UPDATE: This could make all the difference. According to Brian Hedger of NHL.com, Bryan Bickell said he would consider giving the Chicago Blackhawks a "hometown discount" to stick around. Plus, there's word the Blackhawks are shopping center Dave Bolland. As it stands, signs point to an extension for Bickell in Chicago.
UPDATE: Looks like the general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks isn't willing to give up on re-signing Bryan Bickell. Stan Bowman told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that "we'll do everything we can to bring (Bickell) back." So we can presume the Blackhawks are willing to oust some salary to create the necessary cap space. They're projected to press up against the 2013-14 ceiling at the moment.
You can't criticize the guy's sense of timing. One of the more dominating performers this postseason, Bryan Bickell is attracting the right brand of attention at just the right time. Aside from helping his team challenge for the Stanley Cup, the physically-imposing and productive power forward is only a month away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. And you can bet your bottom buck he's about to quadruple (at least) his current $600,000 salary. If the figure rises much higher, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times of the Chicago Tribute argues the Chicago Blackhawks won't be able to squish Bickell's new annual salary under next year's cap.
"... The Hawks surely would love to keep Bickell, but with the salary cap dropping from $70.2 million to $64.3 million next season and Nick Leddy also needing a new deal, they might not be able to, especially as his price continues to rise ..."
As linemate to Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews, Bickell has six goals and two assists thus far this postseason. The formidable front-of-net presence he provides for the Blackhawks has, at times, been a game-changer. As it stands, ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun agrees, re-signing Bickell in Chicago this summer might be difficult. Particularly since the organization is already jammed up at the cap for 2013-14.
"... The Blackhawks have tough decisions to make with the salary cap set to go down from $70.2 million to $64.3 million this offseason. Chicago will also have free-agent business this summer with Viktor Stalberg (unrestricted), Marcus Kruger (restricted), Nick Leddy (restricted), Michal Handzus (unrestricted), Michal Rozsival (unrestricted) and Ray Emery (unrestricted). Should the Hawks decide to buy out Steve Montador they would shed his $2.75 million cap hit, but that still leaves little wiggle room ..."