Things haven’t gone according to plan for ‘Hawks forward Bryan Bickell this season. He’s been put on waivers twice (went unclaimed both times), and instead of enjoying life in the NHL, he’s riding the buses in the AHL.
If you think he’s frustrated by that, you’d be wrong.
Bickell’s enjoying his time in the minors. He likes the minutes, the production and the fact he’s building his confidence back up to where it needs to be.
“I just want to play,” said Bickell, per The Sun-Times. “Everyone’s going to screw up down the road. Here, I get the minutes and get confidence and have fun. Up there, it wasn’t fun. It was hit or miss. You don’t know if you’re in the lineup or you’re going to play five minutes or play 12 minutes. It was more in my control, but it seemed like it wasn’t. It was a short leash where I couldn’t break through. Hopefully I can break through again.”
Now there’s a positive outlook.
By keeping Bickell in the minors, the ‘Hawks save about $950,000 on the cap. With one-year and $4 million remaining on his contract after this season, it’s unlikely that Chicago will be able to find a taker for his services, but the 29-year-old is still holding out hope that another team will take a chance on him.
“Situations like the situation I’m in right now with the year and the past, where it’s trending, you always think about other teams and what I could bring to the game and help out teams wherever,” added Bickell.
“I’m always going to be a Hawk. It’s a second home for me. If it comes down to it and the trade rumors come around and if I do get traded, I’m going to do whatever it takes for the team to win.”
A buyout may be the most realistic option in his case.
Should the Blackhawks decide to buy him out at the end of the season, they would be on the hook for cap hits of $1 million in 2016-17 and $1.5 million in 2017-18, per General Fanager.