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Dylan Sikura expected to join Blackhawks in 2018, per GM Stan Bowman

He’s on the John Hayden plan.

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John Corneau/SB Nation

Back in the first half of 2016, Dylan Sikura was not a household name in the Blackhawks organization. But a whole lot has changed in 18 months.

A strong finish to his college season was followed by an impressive showing at the 2016 prospect camp. He was even better in his junior season at Northeastern and was the talk of the town during this year’s prospect camp. Sikura turned down a contract offer from the Hawks last March, but general manager Stan Bowman, who met with the media before Tuesday’s game in Las Vegas, said they’re expecting Sikura to make his NHL debut early next year in Chicago, as reported by Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune.

Sikura’s been on a meteoric rise through the organization, starting with his solid sophomore season at Northeastern in 2015-16. For a sample of what the 5-foot-11, 158-pound Sikura brings to the table, consider this highlight from prospect camp:

Sikura was just a sixth-round pick by Chicago in the 2014 NHL Draft, but has played well above that level in the last 18 months. He’s now in his senior year at Northeastern and is the leading scorer in college hockey with 12 points in his first five games, making him an early candidate for the Hobey Baker Award that is annually given to college hockey’s best player.

If all goes according to plan, Sikura’s NHL debut will happen in about five months. Considering he’ll be on an entry-level deal when he arrives, any contributions the Hawks can get from Sikura will be a significant boost to the team’s typically salary cap-strapped roster.