The Chicago Blackhawks have placed veteran forward Bryan Bickell on waivers for the second time this season, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. The other 29 teams will have 24 hours in order to claim Bickell before he'll clear and be eligible for reassignment to Rockford.
Bickell was also waived by the Hawks in early October just prior to the beginning of the season. The team has been trying to move his contract, which includes a $4 million cap hit through 2016-17, for a while now. There have been no takers via trade, however, and the waivers route has also failed to yield a solution.
The Hawks initially kept Bickell on the NHL roster after he cleared waivers in the fall, but he didn't do much in his early-season stint before the team finally sent him to Rockford. With the IceHogs, Bickell recorded 14 points in 12 games and offered some hope that maybe he was turning his game around.
The old Bickell has never returned, though. In 23 games with the Hawks this season, Bickell has just two assists despite seeing the most offensive zone starts of his career. He's still the big, burly forward who took Chicago by storm during the 2013 postseason, but now the skills and confidence seem completely diminished.
It's hard to imagine anyone claiming Bickell given his struggles on the ice and relatively large financial commitment. More likely, this move is being made to take a flier and, eventually, open up the chance to send Bickell back down to Rockford. By doing that, the Hawks can at least bury $950,000 of his cap hit and soften the blow to their flexibility before the trade deadline. Or, hey, maybe someone will claim him. A man can dream!