Stu Bickel is one of the Rangers who has come into town early to skate informally at the MSG training center.
Bickel had nine assists last season, four in his first six games, and averaged 10:26 per game. In 17 games in March, Bickel averaged 13:41.
He had 12 fighting majors during the season. In the playoffs Bickel averaged 5:09 per game. In 9 games in April he averaged 4:43 and in 9 games in May he averaged 5:35.
Bickel told Blueshirts United that he is looking forward to becoming a better player this season, “I always want to push myself to another level, and I felt like I’ve had a really productive off-season and worked on a lot of different things. I’m excited to get going. “
Bickel re-signed with the Rangers on July 1 for two years.
In March of last season, John Tortorella said of Bickel “Give him credit for his mental toughness, undrafted, no one knows who the hell he is. And he’s not surprised. He feels that good about himself. That’s a good starting point for a player trying to make a hockey club, playing the highest spot in his profession and find his way. A big part of it is mental. So give him some credit.”
Adam Rotter: Bickel is a nice guy to have in the lineup because of his toughness and willingness to defend his teammates, but he needs to be better in his own zone. He has to gain the trust of John Tortorella so he doesn’t see his ice time cut in half and into single digits in the playoffs next year. The Rangers need depth on defense to make a big run and having Bickel be part of that would lessen the need to add another defenseman or make a trade.