FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Brandon Bollig

Brandon Bollig was acquired by the Calgary Flames at the 2014 NHL Draft. It was Brad Treliving’s first transaction as general manager.

Bollig has just completed the second season of his current three-year deal that pays him $1.25 million against the salary cap. He played primarily on the fourth line. He was healthy scratched for roughly a third of the season. When he did play, he was okay.

SEASON SUMMARY

Bollig played 54 games for the Flames in 2015-16, and was a healthy scratch for 28 games.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • October: 10 games, 2 scratches, 8:31 per game, 10 shots, 1 goal, 1 point
  • November: 7 games, 5 scratches, 8:10 per game, 9 shots, 0 points
  • December: 3 games, 10 scratches, 8:50 per game, 2 shots, 1 assist, 1 point
  • January: 5 games, 6 scratches, 10:00 per game, 6 shots, 0 points
  • February: 9 games, 5 scratches, 8:58 per game, 10 shots, 1 assist, 1 point
  • March: 16 games, 0 scratches, 9:56 per game, 15 shots, 0 points
  • April: 4 games, 0 scratches, 10:43 per game, 4 shots, 1 goal, 1 point

The thing coaches probably like about Bollig is he’s fairly steady. Some of the other, younger players are a bit all over the place consistently. But Bollig was often in and out of the lineup, but when he was in he played his 8-10 minutes per game and generally got a shot on goal per game.

He was never a great possession player, particularly as a sparingly-used bottom-six winger. Below is a 10-game rolling average of his Corsi For percentage. (He played much better in March, but he fell off a cliff again at the back-end of the season when the team shuffled things up and brought in some rookies on recalls.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 7.39.18 PM

On a team that wasn’t great possession-wise, he was a 45% Corsi For player (more or less).

IMPACT ON TEAM

As a fourth liner, Bollig was one of the club’s most sheltered players in terms of facing weak opposition and one of the most buried in terms of offensive zone starts. Of the club’s regular forwards, nobody faced fourth liners more frequently (when he was in the line-up). Of the team’s regulars, only Matt Stajan started more frequently in the defensive zone.

Based on his circumstances (primarily facing the worst players on other teams), you’d expect Bollig to do okay in terms of possession stats. He didn’t, which means a combination of himself, his teammates and his zone starts was enough to crater his numbers. Particularly later in the season, Bollig’s line was usually good for a couple offensive rushes per game and maybe a good chance every game or two, but generally he spent most of his time in the muck of the defensive end.

bollig

Bollig was better together with Wideman and Russell, and made them better, too. (Don’t get too excited, as Wideman and Russell weren’t particularly good overall.) He dragged down Engelland, Hamilton, Bouma and Stajan. He was dragged up by Nakladal, Jooris, Giordano and Brodie (who all got a little bit, or a lot, worse as a consequence).

In short? Bollig faced fourth liners, primarily in the defensive end, and for a few reasons almost everyone he played with had worse underlying numbers than they did otherwise. Granted, that’s not out of the ordinary for fourth liners, but it’s still sub-optimal.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

The 2016-17 season will be the third and final year of Bollig’s current contract. He’ll likely do what he’s done during his tenure in Calgary. When he plays, he’ll be on the fourth line and play a few minutes a night. When he doesn’t play, he probably won’t make a big fuss – he sat for 28 games this season and never seemed to mope about it – and his isn’t a huge cap hit to keep in the press box.

In the event that the Flames have a youngster that they want to get onto the NHL roster, Bollig’s also not a huge expense to bury in the AHL, either. His performance in training camp and October will probably dictate how much longer he’s in the big league.

  • beloch

    Honestly, Bollig looked better to me this season than last season. At hockey, at least. His speed seemed better and he even made the occasional decent play. However, even though he’s improved, he’s still not particularly good at hockey, which is something to be tolerated in an enforcer.

    Only, Bollig didn’t really do much enforcing this season. There didn’t seem to be much call for it. The role of the pure enforcer seems to have declined precipitously, and the Flames have better hockey players (e.g. Ferland) capable of getting nasty when required. So, if Bollig is not really needed as an enforcer, what is he on the roster for?

    Next season, Bollig is going to play fewer NHL games. He might even be sent down to the AHL. The Flames simply have too many young up-and-coming forwards looking for NHL minutes. We might see Bollig used in a few games against goonish rivals such as the Canucks, but probably not a lot of games beyond that.

