Before he had even played a game as a Maple Leaf, it was never going to be easy to keep Dave Bolland for more than one season.
When the deal to acquire him was made 12 months ago, Leafs general manager Dave Nonis knew there was only one year remaining on Bolland’s contract at a cap reasonable $3.375 million. And with that term came the risk of losing him this summer if he turned into an impact player.
That risk is very real now that teams around the NHL can kick the tires on the centre who brought much needed clutch and grit to the Leafs in the 23 games he played last season.
And kick they have been doing since it became free and clear to do so at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
According to Bolland’s agent, Anton Thun, it won’t be long before a quarter of the league’s GMs will have already made enquiries about one of the better centres available in this year’s unrestricted free agency cast.