One minute Dave Bolland is scoring the game-winning goal to secure the Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks. The next minute he is enjoying the big parade in Chicago.
And then the team traded him to the Toronto Maple Leaf during Sunday’s the NHL Draft. Such is the business side of that league, where the lowered salary cap for 2013-14 forces teams to clear out valued talent.
Bolland knew his time in the Windy City was short. He fell into a fourth-line role with the Blackhawks last season. Since he earns $3.375 million, he realized he was vulnerable for cap reasons.
“I’m excited to come to Toronto, where my whole hockey career began,” Bolland said in a telephone interview with Toronto scribes. “And it’s exciting to put on the Maple Leafs jersey and play at the ACC in front of Toronto fans where I grew up . . . I’m pretty much at a loss for words.”
Vincent Lecavalier will become a free agent July 5 after getting a salary cap compliance buyout from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Forward Daniel Briere is another player up for bidding after his buyout from the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Boston Bruins let power forward Nathan Horton depart for free agency and various reports indicate the team is shopping young scorer Tyler Seguin as well.
Forwards Cal Clutterbuck, Tyler Kennedy and Michael Frolik changed teams on draft day, due to the cap crunch. Other forwards could suffer the same fate before the dust settles.
The Rangers can’t afford to re-signing pending free agent Ryane Clowe, so the team is looking to trade his negotiating rights. Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis could also hit the market, since the Kris Letang contract extension is squeezing the Pittsburgh budget.
Teams lacking offense but possessing ample salary cap space can get some work done this summer.