What a day in the Chicago Blackhawks world!
Here’s a little recap if you missed it:
- Brent Seabrook’s 1,000th
- Potential Starter Anton Forsberg gets hurt playing soccer during pre-game.
- Dylan Sikura & Collin Delia make their first NHL Appearances.
- Sikura & Victor Ejdsell score their first career points.
- Patrick Kane & Alex Debrincat both score their 27th goal of the year.
- Defenseman Erik Gustafsson scores a breakaway goal in the 2nd period, and also had 2 assists.
- Collin Delia injures his knee 6 minutes into the 3rd
- 36 year old emergency Goaltender Scott Foster makes his first pro appearance.
- Foster makes 7 saves on 7 shots, including slap shots from Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers.
- Hawks win 6-2 against a Winnipeg team that was 47-19-10 (104pts).
I realized that I said “little recap” and then went on to list 10 things that stood out in the game. But honestly, there are so many headlines from this game that the biggest thing I was looking forward to (Dylan Sikura’s debut) was overshadowed by quite a few events!
If you’re interested in learning more about new #BlackhawksLegend Scott Foster, you can find about a million different articles that have come out in the past 16 hours. It’s a very unlikely circumstance that happened last year for the Hawks as well. Although last season Eric Semborski, unlike Foster, never got any ice time, let alone made 7 saves from some of the top NHL shooters.
Instead of writing about Scott Foster, I’m going to get in to Dylan Sikura’s debut.
At only 5’11” and 160 pounds, the 22 year old Dylan Sikura made a big impact at the collegiate level. In 137 games at Northeastern University, he racked up 146 points. 111 of them were scored in the past 2 seasons alone. He was a 2014 6th round pick, and he wasn’t very high on the Hawks Prospect List until his junior season, when he scored 57 points in 38 games. This past year, playing as a senior on one of the top lines in the NCAA, he scored 54 points in just 35 games and was named a top-10 Hobey Baker Award finalist along with teammate Adam Gaudette.
Sikura has been described as a play-making forward with good skill and patience, along with top-6 potential. In his first game with the Hawks, he accrued nearly 14 minutes of ice time, was a +2, had 4 shots on goal, and had 2 assists. The line combination of Debrincat-Ejdsell-Sikura was a very noticeable one. Both of the goals that this line created came about by quick defense to offense transitions. All 3 of them play well with the puck on their stick, and they were able to maintain possession in the offensive zone.
Here we see a quick cross-ice pass from Sikura to Debrincat, and then another quick one out of the zone to a streaking Gustafsson:
On this next goal, Ejdsell and Sikura create some offense by criss-crossing once they got into the offensive zone. Defenseman Jordan Oesterle got into the play, forcing the defender to go at him, leaving the trailer, Debrincat, wide open to go and grab the puck. When you give a sniper like Debrincat too much room, he’s going to bury that shot 9 times out of 10.
If this is a sign of things to come, I’m already very excited for next season!
Now it may be slightly premature, as this was only Sikura’s 1st pro game, and Ejdsell’s 2nd game. But if these 2 can contribute, Debrincat and Schmaltz improve on each of their 50 point seasons, the defenseman continue to get involved in the offense, and Crawford come’s back strong next season, look out Central Division!
(Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)