Prospect camp is usually a weird time of the year where your favorite beat writers and bloggers are firing off blurry tweets of drills featuring players you’ve only casually heard of. It’s a good time to gauge where the Blackhawks’ prospects are at, but it’s usually best taken in live at the arena rather than through bite-sized Twitter videos.
Except once in a while, a highlight slips through at prospect camp that’s so good, we gotta talk about it. That’s what happened Friday when Dylan Sikura torpedoed through through all three zones during a scrimmage to almost score a goal. The puck didn’t go in, but you’ll hardly care after watching this:
Ooooooooo baby. Oooooooooooooooooooooo baby.
I’m not gonna lie, this video both excites the hell out of me and also stresses me out. For one, Sikura’s rise from sixth-round pick to one of the Blackhawks’ best prospects has been impressive. He’s coming off a great year at Northeastern and seems like a late bloomer who has finally began putting all the pieces together.
And then there’s the immediate realization that Sikura is entering his senior year of college without an NHL contract. The Blackhawks tried to sign him earlier this year only to be rebuffed. If that happens again in the spring, then Sikura will be free to walk as a free agent in August, a la Kevin Hayes or Jimmy Vesey.
For the Blackhawks, that would be a massive disappointment after watching Sikura develop from an unheralded low draft pick into one of the top prospects in the entire organization. And the trouble is, the better Sikura looks, the more it seems possible he’ll get wide eyes for the open market and the chance to choose his first NHL team like Vesey did.
Chicago managed to navigate this situation properly over the past year with John Hayden, who played his senior season at Yale, then signed an entry-level deal with the Blackhawks in March. That’s the ideal scenario for the team and Sikura at this point.
So I’m super excited to see that Sikura is taking his game to the next level, and hopefully his next step is signing with the Blackhawks. But as we all fawn over highlights like this one, we should probably remember there’s a non-zero chance he bolts on the team next spring.
In the meantime, though, holy crap, that play.
They gotta sign this guy.