Bryan Bickell has been the subject of trade speculation for some time now. He’s struggled with consistency following a tremendous 2013 postseason.
And on Friday, the Blackhawks placed their veteran forward on waivers.
Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that Bickell was placed on waivers at 11 a.m. Bickell has two years remaining on his current contract, which carries a $4 million cap hit per season. If he is not claimed by 11 a.m. Saturday, Bickell will likely go to the Rockford IceHogs; that would give the Blackhawks approximately $950,000 of cap space and the remaining $3.05 million would be buried salary, according to generalfanager.com.
The move came a day after Mark Spector of Sportsnet reported that a possible deal for Bickell between the Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers fell through. Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t want to talk about the move Friday. “We’ll talk more tomorrow. We’ll see what happens between now and then.”
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Asked if Bickell was healthy, Quenneville said he was fine. Bickell struggled with vertigo during the Stanley Cup Final, and at the start of training camp he said he still had symptoms now and then. But on Wednesday, Bickell said he was “feeling better every day.”
“Different things were offset, now they’re getting back set. I’m actually improving,” he said. “I’ve seen a bunch of different doctors to help out in ways. I think we’ve pinpointed what it is. Every day (I) just work on it and get stronger and improve things inside — that I don’t understand — to get better.”
Bickell had a great 2013 postseason and was signed to his current contract a few days after the Blackhawks won the Cup that year. But his play has been inconsistent the past two seasons, which has led to some healthy scratches.
“I mean, Bicks has been a big part of our team for a long time. I think a lot of us either heard about (him being placed on waivers) while we were on the ice or right before practice,” Patrick Kane said. “He’s had some big-time performances for us and sometimes, on a day like this, you’re kind of hoping no one will pick him up, (he can) do what he has to do and be back up here as soon as he can.”