Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Rumors: Bickell To Toronto; Bowman In Montreal

By Colin Likas
Jan 23, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens assistant coach J.J. Daigneault and head coach Michel Therrien and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (28) look on as center David Desharnais (51) yawns and right wing Dale Weise (22) looks on during a ceremony before the game honoring former Maple Leafs player Dave Keon (14) prior to their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens assistant coach J.J. Daigneault and head coach Michel Therrien and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (28) look on as center David Desharnais (51) yawns and right wing Dale Weise (22) looks on during a ceremony before the game honoring former Maple Leafs player Dave Keon (14) prior to their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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No matter how many different Chicago Blackhawks trade rumors we hear about, we always seem to come back to estranged forward Bryan Bickell. That’s the case today, though there’s a little more backup to this Bickell rumor.

According to The (Toronto) Star’s Kevin McGran, the Maple Leafs have expressed interest in Bickell as a means to help the Blackhawks unload the current minor leaguer’s $4 million per season contract, which is in its third year. Of course, it’s not as simple as Bickell just going to Toronto for nothing — the Leafs would request one or more draft picks and one or more prospects in order to take on a player who has seen little success since the 2013 playoff run that landed him his current contract.

Previous rumors have suggested Toronto forward James van Riemsdyk could be a Blackhawks target, and the thought was Bickell could be sent to the Leafs in a deal involving van Riemsdyk. However, JVR, brother of Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, is currently sidelined with an injury until at least next week. So this rumor could simply be a move to get Bickell out of Chicago for future cap maneuverability, not a move to land a game-changing player.

My only concern in a deal to send Bickell away would be what the Blackhawks would have to throw in to get rid of him. Teuvo Teravainen‘s name keeps popping up as a “prospect” who could go along, but I think it would behoove Stan Bowman not to move Teuvo. If he’s really concerned about working toward the Blackhawks’ future, keeping Teuvo around would be a great step toward that. He still projects as a top-liner in the future, and even for now the Blackhawks need his scoring wherever they can get it.

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I still don’t think the Blackhawks are going to move Bickell before the deadline, as they’ll probably have to give up too much in order to send him away. Though they’ll get something back, which is obviously better than getting nothing in return for Bickell’s departure, I think it makes more sense for the team to bite the bullet in the offseason and dump Bickell for nothing. It’s probably safer for the organization’s future.

There’s another “rumor” I want to address real quick, although it isn’t about any particular player. And it’s not so much a rumor as it is something that actually happened Monday.

Those tweets are from Brian Wilde of CTV Montreal and TSN, and they were sent during last night’s game between Montreal and Nashville. While the Predators are still in the playoff hunt, the Habs have struggled mightily with goaltender Carey Price sidelined and appear to be in sell mode as a result. So it’s not totally unusual for opposing team representatives to attend such a team’s game.

What is a little unusual is for an opposing team’s GM to be in attendance. Now, in today’s power rankings, I suggested Bowman and whoever was with him could be looking at defenseman Jeff Petry, but I did not realize until later that Petry is on injured reserve. The Blackhawks have also been linked to forward Dale Weise, but they’re also connected to better winger options who they could probably get at a similar price.

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So, I’m not exactly sure what this means for the Blackhawks. Beyond Petry, the Canadiens don’t possess a boatload of defensemen the Blackhawks conceivably would want. Andrei Markov is old, Alexei Emelin is expensive and not that good, and Victor Bartley is only on the main roster because of injuries. Any legitimate forward outside Weise is going to cost the Blackhawks a few arms and legs. Watch this activity closely, folks.

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