Chicago Blackhawks’ Future Looking Bright After Sikura Signs
By Sean Fitzgerald
The Chicago Blackhawks will miss the playoffs for the first time in a decade, and everything seems to be looking bleak in the present. However, the future is starting to look better for the ‘Hawks.
Today, the Chicago Blackhawks signed Dylan Sikura, their top prospect, to a two-year, entry-level contract. The ‘Hawks are going to burn one of the years on his ELC by having him play in the last five games of this regular season.
Sikura had 54 points in 60 games at Northeastern this season and projects as a top-six NHL forward. While many speculated Sikura could opt for free agency, he was true to his word and signed with the Blackhawks. Sikura is expected to play on Thursday night in Winnipeg.
The ‘Hawks are also recalled another prospect in Victor Ejdsell on an emergency basis. Edjsell was acquired by the Blackhawks in the Ryan Hartman trade. Ejdsell is 6-foot-5 and had a very productive season in the Swedish Hockey League. He recorded 34 points this season.
‘Hawks’ fans and management will get a look at both players this week.
Looking to college players and draft picks
While Sikura’s Northeastern squad has been eliminated from the NCAA hockey playoffs, there are still some Blackhawks players playing in those playoffs.
Chad Krys, Ian Mitchell and Blake Hillman have a chance to make the Frozen Four with their respective college teams today. Scott Powers of The Athletic ranks Mitchell the third-best Blackhawks prospect, Krys as seventh-best and Hillman 11th-best.
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The ‘Hawks will also have Dennis Gilbert, their 10th-best prospect per Powers, playing in the Frozen Four as well. While all four of these prospects will not be ready for next season, in two years we might see all four of them signed to entry-level contracts.
With the NHL regular season almost over, ‘Hawks fans are looking forward to this upcoming NHL draft. The ‘Hawks have two first-round picks and are in the lottery for the first overall pick.
If the ping bong balls fall the ‘Hawks’ way, the ‘Hawks could be looking at a blue-chip prospect who is NHL-ready. If not, per The Athletic’s James Gordon, the Blackhawks are good at drafting NHL-quality players. Per the Gordon article, the Blackhawks were the ninth-best team at drafting between 2011 and 2015.
Did I mention their second-leading goal scorer is Alex DeBrincat, who is only 20 years old? Another young excelling player is Nick Schmaltz. Schamltz is one of the top pickpockets in the NHL.
Next: Blackhawks Recall Ejdsell; Sikura May Be Next
So while this season was bad and next season might be more the same, the future is not as bleak as we once thought it would be.