Second City Hockey’s 2019-20 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2019. The rankings are determined by a composite score from six SCH writers and more than 70 readers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. The six SCH writers will make their ballots public after the series is completed.
Dylan Sikura overcame long odds just by making it to the NHL level, a feat rarely achieved by sixth-round picks. But after headline-grabbing seasons at Northeastern, Sikura made his NHL debut at the end of the 2017-18 season. The following summer, Sikura was a trendy pick to break training camp with the Blackhawks.
That didn’t happen, although Sikura was a top point-producer while spending the first half of the season in Rockford. Sikura ultimately earned two stints with the Blackhawks in ‘18-19, appearing in 33 games while notching eight assists. Sikura’s first career NHL goal has remained elusive, though.
The goals and assists numbers don’t look great, but deeper dives into Sikura’s statistics suggest he may be a victim of incredibly poor luck. He had the best even-strength CF% among Blackhawks forwards at 54.79. Sikura was also third on the team at 55.17 GF% (behind Dominik Kahun at 58.62 and Patrick Kane at 55.7) and runner-up to Chris Kunitz’s 50.67 with a 49.71 xGF%. It’s not like Sikura was sheltered by his zone starts, either. His zone-start ratio was 11th among Blackhawks forwards at 0.52.
But, at some point, those positive possession metrics will need to result in more than zero goals scored by Sikura.
Like a host of other forwards in the Blackhawks organization, Sikura will be in the middle of a massive battle for a roster spot at the NHL level come training camp. After re-signing with the Blackhawks for two more years at a very affordable cap hit of $750,000, a major step forward taken by Sikura could result in one of the league’s most valuable contracts residing in Chicago. And it feels like Sikura is capable of that, given the statistics cited above and the way Sikura has looked in his brief NHL time.
Is Dylan Sikura ranked too low, just right or too high?
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