In a surprise to absolutely no one, Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has cleared waivers.
The former Stanley Cup hero was placed on waivers on Friday for the purpose of assignment, if need be. Head coach Joel Quenneville stated on Saturday that Bickell will start the season in Chicago. What clearing waivers does, however, is gives the team the option to send him down at any time.
There were rumblings that a team with salary cap space could make a claim on the 29-year old, but it appears that the $4 million cap hit was just too much for teams to eat.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Bickell may have been placed on waivers to give him a “wake-up call” as opposed to an AHL designation. He claims that the waiver placement could also be done to get more teams to potentially negotiate a trade for a player who has put up just 43 points in 139 games over the last two seasons.
Bickell does have a modified no trade clause in his contract, giving him some control over where he his dealt. That being said, should a team actually want to bring him aboard, Bickell may not be against many teams that actually want him on the roster.
Chicago remains over the league salary cap, and is expected to make one or two more moves before the season gets started on Wednesday.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.