Read: The Improvement That Stu Bickel Has Shown

Last night Stu Bickel played a career high of close to 22 minutes in the Rangers win over Carolina.

This follows a recent stretch of five games where Bickel has played between 14 minutes and 19 minutes. His average ice time for the season is 10:17.

Last week, when talking about Bickel, John Tortorella told Ranger Rants “Bic has done that and he’s grown. You see the spots we’re putting him on the ice right now, no one expected that.”

Tortorella added,  “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.”

After the game last night, Carp at Rangers Report  wrote “Remember when, not really long ago at all, Stu Bickel couldn’t get off the pine in the third period? And now he’s playing top-four minutes and playing just fine. Better than just fine, actually. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles that against Pittsburgh. He played 21:54 last night—a career high, and was plus-2 (grain of salt) and handled everything he faced including the speedy ballerina or figure skater, or whatever he is, Jeff Skinner, one-on-one.”

Bickel has eight assists this season and had four in his first three games.

It is a small sample size but Bickel looks comfortable in that top four spot next to Marc Staal. He has put in the work that he has needed to get better and it has shown. I think he has a nice little role moving forward for this season and could potentially aim to battle for a bigger role next season.