While Chicago Blackhawks fans have focused on the bevy of teams interested in trading for Patrick Sharp, the likelihood of Bryan Bickell being moved has slid under the radar, to some extent. That may change following a tweet by Chicago Tribune Chicago Blackhawks beat writer Chris Kuc this morning.
Kuc cites “a source” as saying the Boston Bruins are interested in acquiring Bickell. The same Boston Bruins who are confusing plenty of fans with their rebuilding-but-not-rebuilding deals over the last several days. And this rumor does nothing to clear the muddy waters.
Bickell is a big body who doesn’t always play like one. He’s coming off his second-highest regular-season point total (28), although the biggest reason for his four-year contract in Chicago — his playoff scoring — took a major hit in 2015 with just five assists and a case of vertigo. His usefulness in these most recent playoffs was essentially limited to hitting, something the Bruins are likely interested in.
There’s more to say about the Bruins right now, however, than there is to say about Bickell. Boston has been very active since the NHL draft’s start, moving Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton and adding Zac Rinaldo. The Bruins also added former Los Angeles goaltender Martin Jones in the Lucic deal, and today they flipped him to San Jose for a prospect and a first-round draft pick.
So it’s not entirely clear what Boston is planning for its immediate future. It appears they desire to remain gritty and able to push opponents off the puck, if the Rinaldo addition and Bickell interest say anything.
One important consideration, however, is that Boston would likely ask Chicago to retain some of Bickell’s salary. The Bruins currently have $64.4 million against the salary cap with some players still to be resigned. Kuc says as much in his trade regarding the Bickell-to-Boston rumor.
The Bruins have certainly shown a willingness to wheel and deal this offseason, and Bickell’s game-tying goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals is likely fresh in the minds of Boston’s executives. Perhaps they want to see if they can turn the tables and get some huge goals from Bickell en route to a return to the playoffs — or more. Though Bickell didn’t do much to impress toward the end of the 2014-15 season, he’s certainly made an impression on the Bruins during his time with the ’Hawks. And with Lucic out, Boston clearly wants to fill its big body quota, maybe to Chicago’s benefit.
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