The Chicago Blackhawks have signed their top prospect Dylan Sikura, according to a report by Scott Powers of The Athletic Chicago. Sikura, a forward for Northeastern University, just finished his collegiate career this weekend, when the Huskies were eliminated from the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament.
Sikura could arrive in Chicago as soon as tonight, according to Powers. But he will be in the Blackhawks’ lineup as soon as Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets, since his visa still needs to be completed.
By signing today and appearing in the lineup on Thursday, Sikura effectively burns the first year of his entry-level deal. This provision was one of the main advantages the Blackhawks had with signing the forward.
The Blackhawks were open about wanting to sign Sikura last off-season, at the end of his junior year, but he opted to remain with the Huskies and play his senior year. Reports circulated about the appearance of some hesitancy on Sikura’s part with signing with Chicago as soon as his senior year ended, that maybe he would opt to wait until August 15th of this year and become an unrestricted free agent, much like what happened with the Blackhawks and their former top draft pick and current New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes.
Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville is on the record praising Sikura’s play, having recently seen him in action this past March. Sikura is expected to figure into a top-nine role with the Blackhawks. He has the speed, as well as the high hockey IQ to create plays and anticipate plays before they happen on the ice. He is also quite the puck handler and has a mean shot, as evidenced by a wicked power play goal he scored from the slot during yesterday’s game versus Michigan.
“He’s got some real good patience and play-recognition,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said about Sikura. “Got some quickness to his game. But he’s really improved over the years here.”
Sikura, a sixth-round pick in 2014, finishes his senior year with the Huskies with 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) in 34 games He also scored 21 goals last year, his junior year.
Sikura’s brother, Tyler, also recently just signed a one year extension with the Blackhawks. He is currently playing with the Rockford Ice Hogs.