Blackhawks prospect Dylan Sikura has been named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in college hockey each year. The Northeastern forward is the Blackhawks’ first Hobey Baker finalist since Tyler Motte two years ago.
Sikura has emerged as one of the top collegiate hockey players since being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He broke out in a big way during his junior season, and has followed it up with an even better senior season that’s established him as one of the Blackhawks’ top prospects.
The other nine finalists are Denver’s Henrik Borgstrom (Panthers), Harvard’s Ryan Donato (Bruins), Cornell’s Matthew Galajda, Northeastern’s Adam Gaudette (Canucks), Canisius College’s Dylan McLaughlin, Notre Dame’s Cale Morris, Colgate’s Colton Point (Stars), St. Cloud State’s Jimmy Schuldt, and Minnesota State-Mankato’s C.J. Suess (Jets).
There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Sikura’s status because he could turn down the Blackhawks to become a free agent in August. The young forward has repeatedly praised the team for how its handled the situation, but the lack of commitment from him has left the door open to his departure.
In recent years, Hobey Baker winners such as Jimmy Vesey and Will Butcher parlayed their success into attention on the open market. Those players both opted to leave their draft teams in favor of signing elsewhere, which is something Sikura could still do.
In the meantime, the Blackhawks will be closely watching Northeastern’s situation in the NCAA Tournament. The sooner the Huskies get knocked out, the sooner the NHL can come calling. Even more important, a deep run by Northeastern could prevent the Blackhawks from offering to burn a year of his entry-level contract now, which would remove one of their prime advantages over other teams.
Sikura has recorded 20 goals and 32 assists in 33 games this season. He’s second on Northeastern in scoring behind Gaudette.