Apr 24, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) shake hands after game five of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Penguins 2 – 1 in overtime to advance to the next round. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
2014-15 record: 43-27-12
Postseason fate: Lost in Eastern Conference first round, 4-1 to New York (Rangers)
Cap space at this moment: About $13.7 million
Ah, the Penguins. You might’ve noticed the majority of these potential trade destinations are in the Eastern Conference. Reason being, the hard-hitting, smash-mouth style seems to be more prominent out there, and Bickell is a big body who has done a fair amount of hitting. It wouldn’t be crazy to see Bowman sell Eastern Conference teams on these observations, even though Bickell isn’t going to be named the NHL’s most physical player any time soon.
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But back to Pittsburgh. The Pens feel like they can contend for a Stanley Cup every year because they have the bandaged-up remnants of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, so for them to go after Bickell as a final piece toward making another run isn’t so far-fetched. Beau Bennett and Blake Comeau are Pittsburgh left wings currently without contracts for the 2015-16 season, and neither are exactly world beaters on the offensive end. You know the Pens will try to make some moves this offseason, because they always do (Brandon Sutter is apparently on his way out already), so why not have Bowman call over to Pittsburgh and try to sell the Pens on Bickell?
Have any other suggestions for landing spots for Bickell? Or do you think he’ll be a Chicago Blackhawk for the 2015-16 season? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.