Dylan Sikura impresses in NHL debut with Blackhawks
by Scott King
Newest Blackhawks forward Dylan Sikura made his NHL debut Thursday night. The Aurora, Ontario native skated on the Hawks’ second line on the right wing of recent call-up Victor Ejdsell and opposite rookie sensation Alex DeBrincat.
Sikura picked up his first NHL point in his debut, grabbing a secondary assist on an Erik Gustafsson breakaway tally that made it 5-1 Hawks in the second period. He picked up his second with another assist, this time on an Alex DeBrincat goal early in the second period that made it 6-2. Which would be the final score.
“It was a pretty special night,” Sikura said. “Obviously nice to get it out of the way and Seabsy’s 1,000th [game] and the whole goaltender situation, it was a pretty crazy night. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
The goaltender situation Sikura was referring to was two goalies making their NHL debut in one night for one team – the Hawks. First, Collin Delia, who was slated to back up Anton Forsberg, had to start after Forsberg injured himself warming up for the game.
A little before the midway point of the third period, emergency goalie Scott Foster, who was signed before the game to back up Delia after Forsberg was injured, came in after Delia was slow to get up following a play and went to the room.
Sikura dove right into the game, registering a handful of shots early on.
“I think shooting the puck gives you a little confidence early and shows the guys you’re not afraid to make some plays, hold the puck, and shoot the puck like that,” Sikura said. “I know Brinksy’ is more of a shooter but he was telling me to shoot all night. Get those first couple out of the way then you’re not too hesitant later on.”
Drafted by Chicago in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Sikura finished his college career when Northeastern was eliminated by Michigan in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. He had a power-play goal in the 3-2 loss.
The 22-year-old was a Hobey Baker finalist this year with 54 points in 32 games. In four seasons at Northeastern, Sikura notched 58 goals and 88 assists in 137 games.
The Blackhawks signed Sikura to a two-year deal on March 25. He’ll burn the first year of the contract being with Chicago for their final five games of the season.
The newbie got advice from teammates before the game and has some for those about to skate on NHL ice for the first time.
“Something that’s important for a new guy is just to hold onto the puck,” Sikura said. “You got an extra second, sometimes you think you’re a little busy but I think if you just hold onto it you can make a play. It helps a lot.”
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