He cashed in last summer after a standout playoff performance for the Chicago Blackhawks.
This time around, Bryan Bickell appears more focused on getting into better shape, with the goal of being a more consistent offensive threat not just in the post-season, but the regular season as well.
“I think this is a big summer for me to get in shape and to be more of a regular-season guy, not just a playoff guy,” Bickell said earlier this week, as per ESPN Chicago.
After nine goals and 17 points in 23 games during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, which ultimately ended with a championship for Chicago, Bickell re-signed with the Blackhawks for four years at $16 million and an annual cap hit of $4 million. His breakout playoffs combined with a huge raise in salary left Bickell as one of the players under pressure heading into this past regular season.
But his numbers during 59 games this past regular season didn’t even match up to what he the previous spring. Just 11 goals and only 15 points. His decline led head coach Joel Quenneville to call him out, saying the Blackhawks needed more out of the big and now 28-year-old power forward. He was eventually made a healthy scratch.
A knee injury midway through the season certainly could’ve played a substantial part in his low contributions, although when the playoffs began in April, he once again seemed to thrive, with seven goals and 10 points in 19 games.
Said Quenneville to ESPN Chicago: “We’d like to see more consistency out of him.”