The results have been quite mixed for Bryan Bickell in his two full years with the Chicago Blackhawks, and it’s almost on a game-by-game basis. Heading into the new season, no one really knows quite what to expect from him.
Bickell was expected to step up into a big role for the Hawks, in a pretty literal sense. He was supposed to take on a Dustin Byfuglien-type role as a big body to plant down in front of the net and play the physical game. That hasn’t really happened to the degree that the Hawks might like.
Though his hit totals the past two years have been pretty impressive, his physical play has been inconsistent. He has a tendency to disappear for stretches and tires to play with a finesse style a bit too often. That’s not his game.
His numbers also fall under the label of ‘inconsistent’. He had just 24 points last year. That type of performance led to Bickell renting a spot in the press box for a stretch early last year. One positive was that for the second consecutive year, Bickell put together a solid performance in the postseason. Which has set the bar higher than it might have been otherwise.
The tools are there for Bickell. We’ve seen flashes of him that indicate that he could be a very solid player. It’s just a matter of piecing that together into something consistent. In order to do that, though, he’ll have to play with the type of physicality that we all know he is capable of providing.
This season is probably make-or-break for Bryan Bickell. He’ll have to perform with some consistency, and will have to outplay the likes of Jimmy Hayes if he wants to secure a spot on this team moving forward.