All it took for Bryan Bickell to get back in the mix was an injury to Andrew Shaw.
And Marian Hossa.
And Artem Anisimov.
And, probably, the pending commencement of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
On Wednesday, Chicago announced it had recalled Bickell from AHL Rockford, getting him back into the rotation with the Blackhawks just two games away from starting their postseason.
The timing probably isn’t coincidental.
Though the aforementioned injuries did open the door for Bickell’s return, it was expected he’d be in the mix in some capacity once the postseason began, given there’s no salary cap in the NHL’s second season.
With money no longer part of the equation, Chicago was free to dig up Bickell’s buried $4M cap hit, and try to coax another strong playoff performance out of him.
Bickell, who hasn’t played with the ‘Hawks since Jan. 8, has done reasonably well in Rockford this season, scoring 15 goals and 31 points in 44 games.
That production never translated to the NHL, though — zero goals, two assists in just 23 games — but there is hope he can replicate some of the form that saw him score nine goals and 17 points in 23 games en route to the ’13 Stanley Cup.