Whose On Second: Dave Bolland Or Petri Kontiola?

Michael WagnerSenior Analyst ISeptember 16, 2008

The Chicago Blackhawks have quite an interesting situation on their hands, with the departure of Robert Lang the Blackhawks find themselves thin at the center position.  The Blackhawks currently have Jonathan Toews (who will anchor the first line), Dave Bolland, Petri Kontiola, and Adam Burish as their four centers.

Bolland and Kontiola would seem to be the logical choices to compete for for the second line position but let's break them down really quick.

Dave Bolland was drafted with the 32nd pick in the 2004 NHL entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, he continued to play for the London Knights in the OHL until 2006-2007.  Bolland has never been a know for his speed on the ice but has been know for his solid two way play and his heavy shot. 

In the 06-07 season Bolland appeared in 65 games for the Norfolk Admirals in which he posted 59 points.  Bolland then finally got a legitimate shot on the Blackhawks last season, with the injury to Kevyn Adams.  He played in 39 games with Chicago and posted 17 points and a plus-6, he was poised to be the Blackhawks 3rd line center to start the season.

Petri Kontiola on the other hand was not projected to make the Chicago Blackhawks straight out of camp but probably would have been the first option if there was an injury.  Kontiola was drafted by the Blackhawks in the seventh round of the 2004 entry draft and has showed some real promise since coming to America to play hockey. 

Now Kontiola will either be the Hawks second or third line center depending on how well he plays during the preseason as compared to Bolland.

Kontiola does have some advantages over Bolland for the second line spot, he is a playmaker and has some chemistry with Havlat. Bolland is a better two way player, loves to finish his checks and is a gritty type of player.  In the end, Bolland may be the more well-rounded player but Kontiola's style and speed makes him the better fit for the Blackhawks second line. 

Unless the Blackhawks go out and grab a legit second line center, I envision Petri Kontiola being the Chicago Blackhawks second line center.