Have the Blackhawks Found Their New Power Forward?

As we’ve done in the past, let’s take a look at a couple of players for the sake of comparison:

  PLAYER A PLAYER B
AGE 25 25
HT 6-5 6-4
WT 265 225
YEAR 2009-10 2010-11
GP 82 65
G 17 16
A 17 20
Pts 34 36
 +/- -7 9
PIM 94 38
HITS 215 158
GWG 3 2
ATOI 16:25 13:49
SALARY  $ 3,000,000  $     541,667

Player A was an important part of last year’s team, and spent time skating on all four lines.

Player B has played a secondary role this year, but has also spent time skating with each of the four lines.

The sizes of the two players is similar, and the ages are almost identical. Player A got more ice time last year, and made nearly six-times as much money.

Who are these two bruising forwards?

Player A is Dustin Byfuglien.

Player B is Bryan Bickell.

In the past few weeks, Bickell is playing a much better two-way game since Christmas, and has been rewarded with ice time on the second line with Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa.

You’ll notice a few numbers that stick out on Bickell’s line (even while playing only 65 games so far).

His plus-minus is much better than Byfuglien’s last year; while it’s hard to subscribe to that statistic as an indicator of individual play, placed in the context of the quality of players on last year’s roster it’s hard to overlook a 16-point difference.

His assists are higher. Some of Bickell’s apples have come from teammates putting back rebounds, but his passing has evolved nicely in his first full NHL season.

He could have more hits. If he averages four hits per game over the next 15 contests, Bickell would end up with 218; he has been credited with at least five hits in many of his recent games (including six against Tampa on Wednesday night).

Finally, we have to come back to the salary. Bickell is signed for two more years at the bargain-basement price of $541,667, which is just above the league-minimum. As Bickell gets more experience and continues to become more comfortable in the NHL, his production (and ice time) should continue to improve.

Among all of the deals GM Stan Bowman handed out last summer, this may prove to be his best.

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4 Responses to Have the Blackhawks Found Their New Power Forward?

  1. A-Hoff says:

    I knew a post was coming after last night. I love it!

  2. Kenny says:

    I also love this guy, he’s been pretty consistant all year long, do you think we can now start calling for “BIG BICK” this year? Heck, it’s only changing the F’s into C and K for cryin out loud.

  3. luvkane88 says:

    Kenny, I already call him Big Bicks..lol..i think it’s an awesome idea. He’s huge & Tab yeah what a bargain. You were right & I see Big Buff along w/his team have drifted downward. Our new Hawks are starting to agitate like Froli & Canoli (our name for Campolie.lol. Like when u do A & B to try and guess. my fav. ;)

  4. Greg Lindgren says:

    I’m also liking Bickell more as the season progresses but I still would like a little bit more of a physical presence…nothing over the edge but just a few more bumps in the corners.

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