Dylan Sikura doesn’t exactly bristle at the thought of being called a prospect, but he doesn’t exactly feel like one anymore, either.
Not after getting into five games with the Blackhawks in the wake of a dominant senior season at Northeastern. Not at age 23. Not while he’s being penciled in by most as a top-nine player for the Hawks this season.
So if he’s not a prospect, then is he a bona fide NHL player already?
‘‘I’m kind of stuck in between,’’ Sikura said, chuckling. ‘‘It’s a little weird. I went to a bunch of ‘prospect’ things this summer and you kind of get treated like that, but I’ve only played five games. So I guess until I make the team and play a full year, I am still a prospect. I’ll take what I can get.’’
Sikura is one of the more accomplished players this week in Traverse City, and he’s hoping the eight-team prospect tournament can springboard him into training camp the way it did for Alex DeBrincat last year. Like DeBrincat, Sikura is clearly one of the better players in the tournament, and he made his presence felt frequently with a goal — a one-timer from the right circle off a pass from Nicolas Beaudin — and an assist in the opener Friday.
That’s what he came here to do.
‘‘Just play my game out there and try to be the best player I can be and try to dominate out here,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously, it’s going to be tough. You’re going to be targeted out here, not a lot of space. But I think [it’s about] improving and getting back into game form going into camp and being ready to go.’’