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May 25, 2012 | 10:06am ET
Trading Bolland could be beneficial
TheFourthPeriod.com

After the Blackhawks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season, ESPN Chicago wondered if the time has come for the team to trade its core group that won the franchise its fourth Stanley Cup after a 49-year championship drought.

While the core includes captain Jonathan Toews, forwards Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland, and defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, GM Stan Bowman had stated that he would prefer to keep it intact, though many wonder if a trade could improve the team.

"It's really difficult to remove one of those pieces, unless you have somebody that can fill that person's spot," Bowman said at the end of the season.

Though it appears almost impossible that the Hawks would move top forwards Kane, Hossa and Sharp, ESPN Chicago believes that Bolland might be interesting trade bait to use to get a considerable return to upgrade the team's roster.

The 25-year-old is a great two-way player who appears to be satisfied with a third-line center role. Though he has struggled offensively, posting 19 goals and 18 assists for 37 points in 76 games this season, he could have value on the market and help the Hawks fetch the legitimate second-line center they desperately need.

Meanwhile, if Bolland moves, it allows young forward Marcus Kruger, who could take on that third-line role, where he might be more productive than on the second line.

Bowman could investigate the possibility of acquiring Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jordan Staal, who could find himself on the trade market if the Pens choose to step away from the three-center blueprint.

The 23-year-old has one year remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $4 million and is set to become an unrestricted free-agent after next season along with captain Sidney Crosby.

Staal would be an ideal fit for the Hawks, providing net presence on the power-play as well as great support on the penalty kill. He could be the piece the Blackhawks need at the center of the second line to boost the offense, after posting 25 goals and 25 assists for 50 points in 62 games this season.

However, Bowman would have to part with more than just Bolland, possibly having to offer top prospect Brandon Saad along with another prospect and one or two first-round picks. The Penguins could also demand forward Nick Leddy or defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

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