After making his NHL debut on Feb. 29, Brandon Bollig would average just under six minutes per game in 18 games. He didn't record a single point during the regular season, finishing minus-2 while delivering 27 hits and racking up 58 penalty minutes. He played in four of the six games vs. the Coyotes where he scored his first goal in Game 2. He was credited with five hits in the series and was tagged with 19 penalty minutes.
Boden's take: The Blackhawks got an overall upgrade when John Scott was dealt to the New York Rangers for a fifth-round draft pick at the trade deadline. Bollig may not have put the same fear factor into the opposition's thoughts for taking liberties with the Hawks' stars, but he got into more fights than Scott would have, as a result. And boy was the St. Louis native willing, getting into five fights in his first seven games. He was a better skater than Scott, and even had a handful of scoring chances, too. He finally collected his first NHL point with his goal in Game 2 of the Phoenix playoff series.
Myers' take: When the Blackhawks bid adieu to Scott, Bollig became the natural call-up. While Bollig isnt quite as big as Scott (then again, who is), he filled that role just fine. He was a solid skater, scored a goal, and, yeah he fought. A lot. And while Bollig was always the pugilist with a smile on his face, he put some serious hurts on a few opponents. His role obviously diminished as the postseason went on fighting just wasnt a big part of the playoffs outside of that Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series but Bollig gave the Blackhawks the big, bruising player who wasnt afraid to tussle.
Boden: The Hawks signed him as an undrafted free agent two years ago, and he enters this offseason as a restricted free agent. He would be a good investment on a two-way contract to have in reserve at Rockford if he doesn't find a one-way deal anywhere. But if Mayers, Andrew Shaw and Daniel Carcillo are on this club, and especially if a nasty, sizeable defenseman is acquired, one wonders where it would leave Bollig in the numbers game here for what he offers. As constituted now, the roster competition for one forward spot on the four lines is already between Jimmy Hayes, Michael Frolik, Brandon Saad, Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith.
Myers: Bollig got a nice introduction to the NHL and did what he was supposed to do: defend teammates or get them going with a brawl. Will he start next season with the big club? That depends on a few things. One is how he does in training camp. The other is what kind of players the Blackhawks are looking to acquire this summer. Bollig is young, big and willing to take the punches for his team. He should at least get a serious look if he has a good camp.
How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out highlights of Bollig above.
Up next: Andrew Shaw
The Blackhawks have agreed to bring back forward Brandon Mashinter and defenseman Michal Rozsival on one-year deals, the team announced Thursday.
It's a $575,000 cap hit for Mashinter and $600,000 for Rozsival, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.
Mashinter, 27, scored four goals and one assist in 41 regular-season games during his first year with the Blackhawks last season. Rozsival, 37, registered one goal and 12 assists in 51 games last year.
The moves give the Blackhawks cheap depth up front and on the back end along with flexibility heading into free agency, which officially opens at 11 a.m. CT on Friday.
With the signings, the Blackhawks now had 19 players (10 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders) under contract for the 2016-17 season. They have $5.215 million in cap space to fill out the rest of the roster, per generalfanager.com.
Matt Davidson is finally joining the big league team.
The White Sox announced ahead of Thursday afternoon's game against the Minnesota Twins that they recalled Davidson from Triple-A Charlotte, his first promotion to the major leagues since he was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks following the 2013 season.
He was in the White Sox lineup on his first day in Chicago, starting as the designated hitter and batting eighth.
Davidson appeared in 31 major league games with the D-backs during the 2013 campaign, posting a .237/.333/.434 slash line with three homers and 12 RBIs. The White Sox sent Addison Reed to Arizona in exchange for Davidson the ensuing December.
Davidson has played in Charlotte ever since, struggling mightily in his first two seasons there with a .199/.283/.362 line in 130 games in 2014 and a .203/.293/.375 line in 2015. In 75 games this season, Davidson has fared far better, posting a .268/.349/.444 line with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. He made the Triple-A All-Star team, leading the International League with 20 doubles and ranking fifth in RBIs.
Primarily a third baseman, Davidson has appeared at three different infield positions this season in Triple-A.
Davidson takes the roster spot of relief pitcher Matt Purke, who was optioned to Charlotte following Wednesday's game.
Multiple reports indicated that former Bulls center Joakim Noah will join Derrick Rose and sign with the New York Knicks.
Both the Washington Post and ESPN report that Noah is very likely to sign in New York, his hometown. ESPN's Marc Stein went so far as to say that other teams have already accepted that Noah is all but a done deal to sign with the Knicks.
And according to Tim Bontemps from the Washington Post, Noah's deal with the Knicks will have "a starting salary somewhere in the $18 million per year range," a large but not insane number considering the league's salary cap explosion this summer.
The Vertical's Shams Charania added that Noah will meet with Phil Jackson and the Knicks when free agency begins Friday night.
Noah would fill a void at center left by the Knicks' trade for Rose, which shipped center Robin Lopez back to Chicago. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games last season before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. Noah spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls and was named Defensive Player of the Year just three short years ago.
But he fell out of grace with Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who opted to bring Noah off the bench for the first time in his career. It was largely assumed that both Noah and Pau Gasol would not return to a Bulls team that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.
Teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1, and can sign free agents beginning July 6.