Bolland has step up for next year

Jim Cressman -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- London Knights forward David Bolland is on Canada's radar screen for the 2006 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver. And with good reason.

Bolland reminds Hockey Canada head scout Blair Mackasey of Clarke MacArthur of the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers and the role he's playing in the gold-medal hunt at the 2005 championship.

MacArthur came into the tournament as one of the top scorers in the WHL (14 goals and 41 points), but his role here is different. He's on the energy line, although he's still managed to chip in four goals in three games.

"I would argue that Clarke MacArthur is the best two-way forward in the Western Hockey League," Mackasey said yesterday.

"Coming in, we thought he was a perfect 13th forward. One, he could play on an energy line; two, he's good defensively; and three, if somebody got injured he could step right up and be on your first line, play power play.

"He could do a lot of different things for you."

That's where the similarity to Bolland lies, Mackasey said.

Still 18, the Chicago Blackhawks second-round draft pick has another year of junior eligibility. He attended Canada's summer camp and selection camp and almost made the team for the same reasons MacArthur is here.

"He had a very good summer camp," Mackasey said of Bolland. "He played with a lot of energy and he showed a lot of intensity and obviously he's got good speed and the ability to score goals.

"We brought him back to camp in Winnipeg and he was good again. He's brings that intensity and energy we like. He was real close to making the team this year, to be honest with you.

"We brought him to camp this year thinking he had a legitimate chance of playing. Worst-case scenario, he didn't make the team and he's got the experience for next year's team.

"Next year . . . he's going to be a step ahead of the game."

Mackasey said Bolland got on Hockey Canada's radar screen as a 16-year-old.

"He didn't get a lot of ice and he seemed at times to be still trying to figure it out, and yet you could see the flashes of talent that were there.

"Last year he really came into his own with 37 goals and it was a quiet 37 goals. It wasn't like he was getting a lot of power-play time and those offensive opportunities. He had to earn every one of those 37. That's when I really started to notice him and I really started to pay attention to him.

"(But) I've always enjoyed him as a hockey player. He might have been a sleeper coming in this year, probably because he gets overshadowed a little bit in London with (Corey) Perry and (Danny) Syvret and others," Mackasey said of the two Knights playing for Canada.

Mackasey figures Bolland will have added 20 pounds by this time next year -- which will definitely help his game.

"He just makes things happen. Guys like him and Clarke MacArthur grind things out.

"David is greasy. You see the value of guys like that. He's the kind of kid I think could play any role on this team. He could play an energy role for you and I also think he could step up and play on one of your top two offensive lines.

"He's one of those guys you like to have because of what he can bring. He's very flexible in what he can do. He could play a number of different roles and those guys are very valuable, especially in this kind of tournament.

"One guy goes down injured and you like to have one guy who can play centre, he can play the wing, he can play on an energy line . . . fill in on a top offensive line."

It was through an injury that Perry got to play on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron at camp and that line had nine goals.

Mackasey said it takes all types to build a national team.

"You can't have all goal scorers because then you'd have 22 guys all trying to do the same thing. That's not going to work.

"It's not an all-star game; it's not an all-star team. It's a team built for winning.

"The easy thing to do would be to go down the scoring stats and take the leading scorers from every league and put them all together and say, 'This is our team.' But you're not going to win that way. It's a combination of factors.

"David Bolland is a commodity, he really is a commodity. He's the kind of guy who can be one of your cornerstones as far as building this team for next year.

"He's definitely on the radar screen. Let's put it that way."


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