Yesterday, my fellow writer Tim Bayer wrote an article about the Toronto Maple Leafs letting forwards Nikolai Kulemin and Dave Bolland test the free agent market. Well, if they are and they don’t plan on re-signing them, there is one avenue the Leafs should explore, for both of them but Bolland especially.
David Staples listed Bolland as a potential player the Oilers could go after in free agency to fill their No.2-3 center role. In my opinion, Bolland looks like the ideal fit for Edmonton. He’s younger than 30 years old and he has the experience of two Stanley Cup rings. For such a young team, that type of experience would be invaluable.
Now, it looks like Bolland will be demanding a lot of money in free agency if reports are to be believed, but it’s not like the Oilers are hard against the salary cap with $21 million to spend and not a lot of expensive players to re-sign, if any. That is why the Oilers should go after Bolland.
Now they could wait until July 1 and try to sign him then, but I think with the Leafs apparently wanting to move up, there could be a package the Leafs could put together. Obviously, the Oilers aren’t going to swap picks just for a player that might not even play for them this season. That is why the Leafs would package a defenseman in the deal.
Now, Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly are out of the question. I’d say that Cody Franson or Carl Gunnarsson would be part of it, but I wouldn’t rule the possibility of an even bigger trade with Dion Phaneuf heading back to his birthplace and a little salary, possibly Sam Gagner, coming to Toronto as well.
If such a blockbuster were to happen, everyone would focus on the bigger name of Phaneuf, but if the Oilers were to acquire Bolland and then sign him to a new deal, it would be a great thing for a franchise that has languished at the bottom of the NHL for so long.
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