2013 Blackhawks Report Cards: Bryan Bickell
Today we look at the man who cashed in on one hell of a playoff run, Bryan Bickell.
Standard Regular Season Stats
|Scoring Stats||Goals||Assists||Ice Time|
Advanced Regular Season Stats (5 on 5)
Standard Playoff Stats
|Scoring Stats||Goals||Ice Time|
Advanced Playoff Stats (5 on 5)
|GP||TOI/60||Corsi Rel QoC||Corsi QoC||Corsi Relative||Corsi On||On-Ice Sh%||On-Ice Sv%||PDO||Pens Taken/60||Pens Drawn/60||Off Zone Start %||Off Zone Finish %|
I guess if I was into gloating and saying I told you so, here would be the perfect situation. But lucky for all of you, I am above that and don't feel the need to announce every time I am right.. But now the bar is set for Bicks. He won't be catching anyone by surprise with a 60 foot wrister. He will be looked at for bigger contributions and bigger minutes. My guess is he will be on the top line with Captain and Hoss. He will have to prove that his playoff success was more than good timing and that he wasn't just playing for a new contract.
Enough about the future, that will play out, we are here to evaluate Bryan Bickell's 2013 season. Bickell only scored 9 G during the regular season equaling his goals during the playoffs, Bickell spent most of the season with Andrew Shaw and Viktor Stalberg, and it seemed like the comparisons between Bickell and the latter would be on from the beginning. Bickell brings something the Blackhawks have struggled to find the last few seasons, maybe since Dustin Byfuglien left, and Bickell is finally starting to show the snarl they have been sorely missing.
Bicks placed 47th in the league in hits with 108 edging out Brent Seabrook by 2 hits. Now, without trying to sound like a meathead, the Hawks need more of a physical presence. That's not saying they need to run around hitting everything but so much of the Hawks game is quick puck movement and skill that Bickell can bring something few other guys on the roster can, especially as a forward by using his size to get in the dirty areas.
Lord Byron netted a game winning goal on April 6th in Nashville, but really started to turn on his game towards the end of the season were he had 6 of his 23 points (3 G, 3 A) in the last 9 games of the regular season. But the playoffs are were Bickell shined. So much that for a while he was being talked about as a Conn Smythe candidate. While he obviously didn't win the most awkward trophy to carry in sports, without him there is no way the Hawks would have won the Cup.
He opened up the playoffs with a game winning goal against the Wild and followed it up with another goal in game 2. Bryan would go on to record 4 points in the first series, and 16 points throughout the playoffs (career high), finished tied for 4th in the league with 9 playoff goals. He scored goals in three straight games against the Kings, including a game winner in game 2.
His most important goal came in game 6 against the Bruins where with 1:16 left before a dreaded game 7, Patrick Kane carried the puck into the Boston zone and got a shot off on Tuukka Rask, which he turned away to the corner. The puck was jostled in the corner until Jonathan Toews was able to pick it up. Toews skated towards the net and somehow was able to slide a pass across the front of the net to Bickell who slammed it home to tie the game. Bickell's reaction was priceless, screaming gap toothed complete and utter joy.
During the Kings series is apparently where Bickell suffered a grade 2 sprain of his knee, which of course we only found out after the Hawks won the cup. Bickell also suffered a torn tendon in his left thumb which he recently had surgery to repair. He should be fine before the season starts but it is something to keep in the back of the collective minds. Because like I said at the beginning, next season is a pretty important one for Bickell and the Hawks. His minutes will increase and has the weight of a $16 million contract to prove himself worthy of riding on his shoulders.
Hopefully he won't get fat of his new contract like Byfuglien (literally and figuratively) and show that he can stick with the big boys. If he can he is going to open up space for guys like Toews, Marian Hossa, Kane to do what they do best. If he can get to the net and make life easier for those guys above then he will be worth every penny of the $4 mil/year he is now making. Bickell probably couldn't have gotten more money somewhere else but took a deal to stay with the team that drafted him and a team he obviously enjoys being a part of.
Final Grade: A+