With free agency looming, Bryan Bickell says he wants to stay with champion Blackhawks

  • Article by: JAY COHEN , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 27, 2013 - 4:50 PM

CHICAGO — Bryan Bickell looks around and sees Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the rest of a good young nucleus. He likes Chicago, and the Blackhawks are the only NHL team he has ever known.

He is looking forward to the celebration Friday for the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup title, and he wants more.

Bickell is eligible for unrestricted free agency and could cash in after coming up with a big postseason despite playing the last series against Boston with a sprained right knee that raised questions about if he would be able to play at all against the Bruins.

But the 27-year-old Bickell, drafted by Chicago in 2004, wants to remain with the Blackhawks and says he is open to giving the team a discount in order to stay.

"That hometown discount, I think a lot of players that would (take) and there's a lot of players have took it on our team to play for this team because it's a great team," Bickell said Thursday. "We have a great core of guys and we won two Cups in four years and there's going to be many more to come, and I'm willing to do it because it's fun and winning is fun."

With the salary cap dropping to $64.3 million next season, it looked as if Bickell might have priced himself out of the Blackhawks' reach after he had nine goals and eight assists in the postseason. The nine goals matched Patrick Kane for second on the team and his 17 points were second only to 19 for Kane, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to the MVP of the NHL playoffs.

Bickell provided a physical presence in front of the net that proved crucial in the march to the Stanley Cup, especially in the last two rounds against the Kings and Bruins. He had the tying goal with 1:16 left in the third period of Chicago's 3-2 win in Boston on Monday night that clinched the title.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to keep me here," said Bickell, from Bowmanville, Ontario. "I enjoy this city. I think this is a second home to me."

That's music to the ears of general manager Stan Bowman, who has talked to Bickell's agent, Todd Diamond, about a new deal. Bowman said the team wants to bring Bickell back and they're trying to figure it out.

"We are trying to make something work for Bryan to remain with the Blackhawks," Diamond said in an email to The Associated Press. "It is much simpler in theory than in practice in a diminishing cap environment."

Plunging right into a short offseason with the draft coming up on Sunday and free agency set to start on July 5, Bowman announced that the Blackhawks plan to buy out the contracts of defenseman Steve Montador and forward Rostislav Olesz. Montador and Olesz did not appear in a game this season for Chicago.

Also Thursday, as the Blackhawks continued their recovery from a bruising series against the Bruins and days' worth of impromptu parties across the city:

—Forward Marian Hossa said he might need further treatment for the back issue that shelved him for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. One possible option is surgery, which could have a dramatic effect on the Blackhawks' offseason.

Asked if winning the Stanley Cup was worth it given all his injuries over the past couple years, Hossa didn't hesitate. "It's well worth it right now," he said.

—Viktor Stalberg kept the door open for a possible return to Chicago after he was in and out of the lineup during the playoffs, and Bowman sounded determined to keep defenseman Nick Leddy after he struggled at times against Boston.

Stalberg, a speedy forward who is eligible for unrestricted free agency, said he is looking for consistent playing time and thinks he deserves it after scoring 43 goals and adding 47 assists over the past three seasons.

"I don't know at this point," he said when asked about coming back to the Blackhawks. "We'll see what happens."

Leddy, who played in every game this year, is a restricted free agent and could receive an offer sheet from another team. He has three NHL seasons under his belt and just turned 22 in March.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland 8 Bottom 12th Inning
Kansas City 8
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 3rd Prd 7:27
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question