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Chicago Blackhawks: Trade Destinations For Bryan Bickell

By Colin Likas
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We at Blackhawk Up have been talking a lot lately about trade destinations for Patrick Sharp. Though we’ve only discussed a couple options for Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks when they do move the beloved winger — and he could easily go to a location we didn’t even consider — Sharp has been the focal point of our “trade discussion articles” here recently.

But we also can’t pretend Sharp is the only ’Hawk under the trade microscope, especially with today’s announcement that the salary cap for the 2015-16 season is set at $71.4 million (the ’Hawks’ current salary cap payroll is $64,045,129). So let’s turn our attention to Bryan Bickell, he of the $4 million cap hit the next two seasons. And he of the one playoff point while dealing with vertigo (or a mishandled concussion … just a thought).

Bickell, Sharp and Kris Versteeg seem like prime targets to be moved in order to make the Chicago Blackhawks competitive both in the present and in the future. While Sharp is drawing plenty of attention ahead of the upcoming NHL draft, we haven’t heard too much about Bickell.

There are a few things to discuss here before we can ask ourselves where Bickell could end up, should Bowman decide to move him. We first need to understand what Bickell would bring to the table for a team (remember, we considered his current contract a reward for his playoff performances; that doesn’t hold as much water after the 2015 playoffs).

To add to that, we need to recognize which teams would see the most benefit in adding what Bickell brings to the table. We also need to recognize that any team that takes Bickell would need to take on his contract, as that would be the prime reason for Bowman to move him.

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  • So, what does Bickell offer at this time? He’s 29-years-old and has played in the NHL for, essentially, five seasons. He posted his second-best career totals in goals (14) and assists (14) during the 2014-15 regular season, and he has played in 87 percent or more of the ’Hawks’ regular-season games four times, the exception being a 59-game campaign in 2013-14. He also hits a fair amount (recognizable in these playoffs as the only thing he could do), tying for 31st among all NHL’ers last regular season with 205 hits.

    And we still have to discuss the playoff success when talking about Bickell. He’s actually been around for all three Chicago Stanley Cups, playing in four games during the 2010 playoffs. But he participated in 60 playoff games over the last three seasons, scoring 16 goals (including two game-winners) and adding 16 assists.

    There are certainly teams in the market for a guy with experience on three Stanley-Cup-winning teams, who actually had a decent offensive season (by his career’s standards) in 2014-15 and who isn’t afraid to throw the body around. The contract would be the main scare point, along with the total lack of offensive production during the 2015 playoffs (though the latter could be explained away, to an extent, by Bickell’s vertigo).

    Essentially, we’re looking for a team that has Stanley Cup playoff aspirations, and one that would like to add a checking-line player with offensive upside. Maybe even someone they can tell to stand in front of the net (though we’ve seen in Chicago, Bickell doesn’t do that very often).

    Before we look at which teams fit this mold, it’s important to note there isn’t a clear asking price on the table for Bickell, as there is (sort of) for Sharp. A couple lower-level draft picks, or possibly a non-NHL-ready player, could be the going rate, as the goal with a Bickell trade would be for the ’Hawks to avoid taking on additional salary.

    With that said, some possible landing spots for Mr. Bickell:

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