While the team hasn’t officially acknowledged this, the Blackhawks have re-signed left-side power-winger Bryan Bickell to a three-year, one-way NHL contract.
According to a report by Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bickell will earn salary dollars of $500,000, 525,000 and 600,000 over the next three seasons respectively, while his “cap hit” (the average payout of the contract which comes down to total dollar value divided by length) will be $541,666 for each season.
Bickell, 24, who was a favorite of head coach Joel Quenneville in his limited opportunity with the club this past season and playoff, will become an un-restricted free agent at the end of the contract, summer of 2013.
It’s interesting Bickell’s agent would pin his client down to such a low figure for the next three years when Bickell has a big chance to play an integral role with the Hawks going forward. The deal is a steal for Stan Bowman. At worst, he has an affordable third and fourth line guy, salary-wise, being as cheap as they come. Enthusiastically, we could come to know Bickell as one of the bigger “bargains” in the National Hockey League two and three years from now.
I find it hard to believe Bickell couldn’t have negotiated a better deal. Two-years on a one-way for the same money he agreed to could have landed him in a position to enroll in the arbitration process in 2012, one year short of his UFA year (as it sits now in the current CBA, for players with expiring contracts who are 27 or older). As it looks now, Bickell could stand to earn a million or considerably more after the next two seasons should he see good minutes and continue to progress. While Bickell hasn’t shown near the same scoring touch, he’s not all that far behind Troy Brouwer in terms of iimpact he can make with this club. Specifically with the departure of Dustin Byfuglien, Quenneville needs all the size he can get, and thus Bickell will see a lot of important minutes if he can carry his level of performance over from the past spring. This is after all the same Bryan Bickell who fit in nicely in spots on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. That said, this deal could wind up more regrettable for Bickell should the new CBA push the UFA age back, or forward, a year or more when the new bargaining agreement is drawn (hopefully) prior to the 2012-13 season.
This is the kind of contract a young Canadian kid thinks is great when he first signs it. Then he changes agents two years later when he realizes he wasted a chance to make a lot more money at a young age.
Great deal for Stan Bowman. For Bickell, we’ll wait and see.
— Evan Brophey, Blackhawks 3rd round pick (67th overall) in the 2005 Draft, re-signed a 1-year deal on Thursday. This also hasn’t been acknowledged by the Hawks. There is a method to these things that go over the heads in hockey operations.