Less than a week after the fourth line scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Boston, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman on Sunday traded two-thirds of that line in separate deals.
In less than an hour at the NHL entry draft, Bowman sent center Dave Bolland to Toronto for three draft picks and winger Michael Frolik to Winnipeg for two more picks.
Contact information ( * required )
The two trades saved the Hawks roughly $5.7 million. Those deals, combined with buying out of defenseman Steve Montador and winger Rostislav Olesz last week, knocked another $5.5 million off the payroll
That gave the Hawks more than enough money under the salary cap to announce the re-signing of winger Bryan Bickell to a four-year $16 million contract. Bickell's cap hit is $4 million, according to CapGeek.com.
"It feels good," Bickell said. "Chicago is like a second home to me and I'm happy to be back. There's going to be more pressure and they're going to rely on me more, but I know what it takes now.
"It's unfortunate (Bolland) had to go. I've known him a long time and he was a big part of this Cup run. I'm just happy they decided to keep me."
Bolland had one year left on the five-year, $16.875 million contract he signed with former GM Dale Tallon. His cap hit was $3.375 million. Frolik had one year remaining on his contract that carried a cap hit of $2.33 million.
Bolland was quick to tweet: "Thank you for everything Chicago. Such amazing memories. I look forward to playing in front of my home fans wearing the Maple Leaf."
Bolland grew up a Maple Leafs fan in the Toronto suburb of Mimico, Ontario. He was at home watching the draft and golf with Hawks teammate Daniel Carcillo when he learned of the trade.
"I have mixed emotions," Bolland said. "It's sort of an up-and-down roller coaster right now. I'm excited being a Toronto boy and watching the Leafs growing up."
Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said he was the one who initiated trade talks with Bowman via a text message. The Hawks got three draft picks for Bolland: Nos. 51 and 117 this year and a fourth-round pick in 2014.
"He does have that pedigree," Nonis told NHL.com. "Part of having all those banners and Cups is being in the right place and part of it is being the right person. Usually if you're on multiple championship teams it's because you provide something."
Nonis said he talked with coach Randy Carlyle, who is excited to insert Bolland into the lineup. Nonis said Bolland could potentially play in the Maple Leafs' top six, although Bolland admitted last week that was a failed experiment this season when he started as the Hawks' second center.
Only Marcus Kruger is left from the fourth line that combined to score the Stanley Cup-winning goal in the 3-2 victory at Boston last Monday.
Bolland got the goal, the biggest of his Hawks career, with 59 seconds left, just 17 seconds after Bickell's goal tied it.
Kruger now will be looked upon to help replace Bolland at center, either on the third or fourth line. Andrew Shaw likely will get the first shot at the third-line center job.
Replacing Frolik as a penalty killer might prove to be more difficult. Frolik and Kruger formed a 1-2 punch on the PK that was as good as any in the league.
This opens the door wide for Ben Smith if he can show he can kill penalties.
Brandon Pirri, who led the American Hockey League in scoring this season, is a possible candidate to play center on the second line.
Bickell goes from the lowest-paid player on the team with a salary of a little more than $541,000 to the seventh-highest at $4 million.
The 27-year-old Bickell cashed in on his best playoff performance ever when he had 9 goals, none bigger than the one that tied Game 6, and 8 assists.