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Golden Knights trade Brandon Pirri

Dylan Sikura was a touted prospect in the Chicago Blackhawks’ system when he signed at the conclusion of his college career. The Golden Knights hope a fresh start can unlock his offensive potential.

Sikura was acquired from the Blackhawks for Brandon Pirri on Monday in a swap of forwards seeking a change of scenery.

“We see a player that I feel should come here trying to make our team,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said of Sikura. “If he’s successful, that’s great. If he’s not successful, he’s going to be a player that has call-up utility for us and a real good player in Henderson.”

Since turning pro in 2018, Sikura was unable to crack Chicago’s lineup full time and produced one goal and 13 assists in 47 career games.

At 5 feet, 11 inches and 166 pounds, Sikura has struggled with the physicality of the NHL. McCrimmon noted he needs to get stronger.

Sikura had one goal and three points in nine games with the Blackhawks and did not appear in the postseason when the Knights eliminated Chicago in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Sikura spent four seasons at Northeastern University after being drafted in the sixth round in 2014. He earned NCAA East first-team All America honors and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey as a senior.

McCrimmon said the Knights were interested in signing Sikura had he not agreed to terms with the Blackhawks when his college career ended.

“He’s got a good shot. He’s got quick hands,” McCrimmon said. “He’s got skill. That’s what we see.”

Sikura has spent most of the pro career with Rockford of the American Hockey League and was second on the team in scoring last season. The winger had 68 points in 91 career AHL appearances for the IceHogs.

Sikura, 25, must clear waivers if he doesn’t make the Golden Knights roster out of training camp and would play with the Henderson Silver Knights of the AHL.

He has a $750,000 salary cap hit and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after the 2020-21 season.

The deal also benefits Pirri, who started his career with the Blackhawks and lives in Chicago during the offseason.

Pirri went on a memorable scoring run with the Knights during the 2018-19 season after a December call-up. He had seven goals in his first eight appearances and finished with 12 goals and 18 points in 31 games.

But Pirri produced one assist in 11 games after making the Knights out of training camp and was not selected to the expanded postseason roster.

“When I spoke to Brandon earlier, he was appreciative,” McCrimmon said. “It doesn’t always unfold that you can accommodate a player the way that we did here, but this one was able to make sense from a hockey standpoint. And just from a lifestyle viewpoint for Brandon, it’s a really good fit.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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