The Chicago Blackhawks have been trying to free themselves of Bryan Bickell's contract for some time now. They have, however, been unsuccessful at every turn. Here's what sounds like another failed trade deadline attempt.
According to Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts (#6), the Hawks wanted Dan Hamhuis - and were trying to use Bickell's contract to get him.
The Blackhawks’ package was more complex. It involved unwanted contracts like Bryan Bickell and Chris Higgins. Remember when Toronto and Vancouver tried to make a Roberto Luongo trade tight to the end? It didn’t work because things were too complex. Same here. Chicago wanted Hamhuis, too.
Chris Higgins is currently buried in the AHL, playing for the Utica Comets. His $2.5 million cap hit expires in 2017, so at the same time as Bickell's, but costs $1.5 million less - and every penny counts for Chicago.
Friedman's statement of things becoming too complex makes sense here; it's easy to see where this all probably fell apart. The Hawks want to ditch a bad contract, and they're willing to take another bad, but not-as-bad, contract in return. They also want a trade deadline rental, so that's still some cap coming back their way, but offsetting Bickell's deal works out in the long run.
Only... what does Vancouver get out of such a deal? No doubt they'd want futures, which the Hawks were trading in frequency leading up to the deadline. At this point we're likely already talking four, five pieces.
The Canucks didn't make any trades at the deadline, so who knows how much their hearts were really in selling anyone off, anyway - let alone in a complex deal.
This is just yet another in a string of failed attempts to offload Bickell's contract - but hey. You can't say Chicago isn't at least trying. There's just one season left to figure things out; maybe it'll be easier then.