Vegas is sending forward Brandon Pirri back to Chicago in a one-for-one deal that involves two likely AHL players.
Sikura was a sixth-round pick by the Blackhawks in the 2014 NHL Draft out of Northeastern. The former Hobey Baker finalist has 14 points in 47 NHL games, but had been a solid point producer with AHL Rockford with 68 points in 91 minor-league games.
The 25-year-old Sikura can play either wing or center, which has always been an endearing trait for the Golden Knights in their roster construction. He averaged 9:54 of ice time in nine games during the regular season, primarily as a checking forward. At 5-foot-11, he could be someone challenging for a top-nine role that would best suit him, but the crowded forward depth for Vegas has all signs pointing to Sikura starting next season with the Henderson Silver Knights.
But this trade is more for the player the Golden Knights shipped off rather than the player they acquired. This will be Pirri’s second go-round with the Blackhawks organization; he was drafted by Chicago in the second round in the 2009 draft. He too saw more time with Rockford than Chicago; Pirri only played 35 games with the Blackhawks before being traded to the Florida Panthers in March 2014.
After a three-year stint with Florida and some time with the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers, the Golden Knights signed Pirri to a one-year deal in October 2017 to be an AHL mainstay for the Chicago Wolves. Pirri scored 29 goals that season and was an AHL All-Star.
Pirri’s hot AHL play earned him a call-up to Vegas in December 2018, becoming an important offensive component for the Golden Knights, scoring 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 11 games and earning an NHL roster spot for the rest of the season.
During that December stretch, Pirri’s wife Elyse — who is from Chicago — never left home to join her husband in Las Vegas. Even when Pirri signed a two-year deal in July 2019 with an average annual value of $775,000, Elyse and their son Luca stayed in Chicago. Pirri did not score a goal in 16 games this season and was reassigned to AHL Chicago for the rest of the season.
Good on Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon to do right by Pirri and sending him back to the Chicago area.
The move makes the Golden Knights younger as Pirri is four years older than Sikura. It also gives the Silver Knights a two-way forward to put in their top six if he doesn’t make the Golden Knights’ roster next season.
Pirri was not part of the Golden Knights’ return-to-play playoff roster this summer. Sikura did travel to Edmonton with the Blackhawks but did not play.