Bryan Bickell’s nightmarish campaign hit a low on Sunday, as he was dropped from the lineup in a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg and replaced by defenseman Michael Kostka — who played his first NHL game at forward.
“Coach’s decision,” Joel Quenneville said of Bickell’s scratch, per ESPN Chicago. “We need a lot more. We’re looking for more.”
Bickell, who signed a four-year, $16 million extension after his stellar Stanley Cup run, has struggled mightily under increased expectations. Missing 14 games with a knee injury hasn’t helped things but, even when healthy, Bickell has yet to find the form that saw him score nine goals and 17 points in 23 games last postseason, emerging as a key power forward en route to Chicago’s second Cup in four years.
The 27-year-old was minus-6 in 11 games prior to the Winnipeg contest, scoring just one goal. Quenneville had trimmed his minutes significantly, holding Bickell under 10 in each of Chicago’s last six games before finally dropping him in favor of Kostka on Sunday.
Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.
Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.
Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.
Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)
While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)