Blackhawks

Why the Blackhawks traded Sikura for Pirri

Blackhawks

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman spoke with the media on Wednesday, less than a week ahead of Day 1 of the NHL Draft and just two days after the Hawks swapped forwards Dylan Sikura and Brandon Pirri with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Sikura, 25, appeared in 47 games across three seasons with Chicago, registering one goal and 13 assists.

Pirri, 29, was in the Hawks organization from 2010-14 before being traded to the Florida Panthers. He had two assists in 16 games with the Golden Knights this past season after recording 12 goals and six assists in 31 games in 2018-19 with Vegas.

Brandon spent more time in the AHL last season with the Chicago Wolves, recording 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 38 games.

Related: What Brandon Pirri expects from another opportunity with the Blackhawks

Bowman felt Sikura could benefit from a change of scenery and the Blackhawks could benefit from Pirri's experience and ability. 

"In looking at our team and looking at Dylan's opportunity here, it didn't probably work out the way that he had anticipated or we had," Bowman said. "I think when that happens you start calling around to see if there's a better opportunity for Dylan somewhere else, and in those conversations you look at what teams are willing to offer. 

"When we moved Brandon Pirri years ago, our team was in a different stage and Brandon was also just starting his NHL career. He was playing center back then. He's changed a lot as a player. He's certainly shown he can score in the NHL level, he had a 20-goal season and he's played for a few different teams, but he's played a few hundred games in the league (275) and I think he gives an option. 

 

"He's got an elite shot, he can still shoot the puck better than most players so he's a threat to score. He's transitioned more to be a winger now than he was when he was younger, and I think he's just shown some more maturity and I think he understands how to contribute maybe not always the way you draw it up in your mind, but I think it takes players some time to get through that. 

Related: How Brandon Pirri can add depth at center for the Blackhawks

"I know he's still hungry to prove he can be an NHL player, but he's also got a great attitude. He's a prolific scorer at the American League level, but we want to see what he can do, get an opportunity here to come to training camp and show if he could be an NHL player for us."

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