It was the first of what could become many moves in the next week-plus. The Vegas Golden Knights trade sent center Brandon Pirri to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for center Dylan Sikura.
The 25-year-old Sikura has played a total of 47 games over three seasons with the Blackhawks, posting 1-13-14 and a plus-5 rating. A former sixth-round pick (#178) by the Hawks in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Sikura finished up four years at Northeastern with a Hobey Baker nomination before turning pro in the spring of 2018. Things looked good for the Aurora, Ontario native coming out of college as he posted back-to-back 50-plus point campaigns. With the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, he has posted a promising 68 points in 91 games over the last two seasons.
It appears Chicago’s frustration with Sikura is the lack of translation for his game to the NHL level. In his limited action with the Blackhawks, he’s seen some time with the top six rotation but has yet to really break out.
For Vegas, even if he slots in on the third line the potential for a breakout is strong. The VGK have plenty of depth upfront and finding a playmaking pivot for Alex Tuch would be a tremendous boon. The Golden Knights had six forwards finish over the 30 point plateau in the regular season. Tuch disappointed with only 17 points in 42 games while at age 26 Chandler Stephenson could potentially take a step forward next season after posting 22 points in 41 games. Sikura figures to be in this mix somewhere and perhaps the hope is that his acquisition sparks something in the middle of the lineup – including his own emergence.
Sikura has one more year left on his current extension with a cap hit of $750k and a base salary of $800k, both good for Vegas. If he pans out, the trade could yield a tremendous upside for the Golden Knights.
Pirri spent the bulk of his time with the Chicago Wolves and only recorded two assists in 16 games for the Golden Knights this year. This move opens up a potential hole not only for players like Sikura to emerge but also looking ahead Peyton Krebs looks ready to take the next step for 2020-21.
The Vegas trade came eight days before the 2020 NHL Draft and the coming free agent frenzy. Sikura is only a little fish on the radar which could include some big targets.