Dylan Sikura, a prized prospect of the Chicago Blackhawks, has been named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in college hockey each year. Sikura is currently a forward for Northeastern University.
Sikura has emerged as one of the top collegiate hockey players since being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. His breakout junior season, followed by an solid senior season, has elevated him into being one of the top prospects for the Blackhawks.
The other nine finalists are:
Henrik Borgstrom – Denver (Panthers)
Ryan Donato – Harvard (Bruins)
Matthew Galajda – Cornell
Adam Gaudette – Northeastern (Canucks) Dylan McLaughlin – Canisius College
Cale Morris – Notre Dame
Colton Point – Colgate (Stars)
Jimmy Schuldt – St. Cloud State
C.J. Suess – Minnesota State-Mankato (Jets)
With Sikura’s help, Northeastern has won the Beanpot Tournament for the first time in decades. His situation has caused rife speculation amongst the NHL. Though he has repeatedly praised the Blackhawks for how they have handled him and his success, the lack of a firm commitment has some talking that Sikura might not sign with the Blackhawks outright and try his hand in free agency this August.
Past Hobey Baker winners such as Jimmy Vesey and Will Butcher have in recent years spun their success into getting attention in the open market. Those players both opted to leave their draft teams in favor of signing elsewhere, which is something Sikura could still do. The Blackhawks themselves were deep into Vesey and Butcher, but failed to sign both.
In the meantime, the Blackhawks will be closely watching Northeastern’s situation in the NCAA Tournament. The sooner the Huskies get knocked out, the sooner the Blackhawks can come calling.
A deep run by Northeastern could prevent the Blackhawks from offering to burn a year of his entry-level contract now, which would remove one of their prime advantages over other teams.
Sikura is a power forward with a solid two way game. He is adept at creating plays and has one hell of a shot. His scoring prowess is also something that the Blackhawks sorely need right now.
Sikura has recorded 20 goals and 32 assists in 33 games this season. He’s second on Northeastern in scoring behind Gaudette.
Sikura’s brother, Tyler, currently plays for the Rockford Ice Hogs, the Blackhawks’ NHL affiliate. Tyler, who just signed a one year extension with the Blackhawks, has been vocal about his and his brother’s desire to make it in the NHL with the same team. Having Tyler already in their system could be a built-in advantage for the Blackhawks.