  • jakethesnail

    Bollig’s cap hit not really hurting the Flames. With Johnny getting roughed up in a lot of games last season, there is a role for an enforcer type but Bollig was MIA. As a player that is not in the lineup every game I can tolerate him for one more year leading to the TDL.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Pretty hard to enforce after the fact. Bollig would need to face the guy that roughed up Johnny on the ice at the end of his shift. When you start something like that, you are the one getting sent to the sin bin. That solves nothing.

      The enforcement will need to come from the defense on the ice for an incident or the forwards. That’s the only way pushback can happen without risking a penalty.

      What I really didn’t like was our goalies getting run and nobody sticking up for them. Snow shower? You get a little tap in the back of the foot. Run the goalie? Smell the glove. I don’t recall Bollig doing much of that.

      • jakethesnail

        If Zack takes liberties with our players you push back by banging RNH or McD, as an example. Not necessary to punish the perp of the crime against Johnny!

        As for the goalies, I agree! Didn’t Gilles and Ramo both get injured when they were

        • everton fc

          Engelland’s more valuable in this role than Bollig – better player, and a better scrapper, as well. Ferland is also capable of the same. Do we really need three?

          Bury him on the farm, and if need be, call him up. But again, I’m not seeing the “need be” here.

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          I don’t worry about the Coilers that much. They don’t have much of a physical presence on the ice. Sammy can bang the crap out of McD, Nuge, Eberle and Hall, assuming any of them are still here.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Bollig’s contract feels like the longest three year contract of all time. Every year I keep thinking/hoping it will be the last. Nope, still more to go.

  • Brodano12

    Bollig is a great 14th forward. Stays on the bench most nights and is definitely not good enough to be a regular, but when he is called upon to play, he plays simple consistent game. At 1.25 million, he’s far from the most overpaid player on our roster and from what I’ve seen, he’s very well liked in the locker room.

  • The Fall

    Bollig is fine. he knows his role and is happy to play 40 games a season.

    He got two goals in 11 playoff games last year and had 15 shots. That’s the same number of shots as Hudler.

    • FireScorpion

      40 games. If only. He’s played 62 and 54 in 2 seasons here. But hope he’s enjoyed it as I bet the new coach will have more sack than Hartley and realize Bollig doesn’t bring anything.

      I can’t believe you even compared Bollig to Hudler actually

  • Brick

    Penalties be damned…if someone is running Johnny, they should have a target on them and pay a price…same goes with our goalies…we need an enforcer that actually does that…

    • everton fc

      Odds are higher Engelland’s on the ice, same time as Johnny, than Bollig. And Engelland is a better scrapper than Bollig, not to mention a better hockey player. Engelland can still go with guys like Reeves – another obsolete player in the league…

      And then there’s Ferland…

      Again, why the need for Bollig? I’d rather have a guy like Jooris, or even Hathaway, as my #14 (Or Agostino, for that matter – someone who can actually play minutes and provide offence. And I like Bollig, by the way…)

  • The Last Big Bear

    I’d prefer a player rather than an enforcer in that spot. Especially if he’s not going to deter or punish any transgressions.

    Give me a Kris Draper type versatile grinder, or even a Paul Byron style role-player (ie PKer, or energy player, whatever).

    But I’m not super keen on a guy who is consistently good at not being very good.

  • loudogYYC

    Brandon ‘effin’ Bollig.. The manicured 4th liner who needs sheltered minutes, doesn’t play special teams, doesn’t fight, doesn’t intimidate, isn’t versatile enough to move up the lineup and still collects over twice the league minimum salary…

    Even though giving up a 3rd was way too much, I get why Treliving did it. You have to give this type of player a chance but 2 seasons later it’s clear as day this guy is barely an NHLer. If Tree can flip him for anything higher than a 6th l’ll be happily impressed. Make room for players under 25 for that type of role.

  • smatic10

    I don’t blame Tree too much for this trade. I get why it was made. Acquiring a rugged, good sized 4th liner with a good shot in his prime. Not to mention he came from an elite organization and was known to be a good personality in the locker room.

    But yeah…..Apart from two goals in the playoffs, he hasn’t really done anything positive on the ice in his time here. Maybe a new coach can do wonders for him. If next season, he can contribute 5 goals, 3 assists, be a hard forechecker, and not take stupid penalties….I can deal with him being the extra forward on this team until his contract runs out.

  • freethe flames

    Hopefully the new coach will be able to identify who can and cannot play and use guys in an appropriate manner. If so then Bollig will be a nice veteran for the Heat.(A step up from Colton Orr)