We’ve just about reached September. You all know what that means: it’s almost time for training camp.
But we’re guessing you’ve been pining away for hockey for some time now. Considering that, we’re here to help. We’ll bring you a Chicago Blackhawks player profile (or two) a day. We’ll look at what said player did last season and what the expectations are for the 2014-15 season.
So, without further ado, we bring you our first Blackhawks subject: Bryan Bickell.
A LOOK BACK
Bickell’s stock was high entering the 2013-14 season. So were his earnings, as he signed a four-year deal worth $16 million coming off his fantastic Stanley Cup playoffs. But Bickell’s first season under that new deal didn’t go exactly as planned. He struggled to find the form that earned him that deal and suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for a month in November. He went from top-line wing to third line to out of the lineup when coach Joel Quenneville scratched him several times.
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Bickell never questioned the scratches and showed the proper response at times. In the playoffs he was at his best vs. the Minnesota Wild, scoring four of his seven postseason goals against it. Still, his numbers overall were so-so; he had just 15 points in 59 regular-season games after tallying 23 points in 48 games the previous season.
A LOOK AHEAD
Bickell enters the 2014-15 season as he has so many others: looking for consistency. When he’s good, he’s very, very good. When he’s bad, he can be invisible. The Blackhawks have paid him handsomely and he needs to find steadiness in his game. Bickell must find and keep that physical presence that landed him that big contract in the first place. If he can do that for an entire season he’ll be a great impact player. He’ll also stay in the lineup and out of Quenneville’s doghouse.