Bryan Bickell has success written all over him. He is large, pretty fast when he wants to be, has good hands when he wants to, and a pretty wicked wrist shot. He seemed to carry that Big Buf mentality from time to time and even looked like a possible replacement for the big space shipped off to Atlanta. You know the mentality I speak of right? The way he seemed to hide in backdrop and every once and while decide to score all by himself. Bickell also had a damn good shot at rookie of the year for an early stretch of the season.
We could probably chalk off whatever kept him from staying consistent to the same factors that we use as excuses for everyone else last year. Along with Skille, Bickell spent a great deal of time in the Hawk's system, but he seemed to bring a bit more to the table. Much more defensively savvy, I often mistook him for Toews, however rare, whats not to like about that?
Speaking of Buf, Bryan ended last season with about the same amount of points, so maybe he was a good fit for the space left empty and a fraction of the price. This production along with the natural ability to play the body and lay some flat out make Bickell a great buy for next year's extravaganza too. Hell, he should have produced more this past year, Im sure he nets a few more with the confidence gained and hopeful steady line formations I expect to see.
I see him as a nice fit on the Bolland line, though I think he might do well anywhere in the line-up. What I hope to see even more than an additional 3 goals which would put him on the 20 goal scoring list is too increase his physical play a tad. It was just too quiet for many stretches. With the additions already set to add a little fear into opponents around the league, a more aggressive Bickell would be icing on the cake.
The great thing about Bickell is that he had a good year from most perspectives and he obviously has a great deal of room to improve. Not large gains in his game, but little easily obtainable aspects of his overall play. Make a few changes here and there, start getting in front of the net more, perfect that shot a bit more, find some comfort in a strong line that allows him to pass a bit more effectively and there ya go.
Overall, I give Bickell an A-. He could have had a better season that involved scoring above 20 and playing a tad more physical game, but as a rookie that would have earned him an A+. He honestly has it all, which even gave us some highlight reel goals like the video attached to this post which also might have been with an injured wrist.