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09-15-2013, 09:56 AM
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topnotch View Post
This just isn't true. Bickell played like a top-6 forward all of last year. It's one reason why the Hawks had such a good 3rd line.

Bickell scored 23 even strength points last year, tied for 59th for forwards in the NHL. Here are some notable players that Bickell tied or beat in ES points:

Zetterberg
Carter
Jamie Benn
Lecavalier
J. Stall
Hossa
Saad
Ribeiro
Huberdeau
Backes
Gagner
Elias
Iginla
Yakupov
Horton
Neal
Callahan
Turris
Thornton
Pavelski
Franzen
Roy
Perron
Plekanec
L. Eriksson
Gaborik
Steen
M. Richards
D. Brown

Almost all of these players put in a full season. Lecavalier had the fewest games played at 39.

Bickell also has a strong argument that he played top-6 caliber in his rookie season as well totaling 34 ES points putting him tied for 98th.

Just because he has received no PP time doesn't mean he's not top-6 caliber.
IMO - being a top 6 player is more than a ES/G rate. By that measure - Victor Stalberg is a legit 1st line player if you just want to look at point production over the last two years.

IMO - Bickell has been very inconsistent over his 3 years with the Hawks. I would say that the only time that he consistently performed like the player we think he was the P/O's last year. Even if you look at the first contract he signed - Bickell didn't think he was a top 6 player.

From my perspective - when you're a top 6 player - you're who the team expects to produce. Offensive production beyond 10-15 in a 3rd line role is considered "bonus", but now Bickell is going to be getting more icetime, and IMO he needs to step up the level of consistency in his game, especially the physical aspects.

I'm not saying that Bickell lacks the skills to be a top 6 player. I am saying that there have been a ton of players who have gotten hot over a play-off run who were never able to re-kindle that same level of effort/intensity/production (Joel Ward, Ruslan Fedetenko, Martin Gelinas, John Druce, etc.). Hoping that Bickell isn't one of those guys, and turns into a consistent legit 2nd tier scoring line forward that plays a power game. Until he does that over a period of time a lot longer than 23 games though, it's a risk IMO.

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