One of the biggest stories coming out of the Chicago Blackhawks and their run to their second Stanley Cup title in the last four seasons was the impact that Bryan Bickell was able to make down the stretch and in the postseason, proving crucial in their playoff success.
It was finally the coming out party for Bickell that many in Chicago had been waiting for. He made an impact physically and on the stat sheet, and was eventually awarded with a four-year deal that establishes him as part of this team’s core moving forward.
The question is whether or not that success will carry over beyond this past spring/summer. Many forget that prior to breaking out, Bickell had been a pretty frustrating player in the previous season, and there were questions about whether or not the Hawks would even want him back when his deal was up, let alone offer him a long term deal.
Bickell has the skill set to be an extremely effective player, though not quite a star. We saw how effective he can be, in multiple ways, and he finally used that skill set to his advantage in 2013. He used his size effectively, and showed his skill for a big man.
While his postseason is looked at as his real success in 2013, his regular season was also solid. He finished with the same scoring rate as he did in 2010-11, when folks thought he was on the verge of a breakout, right before he disappeared for most of 2011-12.
The Bickell was saw in ’10-’11 and last year, including the postseason, is likely the one that the Blackhawks will get on a regular basis. He’s a big guy with good hands, can play the physical game and down around the net. He’s a 20-25 goal scorer. Anything short of a strong followup to a terrific year would be a surprise. Bickell is here to stay.