The Chicago Blackhawks waived forward Bryan Bickell for the second time this season, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Saturday. Known for a couple of strong postseason performances, Bickell has struggled through the end of last season and the postseason. This season, those struggles continued.
The Blackhawks were said to be making efforts to move him over the summer, but couldn’t find a taker. That lead them to waive him in October. After he cleared, he eventually made his way to the AHl’s Rockford IceHogs.
In 12 games with AHL Rockford, Bickell put up seven goals and 14 points. That success led to a recall. Yet, in the NHL he has no goals and two assists in 23 games while averaging just 9:45 of ice time.
It’s not yet one hundred percent clear if the Blackhawks intend to assign Bickell to the AHL, though that’s probably the most likely scenario, or if it’s another effort to see if someone will claim him. Bickell has another year remaining on his contract with that ugly $4 million cap hit. That makes him an expense AHL player and difficult for another team to pick up unless they have a good deal of cap space and are willing to spend the money.
Moving Bickell to the AHL could give Chicago room to make moves at the trade deadline. With his salary buried, they’ll receive slightly north of $3 million in cap relief.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.