noon. 

Renaud Lavoie reports there are two teams seeking his help:

Bolland missed the majority of last season with a lacerated Achilles tendon due to a cut from a skate and played 23 games for 12 points.

Jul 1, 10:46 AM

Bolland rumors: Panthers may be prepared to offer UFA center more than Leafs (McKenzie)

Jul 1, 10:46 AM

Tap here to access our NHL Tracker, which includes offseason rumors, trades and signings.

Though the hour is getting late in regards to the opening of the unrestricted free agent market on Tuesday at noon, the Toronto Maple Leafs and checking center Dave Bolland are expected to give contract negotiations one last try this morning.

"I think the Leafs are going to go back at it one more time this morning," said TSN's Bob McKenzie during an appearance on the Team 1040 sports talk radio station in Vancouver on Tuesday morning. "They're prepared to give Bolland a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $5 million per year..."

That would seem a fair offer for a forward who has never thrived playing top-six minutes in the NHL, but Bolland could maybe get more elsewhere. In particular, Bolland was originally drafted by Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon and Tallon may be prepared to open the vault in order to assure a reunion.

"The sense seems to be that he'll get at least five years and maybe even more money than he'd get in Toronto in Florida," McKenzie said. "So we'll see how it shakes out there. Bolland will probably have a decision to make and it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up with the Florida Panthers."

Will Bolland take his talents to south beach when the market opens on Tuesday? Or will this all playing out like the Tyler Bozak negotiations did a year ago?

Jun 30, 11:15 PM

Report: Bolland likely heading towards open market, Maple Leafs remain an option

Jun 30, 11:15 PM

Dave Bolland and the Toronto Maple Leafs spent part of Monday attempting to reach an agreement on a contract extension, but it appears as though the center is set to see what's out there on the open market as an unrestricted free agent, as per Darren Dreger of TSN.

However, it's entirely possibly that he will end up returning to the blue and white.

Jun 30, 11:25 AM

Report: Leafs to make final pitch to pending UFA Bolland prior to free agency period opening

Jun 30, 11:25 AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to make a midnight hour pitch to pending unrestricted free agent center Dave Bolland on Monday, before the market officially opens on July 1.

The offer the Leafs are expected to make the checking center is, well, rather exorbitant. Per TSN's Darren Dreger:

Before the 2014 NHL Entry Draft this past weekend, Leafs general manager Dave Nonis addressed negotiations with Bolland. "We still have time to get something done," Nonis said last week per Pro Hockey Talk, "There’s a number and term that we believe is fair, and [Bolland and his agent, Anton Thun] have a different number and different term."

Bolland has reportedly been approached by as many as eight teams during the free agent interview period, so while 5-years and $25 million may seem rich for a third-line center who spent much of the past season convalescing from serious injury, this is just simple economics. For Bolland, the market will bear what the market will bear. 

Jun 26, 6:26 PM

Leafs GM Nonis on negotiations with Bolland: 'We haven’t been able to find common ground'

Jun 26, 6:26 PM

Toronto Maple Leafs checking center Dave Bolland, a pending unrestricted free agent, is generating a good deal of interest during the opening days of the free agent interview period. Bolland's camp has apparently heard from as many as eight NHL teams, with his agent Anton Thun admitting Wednesday that six teams had already contacted him to express their interest in Bolland.

So where does that leave the Maple Leafs? They're not necessarily out of the game, even if they've been reluctant - to this point - to offer Bolland the sort of term and money that he's looking for. 

Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis provided an update on the status of negotiations with Bolland while speaking with reporters in in Philadelphia, Pa. on Thursday. Per Jason Brough of Pro Hockey Talk:

It’s not that we’re not speaking to each other. It’s at this point we haven’t been able to find common ground for a deal. … There’s a number and term that we believe is fair, and [Bolland and his agent, Anton Thun] have a different number and different term.

We still have time to get something done. Whether that happens or not — last year, we were in a similar situation with Tyler Bozak and he ended up signing — whether we get to that or not remains to be seen.

As for what the Leafs, already thin down the middle of their forward group, will do as a "Plan B" should Bolland join another club in free agency? "Your only Plan B is going to be the players you have under contract," Nonis said, which should at least bring a smile to the face of Toronto Marlies center Peter Holland.

