Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Dylan Sikura Lets Numbers Do Talking
By Aaron Goldschmidt
Q&A with Mike Davis of The NU Hockey Blog
1. For Blackhawks fans just hearing about Dylan Sikura, what kind of player is he and what has he meant to the Northeastern hockey team?
MD: Dylan Sikura is someone who has grown by leaps and bounds since he arrived at Northeastern. Arriving in 2014-15 as a scrawny freshman, he was a healthy scratch for different parts of the season, totaling only seven points.
He took a big step forward his sophomore year, scoring 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists), showing off his flashy playmaking as well as some sniper potential. I still remember one quick slapshot from the left slot he fired against Merrimack, putting the puck perfectly in the corner. That’s when we realized this kid had potential.
“He’s such an unselfish player that this past season Coach Madigan said he had to tell Dylan directly to shoot the puck more, using his lethal shot.”
Last season he exploded, playing on the second line with Canucks prospect Adam Gaudette. Sikura totaled 57 points, thrived on the powerplay and potted 21 goals.
He is the best passer on the team for this upcoming season and was the best one last season as well. Sikura has silky smooth hands,, as ‘Hawks fans saw in the camp, but his vision is amazing, being able to see teammates open with the slightest of space, and feed it right where they need to be.
He’s such an unselfish player that this past season, coach (Jim) Madigan said he had to tell Dylan directly to shoot the puck more, using his lethal shot. Safe to say the results paid off.
This season he will be an assistant captain, a leader on and off the ice, someone who has championship experience leading by example and someone who should be in the Hobey Baker conversation from Day 1.
2. Sikura was a sixth-round pick in 2014. His freshman season stats were ordinary, his sophomore season he started scoring a little, then his junior year he exploded for 57 points. To what do you attribute the growth of his productivity?
MD: His growth can be attributed to his hard work off the ice. Dan Boothby, head of strength and conditioning for NU athletics, has these kids on incredibly tough training programs year-round, and Sikura noticeably has beefed up since his freshman season while not losing any of his speed.
He also has been with consistent linemates most of the last two seasons, one of them being Gaudette. Consistency matters for hockey players, as you well know.
Being familiar with his teammates, and gradually being given more responsibility to run the offense, all factored into Dylan’s growth while at NU. I expect playing with Gaudette will once again lead to a special season from the pair.
3. Sikura was nominated this year for the Hobey Baker Award for the most valuable player in college hockey. He will also be an alternate captain in his final year at Northeastern. How does Sikura lead by example and what are your expectations for the Huskies next year with him leading the pack?
MD: Knowing Dylan off the ice, he is not the type of rabble-rouser that some may expect a team leader to be. Dylan likes to joke around and be loose, but when it’s game time and he’s snapped on his helmet, he knows when to turn on the focus. He is someone who leads by going out there and showing what he can do.
More on the quiet side, Sikura lets his results speak for him rather than big hits, brash insults and trash talking. This season I fully expect Northeastern’s offense to carry them through the season.
A top-four finish is not out of the question, although it is difficult in Hockey East. The offense, even losing Zach Aston-Reese and John Stevens, should be fine. The questions lie in the goal crease, where Canadiens prospect Cayden Primeau is expected to take the reigns from incumbent Ryan Ruck.
4. A video that Blackhawk Up posted of Sikura dangling at prospect camp went viral in the hockey community, getting reposts from Bardown.com and Pavel Barber. Is this common with Sikura or was he making the best of an opportunity in front of Blackhawks executives?
MD: That play is commonplace for Sikura. He is capable of doing those flashy, video game style moves, and performs them during the season almost once per game.
I’m sure having the ‘Hawks brass at the camp gave him extra motivation, but he is not a selfish player trying to add to his highlight reel. That video shows his agility, speed, handles, hand-eye coordination — Sikura has all the tools needed to be a deadly scorer, which he has shown through his years in the OJHL and the NCAA.
5. What else should Blackhwaks fans know about Sikura? What kind of person is he in the locker room and out in the community?
MD: Sikura hails from Ontario, so he is a Raptors fan, commonly seen wearing his Raptors jersey when the team is hanging out. He is a respectful, level-headed kid who treats everyone around him with respect, which is a trait that must be commended considering the level of success he and his team have achieved in three years.
He has not let accomplishments swell his ego, which says something about him as a player and a person. Sikura is someone ‘Hawks fans should be watching very closely this season, and should be salivating at the thought of adding him to their system.
6. Give The NU Hockey Blog’s take on former conference opponent Collin Delia of Merrimack College.
MD: The ‘Hawks just signed Collin Delia of Merrimack, and they have added a quality goaltender to their system. Delia is a tall goaltender who takes up a lot of space in the net.
His play was enough for one of our bloggers to put Merrimack No. 5 in his preseason rankings; I have them eighth. Without Delia, no one on our staff has them higher than 10th now. Delia is a difference-maker, and Merrimack’s loss is Chicago’s gain. Nice signing.
Next: Blackhawks: Cost of Winning Has Caught Up With 'Hawks Fans
Blackhawks fans can follow Sikura and Blackhawks 2016 fourth-round pick Ryan Shea’s progress for free via Northeastern’s streaming service. All home games are broadcasted in free HD quality via GoNUxStream, the premier streaming service in Hockey East. Fans can also follow on Twitter at @gonuxstream.
You can read Mike Davis at The NU Hockey Blog and follow them on Twitter at @NUHoceyBlog.