It’s time to put an end to the Stu Bickel era

A microcosm of Bickel's last year in blue.
A microcosm of Bickel’s last year in blue.

When Stu Bickel came to the Rangers as a midseason call up last season, he made a lasting impression on the team, the coaching staff, and the fans. He played with that edge that the Rangers lacked since Michael Sauer went down with his concussion. But, we started seeing some questionable aspects about his game, and it started affecting his ice time last season, specifically in the playoffs.

On the ice, Bickel has been nothing short of a disaster. His skating isn’t what Torts needs it to be (he looks like a pylon), he misses assignments (both on forward and on defense), and he contributes nothing offensively. A physical presence only gets you so much, and all this is evidenced in Bickel’s ice time. Bickel is lucky to get five minutes per game when playing defense, and luckier to get eight minutes per game while playing forward. Torts simply appears to have lost trust in Bickel. That is not a recipe for success.

Looking past the eye test, Bickel is playing to a -0.5 GVT (-0.1 DGVT). That doesn’t exactly mean poor play, but it’s worth noting that most of this is with Bickel playing forward. But when it comes to his metrics, he is an unmitigated disaster in his own end. He has a team-worst -0.218 QoC and a team-worst -22.1 RCorsi (team-worst -19.57 CorsiON). While he only starts 41.2% of his starts in the offensive zone (following a whistle), you expect better numbers from someone playing against team-worst competition.

Bickel, at this stage of his career, is not ready for full-time NHL service. There is only so much “jam” a player can offer before he needs to step up with another aspect of his game. Bickel clearly can’t play defense, it’s why he was moved to forward, but he is struggling at forward as well.

There comes a point where, no matter how much you like someone, you need to cut ties with him if he cannot deliver on the ice. Mike Rupp was traded because he couldn’t skate well enough to keep up with Torts’ high-pressure system. Bickel is now the next in line, falling victim to his biggest shortcoming: His skating ability. Bickel needs a Brian Boyle-esque turnaround with his skating in order to save his career with the Rangers.

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  • Doubt he is going to work with that Barbara lady. Three things:
    -Send him to AHL. He can play wing or defensemen
    -Send him to Greenville (he can play with Lee Baldwin)
    -Trade bait???
    Why is Bickel playing instead of Haley?
    See what Haley does in the AHL? He is physical, helps out offensively and is a good skater
    I think Haley would be an upgrade over Bickel

  • While Bickel isn’t necessarily the reason we lose on any given night, he’s not helping us win games in any way shape or form.

    My guess is Sather’s using Bickel and Haley as stop gaps until he can bring back MZA, or get Lindberg or Fasth (not sure on their SEL contracts but their on the Rangers reserve lists) in from overseas.

    Or he’ll bring in some other guys at the trade deadline.

    • Agreed. As of right now, there is no one Torts could replace Bickel with that would get anymore than 5 minutes of ice time. We are simply stuck with him until we can get something better to put into the lineup.

  • I think the Bickle rage is a bit overblown. Is he a NHL caliber player? No.

    Is he our 13th fw or 8th D? Yeah.

    So we have one D and FW out on injury and one (Boyle) being “motivated”. Bickle is 4th on the depth chart of 4.

    The problem we have is we need to add another 3rd pair RD. Then the Bickle “problem” goes away.

        • Exactly, we had BR out, Asharm out. Then Boyle gets another “time-out”.

          Ferrerio, Lindberg, Fast, Haley have a better shot at being on our playoff roster. Bickle is a one way while the others are on two-ways.

          So let those guys get top minutes elsewhere instead of riding the pine here. Then later in the season barring any trade or signing one of those (Ferrerio my bet) gets called up replacing Bickle.

  • Bickel is playing because he fights and because he is better in Torts’s view than some options and about as good as some others. The Rangers seem to think that no one in Hartford can be trusted to play defense in the NHL and so, with Staal out, Bickel really is the 8th Dman, no great shakes, but not a commodity you part with readily.
    At forward, Torts really doesn’t want to give the fourth line more than 5 minutes and so he wants somebody who isn’t awful and adds something. As a fighter, Bickel adds something whereas Ferreiro doesn’t.
    For the record, not sure the Rangers could anything at all in trade.

  • I don’t mind seeing Bickel play 8 minutes a night at forward. Honestly, that’s pretty comparable to other 13th forwards around the league. Once Arron gets back in the lineup, Bickel moves to the press box, and I’m fine with that too.

  • Matt Gilroy would be much better at forward than Bickel. Gilroy has some offensive upside too. Always thought he would make a better forward than D-man. Can’t wait for guys like Kreider & Thomas to come up & give some bite to the third line. Boyle should have been traded a long time ago. A guy the Rangers should look at is Clarke MacArthur. Good Wheels and would be good on a third line. Halpern should be centring the third line because he would do better offensively with better players.

  • I really don’t get why Boyle gets so much attention from Torts. His doghousing is, to me, them giving him attention. He sucks. That’s the bottom line. He had one season where he was under everybody’s radar and scored a ton of fluky goals, then proceeded to not match that proformence then next few years. Get him out of here along with Stu Bickel (honestly, who his age is named Stu these days?).

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