The Chicago Blackhawks added a few prospects to the organization last week, but one young player who declined to sign an entry-level contract was Dylan Sikura. According to The Athletic’s Scott Powers, the Blackhawks indeed made Sikura an offer, but he passed in favor of returning to Northeastern University for his senior season.
Three prospects — forwards John Hayden and Anthony Louis, and defenseman Luc Snuggerud — agreed to contracts with the Blackhawks last week following the end of their college seasons. Hayden has already made his NHL debut (impressively so, I might add!), while the other two players are currently playing for the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL.
Sikura could’ve joined them in the organization, but instead he passed to finish up his college career at Northeastern. The 21-year-old emerged as a star with 57 points in 38 games as a junior, and stands to be one of the best players in his conference as a senior.
The downside of the situation for the Blackhawks looms via the memory of Kevin Hayes. Sikura will be eligible to hit free agency in August 2018 if he decides not to sign with the Blackhawks, so now the possibility is open that he does just that. Hayden and Louis passed on doing that to sign as seniors, while Snuggerud took the early deal by signing after his junior year at Nebraska-Omaha.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether Sikura can ultimately be lured into the Hawks’ organization after his senior year. Maybe the team will have to do what it did with Hayden, and offer some concessions by burning a year of the ELC early while giving him an immediate NHL audition. Those factors probably helped get Hayden through the door, and it could be what it takes to do the same with Sikura.
The Blackhawks will want to stay on good terms with his camp, as Sikura seems like a potential late bloomer after underwhelming following his selection in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. You can read more from Sikura over at The Athletic, which crushes it with the prospect coverage.