Staff Report Cards : Brandon Bollig

It's time to take a look at the 2013-14 Lion.

All situations
5 on 5 on-ice
5 on 5
CF% rel
GF% rel
ZS% rel
Regular Season 82 7 7 14 10.1 7.8 6.40% -12 50.90% -5.60% 48.30% -8.30% 7.20% 90.90% 98.1 18.30% -46.60% 19.70% 0.80% 4.50% 28.30% 27.70%
Playoffs 15 0 1 1 5.8 5 0.00% 0 35.40% -14.20% 12.50% -40.00% 3.40% 87.50% 90.9 18.50% -38.90% 11.90% 0.60% 0.00% 26.20% 28.00%

I don't think anyone or any subject caused more debates in Blackhawks fandom than Brandon Bollig did during the 2013-14 season. Bollig's roller coaster season went from leading the Western Conference in goals for exactly seven minutes to a three year contract extension to being traded to the Calgary Flames on draft day.

Brandon Bollig spent the summer of 2013 in Chicago working on his overall game because he knew that the one dimensional fighters are a dying breed in today's NHL. The hard work did pay off and you saw some major improvements to his game. He finished the season with seven goals which is seven more than he had in 43 career regular season games coming into the year. Bollig was one of only four Blackhawks to play in all 82 regular season games. It still blows my mind that Brandon Saad was a healthy scratch more times than Bollig was this past season. Bollig was an ok fourth liner for a better part of the first half of the season. His season seemed to take a nose dive after the Olympic break and shortly after he got a three year contract extension on March 3rd. I don't know if it was the three weeks away from the game or the new found security but there is no arguing that Bollig was not the same player down the stretch.

The playoffs were not kind to Brandon Bollig. He saw his time on ice average drop from 10:17 in the regular season to just 6:22 in the playoffs. He was suspended for two games in the Minnesota series for a dirty boarding hit on Keith Ballard. He also found himself a healthy scratch for the one and only time of the season but was back in the lineup for the first game of the Western Conference Finals versus the Kings. As the series progressed his playing time decreased. In the final game of the year Bollig had just four shifts for 2:23 of ice time.

Bollig still lacks a real nose for defense even though he was tied with Marcus Kruger for the team lead in defensive zone starts at 50.7%. It seemed like most of the time he was skating around the ice looking to hit someone and hoping he'd end up in the right place. He did lead the team with 203 hits, for what its worth. Was it just me, or did Bollig have a knack to make the majority of hits right by the on ice microphones for maximum effect, as the play was skating the other way?

Most of my issues with Brandon Bollig in the 2013-14 season actually had nothing to do with Bollig himself (well except for some now infamous Tweets), but rather with his usage. It wasn't his fault he played every game while younger, better players like Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith couldn't find the lineup. Hell, towards the end of the season Peter Regin was a better option than Bollig. Joel Quenneville always has a pet goon that he loves to play for a couple of minutes a night. We've seen it with Ben Eager, John Scott and Daniel Carcillo in the past. As Bollig's level of play diminished I couldn't understand what purpose he served on this team and that a player like Jeremy Morin could not offer more. The biggest argument for Bollig to play every night was that he was a "deterrent" but that couldn't be further from the truth. Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith were hit a combined 250 times during the year so Bollig wasn't exactly scaring anybody. When Antoine Roussel was having his way with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was it Bollig who stood up for his team? Nope, it was Andrew Shaw. Most of Bollig's fights were of the staged slap fight variety that we saw him have with the likes of Ryan Reeves and Chris Neil. So if his job was to protect his teammates he didn't do it very well.

If I were to grade Brandon Bollig by comparing him to the rest of the team it will be a very low grade. But, when I grade him based on the expectations I had for him going into the season he marks much better. I give Bollig a C+.