By Thomas Gibbons
The Chicago Blackhawks did some house keeping moves on Friday signing Dylan Sikura and newly acquired forward John Quenneville to two-year deals with an average annual value of $750,000. Year 1 is a two-way deal and Year 2 is a one-way deal, meaning their salaries in the NHL and AHL will differ in the first year.
Sikura, 24, saw a lot of success with the Rockford IceHogs last season, the Blackhawks AHL affiliate. He tallied 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 games. In 33 games with the Blackhawks, the former 6th round pick in 2014 tallied just eight points.
Sikura has the tools to be successful at the NHL level. It just comes down to putting it all together. He will have every chance in training camp and the preseason to make the roster. The Blackhawks are still in need of a top six forward. Can Sikura become that guy? Only time will tell but he has what it takes to compete.
From Scott Powers of The Athletic 10 Thoughts on the Blackhawks offseason so far: Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Dylan Sikura: This was one of the Blackhawks’ best possession lines last season. The line had a 59.35 Corsi percentage and a plus-1 goal differential (4-3) in 71 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, according to Corsica. If Sikura can get his offense going, this line should be just fine.
Again, the potential is there for Sikura to be an effective top six forward and that’s why the Blackhawks have decided to bring him back. He’s someone to watch when the Blackhawks put their skates on in a few months.
Queeneville, acquired from the New Jersey Devils during the NHL draft, has yet to make an impact in the NHL while having AHL success. This could be your typical change of scenery case. Quenneville will be in the mix to win a bottom six role but it will be a crowded field.
“In the case of Quenneville, he was a high pick, a first-round pick, said general manager Stan Bowman after the trade.” He’s one of those guys that had a lot of success at the American League level. He’s played in the NHL, but he’s had a smaller role. I think sometimes that happens. These guys go to a different situation. It’s not the team that drafted you so you maybe look at them a little bit differently.”
NHL Free agency opens on July 1st. While the Blackhawks may not be involved in the bigger names such as Artemi Panarin and Mitch Marner, there are a few players who could join the Blackhawks. Anders Less, Ryan Dzingel and Joe Pavelski are players I would keep an eye on.