Even the biggest Dylan Sikura fans could not have predicted how much he’d impress in the year following his No. 22 ranking on this list in the 2016 offseason. Last summer, he was coming off of a solid sophomore season that saw Sikura score 10 goals with 18 assists in 39 games at Northeastern University. Sikura followed that year with a strong showing at the 2016 prospect camp. After an even better junior season at Northeastern and the standout performance at the 2017 prospect camp, Sikura now ranks as one of the most intriguing future Chicago Blackhawks — as long as they can sign him.
Birth date: June 1, 1995
Acquired via: 2014 NHL Draft, sixth round (No. 178 overall)
Most recent stop: Northeastern University (NCAA)
Size: 5’11, 158 pounds
So how does a prospect jump up 14 spots on our list in just one year? Start with a great season of college hockey at Northeastern, when Sikura played in 38 games, scoring 21 goals with 36 assists as a junior.
And then there was the 2017 prospect camp, when no player stood out more than Sikura. In a story for The Athletic, general manager Stan Bowman, head coach Joel Quenneville and assistant coach Kevin Dineen all praised the efforts of the soon-to-be college senior.
Sikura’s speed, agility, and puck possession were on display all week long, but one play highlighted all of those abilities -- along with the on-ice awareness to not get steamrolled while handling the puck — in the undisputed prospect camp highlight.
Sikura was the talk of prospect camp from all parts of the Internet for that play and his daily domination of the one-on-one drills that made up most of the week’s schedule. It’s the type of performance that would make an organization think strongly about getting that player under contract, especially one who just turned 22 years old and appeared to prove everything he needed at the college level last year. Except ...
What’s next in 2017-18?
Sikura turned down a contract offer from the Hawks in March, opting to head back to his senior season at Northeastern. With the Kevin Hayes saga still fresh in the minds of Blackhawks’ fans, this raises concern that Sikura will follow the Hayes route and not sign with the team next year. But Sikura has always maintained that he plans to sign with the Hawks. And there are recent examples of prospects following through on that promise: Stephen Johns, Anthony Louis and John Hayden, among them.
So it’s back to Northeastern for Sikura after a junior season where he was a nominee for the Hobey Baker, annually given to college hockey’s top player. He figures to be in that conversation again if he can take his game to another level in his senior season. When that ends around March, though, it’ll be on Sikura to sign that deal with the Blackhawks. Chicago can offer something no other team can, too: a chance to play in the NHL immediately after signing that deal (just like Hayden did in the 2016-17 season).
There’s still a decent chance we see Sikura playing for the Blackhawks next spring.