Chicago Blackhawks’ Decline Could Deter Sikura From Signing

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 20: Brandon Saad
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 20: Brandon Saad /

Dylan Sikura could be this year’s Will Butcher if he decides to forgo signing with the Chicago Blackhawks and tests free agency

There is something wrong with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Last night, the ‘Hawks hosted the New York Islanders at the United Center after being off for a week and lost 7-3.  They looked lost and had very little chemistry on defense.  This game followed a shutout at home just before the bye week at the hands of a Detroit Red Wings team that hasn’t exactly lit up the league recently.

The Blackhawks’ top players aren’t producing, they can’t seem to motivate their defensemen to play well, and goaltending looks to be a serious issue for the remainder of the season.

So if you are Dylan Sikura, one of the top players in college hockey, are you thinking twice about where you want to start your pro career?

Former Denver Pioneer and 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher decided to test free agency after winning the NCAA national championship last season and left the Colorado Avalanche organization.  He signed with the New Jersey Devils with hopes of starting in the NHL on a young team that’s on the rise.

Sikura faces a difficult decision with the Blackhawks because they are going in the exact opposite direction of a team “on the rise.”  After last year’s disappointing sweep in the playoffs, the team said its performance was “unacceptable.”  So what would missing the playoffs entirely this season be called?

There is the possibility that longtime coach Joel Quenneville parts ways with the ‘Hawks after this season as a result of missing the playoffs.  GM Stan Bowman’s job could also be on thin ice.  Not to mention the Blackhawks’ logjam of highly paid players who aren’t pulling their weight but are locked into the top-six forward group.

Sikura seems to be on Northeastern’s scoring sheet every night, and with good reason.  He broke out last season, he turned heads this summer at prospect camp and he is one of the best players in college hockey today.  Will his game translate to the NHL level?  Nobody knows that for sure.  But a lot of people doubted Butcher’s game, and he’s looked pretty good this season.

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Blackhawks fans are looking for anything right now to help save their season, but they shouldn’t bank on Sikura being that guy just yet.