PHILADELPHIA – Brandon Bollig was sitting in his River North-area condo, the one he had just purchased earlier this month, when he got the call: he was traded to the Calgary Flames.
It was obviously a surprise for the Blackhawks fourth liner, who signed a three-year deal with the team earlier this season. Now, he’s heading north.
Bollig was sent to the Flames in exchange for the 83rd overall pick on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft. Considering the Blackhawks’ spot with the salary cap, it wasn’t surprising they moved someone. The team’s about $500,000 over the cap, which is expected to be at $69 million for the 2014-15 season. Bollig’s three-year extension, which begins here in 2014-15, has a cap hit of $1.25 per year.
For Bollig, the news still hadn’t sunk in.
“Obviously it’s a big shock. I was not expecting it,” Bollig told CSN over the phone on Saturday afternoon. “But as a professional I take it for what it is. It’s a business, and I’m excited for my new opportunity.”
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said it was one of those tough decisions teams have to make sometimes.
“I think it’s always tough when you trade a player who’s been part of your group, a regular player for you. but you have to make tough decisions these days. We aren’t the only team that will go through that,” he said following the draft on Saturday. “We wish (Bollig) the best. We helped him along in terms of bringing him out of college, developing him. He made himself an NHL player and we wish him the best, but we have to look at doing things like that to prepare for next year.”
Bollig joins a Calgary team that’s long been known for its physical side. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said he wanted to add size to his lineup.
“Brandon’s a guy that, in a situation where he’s maybe given a little bit more responsibility, a little bit more opportunity, I think there’s still more growth to his game,” Treliving told the media on Saturday. “We’ve got some young people coming in and we want to make sure they’re surrounded by the right people. He’s won a Stanley Cup.”
The Blackhawks gave Bollig his NHL opportunity. It’s tough to leave, especially his teammates that he’s had with the Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs. But Bollig said he’ll “greet” them his way soon enough.
“I’m definitely going to miss my teammates the most. We played in Rockford, we lifted a Cup and with the group of guys here, we’re all very close,” Bollig said. “But it is a business and I’m sure it won’t be he last time I talk to those guys. And I’ll get a couple licks on them when we play here.”