Jun 25, 5:37 PM

6 teams express interest in Leafs' Bolland, but 'a tie probably goes to the Leafs' says agent

Jun 25, 5:37 PM

With the NHL's free agent interview period opening on Wednesday, a rush of teams have called Dave Bolland's agent Anton Thun to express interest in his client. 

"I've had six teams contact me today," Thun told Jeff Blair and Elliotte Friedman on the Sportsnet 590 the Fan on Wednesday afternoon. "I believe there's at least a couple others that have not contacted me that will have some interest."

One of those teams, is reportedly the Vancouver Canucks per Vancouver- based radio station News1130. Vancouver would make sense as a landing spot for Bolland, despite his history of antagonizing several Canucks star players, since the Canucks are thin down the middle and could get even thinner at pivot due to an anticipated Ryan Kesler trade.

As for whether or not Bolland could return to the Leafs next season, Thun was noncommittal.

I'm going to continue to listen to and receive phone calls from other general managers who've expressed interest from other clubs, and I'll continue to listen to the Leafs interest. If the Leafs interest basically comes together in terms of term, and contract value in total, and the no-trade opportunities, and the signing bonus to David's liking then he'll sign with Toronto.

And if the Maple Leafs and another team field similar offers for the highly-regarded checking center? "If there's a tie, it probably goes to the Leafs," Thun admitted.

The question remains though, will any teams meet Bolland's hefty reported asking price?

Jun 25, 8:28 AM

Report: Maple Leafs' Dave Bolland asked for a '7 or 8 year deal'

Jun 25, 8:28 AM

Free-agent forward Dave Bolland is reportedly looking to remain in a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform for a very, very long time:

The Maple Leafs and Bolland remained apart on talks Tuesday night. Bolland's agent Anton Thun told Sportsnet: "We can’t force the Leafs to accept our terms."

Jun 24, 4:21 PM

Report: Maple Leafs, Dave Bolland remain apart in contract negotiations

Jun 24, 4:21 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs and center Dave Bolland remain apart in contract negotiations, as the both sides look to reach a resolution to keep the hometown boy in the blue and white.

This from Bolland's agent, Anton Thun, on the state of the contract negotiations, via Sportsnet:

Our position hasn’t changed a whole heck of a lot.

...

At this time it’s just not coming together. We can’t force the Leafs to accept our terms.

Bolland is coming off a season in which he was limited to just 23 games after suffering a severed tendon on the outside of his left ankle.

The 28-year-old made $3.375-million last season. Given the state of the market for centers, Bolland would likely command a raise as a free agent.

Jun 13, 11:15 AM

Report: Maple Leafs' Bolland will test market if deal can't be reached before July 1

Jun 13, 11:15 AM

While there appears to be mutual interest between Dave Bolland and the Maple Leafs in regards to extending his stay in Toronto, the forward appears set to test the market if a deal can't be reached prior to July 1.

Jonas Siegel of TSN reports talks are ongoing between the two sides, but, despite his desire to continue to play down the street from home town Mimico, ON, the 28-year-old is more than willing to explore his options should the two sides remain at a stalemate once the free agency period begins.

Bolland is believed to be seeking a deal worth upwards of $5-million, a number Toronto appears reluctant to offer.

May 27, 9:02 AM

Dave Bolland: 'I want to be a Leaf until my career is done'

May 27, 9:02 AM

Toronto Maple Leafs forward and pending unrestricted free agent Dave Bolland joined the Brady and Walker morning show on Sportsnet 590 the Fan on Tuesday morning, and was definitive about his interest in remaining a Maple Leaf.

"I hope so, I hope I can stay here," said the checking center.

"When you go to July 1st you can shop around - it's one of those things you get when you're 28, but for myself I want to get something done here. I want to be a Leaf until my career is done."

The Memorial Cup and two-time Stanley Cup champion managed 12 points in 23 games with the Maple Leafs this past season, but had his season cut short by a severed tendon on the outside of his left ankle. Bolland rushed to return from the injury but wasn't particularly effective in his final eight games of the season.

Bolland admitted on Tuesday that he's still in the process of regaining strength in the wake of his injury, so any long-term contract he signs will carry a good deal of risk. The soon-to-be 28-year-old (June 5) is reportedly looking for a contract with an average salary of $5 million, which represents a dollar amount the Maple Leafs reportedly have little interest in meeting. 

"Come July 1st I do have that option (to shop around)" Bolland explained Tuesday, "but for myself, one of my top priorities is to stay [in Toronto]." 

