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Bryan Bickell: worth the investment?

Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin

Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin

Bryan Bickell will surely be a man in demand this summer, assuming he doesn’t get an offer from the Blackhawks to remain in Chicago. The danger for any team pursuing the big hawk is that he’ll be coming off an impressive playoff performance individually, and his production –throughout his career– isn’t overly significant (albeit improving). Remember Fernando Pisani? He had one strong year, followed by a dominant playoff and turned it into a good contract which he never lived up to. There is always that danger in a weak free agent market.

A weak free agent market means Bickell stands to absolutely cash in. That said, the Rangers may need to look at Bickell if he makes it to the July open market. With size, a scoring touch, and a winning pedigree in Chicago, Bickell brings a lot to the table. At 27 with a huge frame –6’3, 230+ lbs– Bickell is also far from an aging veteran and isn’t your standard type of player that is approaching free agency. With a 17 goal season on his resume and a strong (abbreviated) season fresh off the bat, Bickell’s offense should only get better.

According to media reports Bickell has a good wrist shot, uses his size well and works well both in the bottom six and with Chicago’s more skilled forwards (although really, who would  struggle to play with Kane or Hossa?). That said, it was less than a year ago when there were some reports calling Bickell potential Chicago dead wood. Was that a legitimate concern or Chicago being spoiled?

Caution comes in the form of the Rangers overpaying –the way the Caps did for Joel Ward in a similar situation– and making bad decisions in free agency. Bickell would likely be a a player selling his services in a wild auction while his stock is at its highest. The biggest concern here is whether these playoffs are a sign of a breakout performance, or just a one-off on a guy who is going to cash-in come July.

The Rangers may have some cap to play with come the summer (if they buyout Richards) and Bickell may be the best alternative that makes the open the market. It will be an interesting summer and Bickell could be central to the summer plans. He’d certainly make an exciting addition if the Rangers could acquire his services.

16 Responses to “Bryan Bickell: worth the investment?”

  1. BobM says:

    We ended up with the wrong Bickell and Boyle

  2. Erixon20 says:

    At the right price, absolutely interested…….along with 29 other teams. Don’t want to be in a bidding war. To me he is a poor man’s Dustin Penner. Penner is a very good hockey player, raises his game in the playoffs, and when he signed his last contract, appeared to make too much money. Seems to leave you wanting more however.

  3. Spozo says:

    I’m afraid of guys who get hot during a teams playoff run who are set to be free agents. He is playing his best hockey at the perfect time. He’s going to cash in and will be overcompensated. I immediately think of Matt Cullen. He was a very good player during the hurricanes cup run. The rangers then signed him to be a 2nd line center and he couldn’t live up to the billing. Bickel is a solid player but will be payed way to much this summer as several teams will attempt to outbid each other.

  4. Walt says:

    Given a choice, Bickell Vs Clarkson, this is the man I’d go after.

    Everyone who is on the Clowe bandwagen, not ment to be insulting anyone, this guy is the same size, weight, younger, can skate, plays a tough physical game, and has soft hands! No one dares take him on, he will pound you into the ice, protects teammates, and is a quality guy. How can you not like him?

    Is he worth the investment, darn right he is!!!!!

    • Spozo says:

      I have nothing against the guy and agree with a lot of what you said. I just think that in 2 years whatever team signs hime will be regretting the $$ amount and term.

    • @NYRFan_RF says:

      Clowe has and will take on anybody. He will come much cheaper too. There’s the puck that the Rangers will surrender if they sign him. Well they surrender that pick if they make it to the Eastern Finals next year anyway. If neither happens then its a 5th round pick. I believe the Rangers will make the ECF next year and will really need an enforcer like Clowe. He way have been a bit slow but let him have a full camp back with the team and see what he can do. Especially with all the small forwards we have here. Unless they want to chase a Penner keep Clowe stay away from Bickell. Takes dumb penalties and will never live up to whatever contract he gets. Let some other team spend all that money.

      • Walt says:

        @NYRFan

        One thing you, and the rest of our readers should think about, when a person has a concussion, the odds are much greater that he will have another! That stated, the man had three in a short season, two within a few weeks of each other, he will wind up like Lindroes, Savard, or Keith Preimeu. I don’t wish that on anyone, especially a Ranger, and Clowe should think of the long term implications, should he have too many more of those darn concussions.

        They are currently doing a study at the VA in Boston on football players who had a history of concussions, and the number who have brain damage from them. Does John Macky rung a bell to you??

  5. howiehockey says:

    Walt you’ve got it right…If he gets to July 5 and hasn’t been resigned by Chi…get Cally & Henrik on a plane to talk to him about signing with the Rangers

  6. Dave says:

    Pass. This year’s Joel Ward. Overpaid bottom-six guy.

  7. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Shiny toy. The luster will wear off. Let’s get some center depth and keep away from the one year wonders.

  8. RyanK says:

    Clowe can be re-signed for cheaper. Bickell isn’t going to live up to whatever contract he gets this summer, whether it be from Chicago or elsewhere. Rangers need to upgrade their defensive depth, not their forwards. That’s where the focus should be this off-season.

  9. Ben says:

    Everyone loves this type of player, but signing one (Clarkson/Bickell) when their value is highest is not a good move. Watch Dubi become this guy next year. Let a young guy with size, toughness and raw ability develop and in a few years they can become this kind of player. GMs and coaches need patience. I would much rather give the youth a chance.

  10. Tim B says:

    Get him

  11. Dave says:

    -.852 Corsi Rel QoC
    3.7 RCorsi
    58% OZone starts

    Pass, again.