Monday, February 11th wound up being quite an eventful day for the Chicago Blackhawks. With David Kampf currently on Injured Reserve with a foot injury, the Blackhawks decided to recall Dylan Sikura from the Rockford IceHogs. Sikura recorded three assists in 11 games with the Blackhawks during his first NHL stint of the season.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 11, 2019
Rockford’s Leading Scorer
The 23-year-old forward from Aurora, Ontario has looked fantastic for Rockford in the AHL this season. Sikura has 13 goals to go along with 17 assists in 40 games. Despite missing nearly a month due to call up, he still leads the IceHogs in both goals and points. Sikura has flashed the offensive talent that led him to a Hobby Baker nomination during his senior season at Northeastern.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) February 11, 2019
While Sikura is surely disappointed he has spent most of the year in the minors, it is positive to see him producing consistently, even at the AHL level. Although the success hasn’t been in a top-nine role for the Blackhawks like many expected, the former 2014 6th round pick has shown he still has plenty of offensive upside to his game.
What to Expect in Chicago
Hopefully, Dylan Sikura’s second NHL stint of the season is a lot longer than his first. Sikura was ultimately sent back down to Rockford after his first stint because of inconsistency in a top-nine role. He will be given another chance due to David Kampf’s injury, and will likely be slotted on the third line with Artem Anisimov and Brandon Saad. Sikura provides that line with much more speed and offense than Kampf does.
As seen in his college hockey days, Dylan Sikura can light up the score sheet in a hurry. He scored 54 points in 35 games during his senior season, which was third most in the country. He was the sixth leading scorer in the country the year prior. While that hasn’t directly translated into NHL success so far, the ceiling is high for a player like Sikura.
The final 26 games of the regular season are crucial to the Chicago Blackhawks for many reasons. One of those reasons is that Dylan Sikura is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The Blackhawks have seen very little of Sikura the past two seasons and need to have a better idea of what to do with him this offseason. He’s played just 16 games at the NHL level so far, recording no goals and six assists. Dylan Sikura is still a question mark at this point of his NHL career. The best way for the Chicago Blackhawks to figure out what they have in Sikura is by playing him frequently in a role that he can succeed in. Whether he struggles or not, Dylan Sikura should receive top-nine minutes plus powerplay time consistently down the stretch.
Expect Head Coach Jeremy Colliton to give the rookie forward more ice-time than he received during his first stint this season.