Clearly there's mutual interest here, but the question is: can Bolland and the Maple Leafs find a dollar amount that's palatable to both sides?

May 15, 1:59 PM

Bolland's agent: 'Toronto definitely is a consideration'

May 15, 1:59 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs, thin down the middle of their forward group, want to bring pending unrestricted free-agent center and "local boy" Dave Bolland back into the fold. "This is a guy we want to have back," Leafs president of hockey operations Brendan Shanahan made clear on Wednesday per the Toronto Sun. "But any time you are a UFA, there are other factors involved. He’s got to want to play for us, as well."

Bolland, for what it's worth, appears open to remaining in Toronto; but not necessarily for well below his market price. "David has said all along that Toronto definitely is a consideration," Bolland's agent Anton Thun told the Sun. "At the same time, there are other considerations involved here - things such as market value along with other factors."

The gritty checking center is probably best suited to third-line duty, but is seeking a deal in the ballpark of $5 million per season. In a 2014 unrestricted free-agent market relatively devoid of talented centermen, it doesn't seem like a totally unreasonable ask.

The Maple Leafs have nearly $49 million in committed salary against a salary cap projected to fall somewhere in the neighborhood of $69-70 million. While there's a small handful of restricted free-agents in line for a major raise - Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson in particular - the bigger issue is that the roughly $49 million is committed to just 12 players. That leaves the Maple Leafs with roughly $20 million to spend to fill out the remainder of their 23-man roster.

Considering their bind, and the commitment the team has made to the likes of Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul, David Clarkson, James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel - all of whom are signed beyond the 2017-18 NHL season to contracts with cap-hits in excess of $4 million - does a lucrative extension for Bolland factor into their plans?

It sure sounds like it. "I'd like to get him signed," Shanahan said. "He's the type of player we need."

Feature photo courtesy of reuters/Bob Grabowski

Feb 26, 9:00 AM

Report: Dave Bolland seeking $5-million per year in new deal from Maple Leafs

Feb 26, 9:00 AM

Toronto Maple Leafs center Dave Bolland is in the final year of his current contract, and, according to Darren Dreger of TSN, is seeking upwards of $5-million per year on a new, long-term contract with the team.

As per Dreger, the Maple Leafs therefore have a tough decision to make, as "they would rather pay him in the $4 million range than the $5 million range."

Bolland has been limited to 15 games this season due to severed tendon in his ankle, and has recorded six goals, four assists and 27 shots in 16:15 of average ice time since joining the Maple Leafs.

Dreger suggests the possibility of trading Bolland rather than risk losing him as a free agent this summer, but Toronto would be looking to "make a hockey deal and not a trade that would include draft picks coming back the other way."

Feb 4, 11:13 PM

Leafs F Bolland to discuss future with organization soon

Feb 4, 11:13 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs will begin negotiations with pending free agent Dave Bolland in the near future, according to Darren Dreger. The forward is playing out the last year of a five-year, $16.8 million contract he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009.

Dreger outlined three scenarios for the forward on Insider Trading Tuesday, "They're going to negotiate relatively soon, find out what his number might be to avoid free-agency... Number two, if they don't like the number... they might keep him as an 'own rental' to push for the playoffs... or three they trade Dave Bolland."

Bolland has missed the majority of the season due to an ankle injury and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

Nov 24, 9:06 AM

Report: contract talks have begun between Maple Leafs and centers Bolland, McClement

Nov 24, 9:06 AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly opened contract talks with checking centers Dave Bolland and Jay McClement. 

"Everyone is talking about the Phaneuf contract," CBC reporter Glen Healey said on Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove segment on Saturday. "But one thing that should be noted is that there's other people who have to get signed by Toronto, and Bolland and McClement - the talks have begun for these players."

Both McClement and Bolland are Ontario born players on expiring contracts. 

Signed as an unrestricted free-agent in the summer of 2012, McClement is ideally a fourth-line center at even-strength and a penalty-killing specialist. This season, McLement is averaging over 4 minutes of short-handed ice-time per game and logging nearly 80 seconds more per contest in shorthanded situations than the next closest NHL centerman.

Bolland had flashed his top-six caliber game in 15 contests with the Leafs earlier this season. The two time Stanley Cup winner was cut by the skate of Canucks winger Zack Kassian in early November, however, and hasn't played since. 

Bolland is expected to be on crutches for another couple of weeks, and isn't likely to return to the lineup before the New Year.