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Fantasy Hockey: Bryan Bickell vs. Milan Lucic

By Gail Kauchak
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Dec 6, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left winger Bryan Bickell (29) is escorted to the penalty box after fighting during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

I have a friend at my day job that is your typical meathead hockey fan.   His favorite hockey movie is “Goon” (great movie by the way).  His favorite Blackhawk’s player is Daniel Carcillo.  He seems to measure the success of a game based on fights and hits more than goals scored.  When Jonathan Toews was having a dry spell during last year’s play offs, he told me maybe he should get some teeth knocked out and he’d play better.

I must say that Rich always makes my day a little brighter because he’s willing to talk hockey with me.  Before this recent streak Chicago has been on, he came up to me and said, “You know what the Hawks need to do?  They should trade Bryan Bickell and Michal Rozsival for Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins!”

I was having a bad day, so I bit.  “Why Lucic?” I asked.  Rich ticked off the reasons on his fingers.  “Because he’s a power forward, he can score goals, and he can hit!”  After some thought, I realized that actually makes some sense.  Now Rich rightfully threw defenseman Michal Rozsival in the mix because Milan Lucic ($6 million) is worth more than Bryan Bickell ($4 million).  But just for fun, let’s take a look at these 2 forwards and what they bring to the ice.

Wikipedia describes a power forward as, “a loosely applied characterization of a forward who is big and strong, equally capable of playing physically or scoring goals, and would most likely have high totals in both points and penalties”.

Milan Lucic certainly fits this description.  He is 6’3” and listed at 235 lbs. He plays on Boston’s 1st line, alongside Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.  So far this season he has 5 goals and 8 assists, for a total of 13 points.  But this is somewhat misleading, as apparently this is a newly created line that is still developing chemistry.

We have to look to last season, where Lucic was part of the dynamic 1st line that included Jarome Iginla and David Krejci (Iginla moved on to the Colorado Avalanche, and Krejci has been out due to injury).  Last year, Lucic had 24 goals and 35 assists, for a total of 59 points.  Not too shabby.

Bryan Bickell, on the other hand, is 6’4” and 223 lbs., and currently plays on Chicago’s 3rd line.  He has 4 goals and 7 assists, for a total of 11 points on the season.   This actually isn’t too far off from Lucic.  Bickell had a good game on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, scoring a goal and recording 4 hits (more on hits later).

Last season was a bit of a different story for Bickell.  He only had 11 goals, and 4 assists, for a total of 15 points.  At this point I’m with Rich; I think I’d take Milan Lucic as well.

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The post season is where Bryan Bickell is known to shine, so let’s see how he compares to Milan Lucic during last year’s playoffs.  Bickell had 7 goals and 3 assists (10 pts).  Lucic had 4 goals and 3 assists (7 points).  But Bickell also played in 19 games to Lucic’s 12, so this is pretty much a wash.  Sorry Bicks.

Let’s move on to the other side of being a power forward, the physical side.  Since we all know it’s better to draw penalties than commit them, I’m going to substitute penalties with hits.

So far this season, Milan Lucic is 9th in the league with 89 hits.  That’s an average of 3.18 hits per game.  Bryan Bickell is 88th in the league with 52 hits, for an average of 1.86 hits per game.  Need I say more?  Big advantage to Milan Lucic!

The Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Boston Bruins tonight, and we will be able to see firsthand what Bryan Bickell and Milan Lucic can do.

Well Bicks, all because of Rich you’re on the hot seat tonight.  The puck’s on your stick, what are you going to do with it?

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