Bryan Bickell has had a trying season with the Blackhawks.
The forward started the season being placed on waivers in his team’s attempt to give him a wake-up call and ultimately went to Rockford for a month. It seemed to work; Bickell returned to the Blackhawks in December looking to play better. But it didn’t have the desired affect for long. So on Sunday, after clearing waivers, Bickell was reassigned to Rockford again.
So what happens now? Does Bickell have another shot at getting back in the Blackhawks lineup? Coach Joel Quenneville said that’s possible – “I don’t want to deny him an opportunity to come back here and help us,” he said.
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Or, are Bickell’s days with the Blackhawks done? That’s possible, too.
As Bickell returns to Rockford his agent, Todd Diamond, said, “it is a possibility” that Bickell gets a fresh start with another team. Bickell is in the third season of a four-year, $16 million deal – which carries a $4 million-per-year cap hit – he signed out of the Blackhawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup-winning season.
[MORE: Bickell heading back to Rockford]
The Blackhawks have made several attempts to get Bickell’s game back to where it was during that postseason, when Bickell was a pivotal part of that Cup run. He looked good in his early return in December but played fewer minutes as January progressed. His last game was Jan. 8.
Diamond, reached via email, said he believes Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman will do his best to help Bickell.
“Stan is good to his players and if there is a better opportunity I am sure he will bring it to us,” Diamond said. “Trades these days are many times financially driven and that can take time. We will see how things develop this week.”
As for Bickell's health, Diamond said his client is "100 percent healthy." Diamond added that Bickell didn't have vertigo, as originally thought. Instead, Bickell was suffering from an ocular issue.
“It took some time to get the proper diagnosis, as the symptoms were similar to vertigo,” Diamond said.