The Chicago Blackhawks are in a very strange situation these days. Instead of looking to add pieces for a deep playoff run, general manager Stan Bowman is starting to look ahead to the 2018-19 season.
The team will not be looking to make any additions before the February 26 trade deadline, but they could make one later in March. 2014 sixth-round draft pick Dylan Sikura is having a great senior season for Northeastern University with 14 goals and 39 points in 26 games. Bowman is hoping to have him signed once his season ends and in a Blackhawks sweater.
“No indications, no reason not to think he wants to sign with us,” Bowman told reporters on Saturday night. “We’ve had great dialogue going back three years with Dylan. Great discussions with him and his agent. Ultimately that’s his call, but I know he follows our team closely. … Very hopeful. I don’t have any reason not to be.”
While Bowman sounds confident, Scott Powers reported in The Athletic today that there is a chance that Sikura waits until August to become a free agent instead of joining the Blackhawks for the final few games:
“Not everyone holds that opinion. One league executive recently said he didn't expect Sikura to sign with the Blackhawks. That may be an opposing team trying to mix in some doubt. While tampering may be illegal, it's not uncommon for teams to find backdoor ways to inquire about the possibility of a player becoming a free agent or expressing interesting if he were to.”
Sikura has never indicated that he would test the market and would remain loyal to the Blackhawks who showed faith in him. Since a college free agent can only make the max entry-level contract of $925,000 per season, there will be no bidding war if he wants to test the market. The only thing teams can offer him is playing time and a chance to succeed and if their was ever a time for a young forward to make an impact in Chicago, now is that time!