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Will Chicago lose out on ’10 first-rounder Hayes?

Jun 4, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

GaudreauHayes Getty Images

During Tuesday’s end-of-season media availability, Chicago GM Stan Bowman stated the club’s desire to sign 2010 first-rounder Kevin Hayes.


That the ‘Hawks want to get Hayes under contract is nothing new — it’s just that, for the last four years, the former Boston College standout hasn’t put pen to paper.

“We want to sign him,” Bowman said, per the Chicago Tribune. “I think he just wanted to take his time and decide what’s best for him.”

The concern with Hayes taking this much time is that, on August 15, Chicago’s rights to him expire and Hayes becomes an unrestricted free agent.

There are plenty of angles to this situation, so let’s break them down in point form:

— Being unsigned four years after getting drafted in the first round is odd from a development standpoint. Hayes, taken 24th overall in 2010, is now 22 years old and already behind the curve (to a certain degree) compared to a number of his ’10 draftees. Two forwards taken behind him (Charlie Coyle, Tyler Toffoli) have already emerged as full-time NHLers and Joakim Nordstrom, who the ‘Hawks took 66 spots after Hayes at that same draft, has already made his NHL debut.

— Hayes is still a prospect and had plenty of success at Boston College, finishing third in the country in scoring while winning the 2014 Beanpot MVP. But he was also one of the biggest (6-foot-3, 205 pounds; the BC website lists him at 6-4, 216) and physically mature players in NCAA hockey last year.

— The issue of Hayes cracking Chicago’s lineup could be key. The ‘Hawks have traded away a number of good young prospects that couldn’t get a regular chance to play in the top six forwards, like Brandon Pirri and Jimmy Hayes. If that latter name is familiar, it should be — Jimmy is Kevin’s older brother, and was sent packing to Florida this season as part of the Kris Versteeg trade. Upon moving to the Panthers, Hayes proceeded to score 11 goals and 18 points in 53 games (the 53 games were more than Hayes saw in three years with the Blackhawks.)

— It has to be mentioned that, at least publicly, Hayes and his agent say trading Jimmy has nothing to do with Kevin’s reluctance to sign in Chicago. “There’s no issue, no problem,” Kevin’s agent, Robert Murray, told ESPN Chicago. “It absolutely has nothing to do with Jimmy. Chicago treated Jimmy fine. The trade probably helped Jimmy.”

On Tuesday, Bowman said he hopes to start contract negotiations soon… and earlier, Murray stated that Hayes’ reluctance to ink a deal shouldn’t be seen as a sign he doesn’t want to join the ‘Hawks.

“There’s no decision that he’s not going to sign with Chicago,” Murray explained. “I’ve tried to stress that with Chicago. That’s not the intent — because he hasn’t signed yet, [he won’t sign ever.] That’s not the case.”

  1. areaman714 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Looks bigger than his listed stats in the picture.

  2. hockey412 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    Had a chance to see this kid play live last year – he fast enough, rough and afraid of NO ONE. Would be a bad one to miss out on.

  3. njadvocate111 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    I’m sure some team out there will be happy to pick him up. But with Toews, Tera, Shaw and Kruger down the middle for the foreseeable future, he isn’t a great fit with the Hawks. They could certainly try him at the wing, but if they just shipped off his brother (who is better) because he couldn’t crack the lineup, I just don’t know where he fits. Good luck to him, hopefully he winds up in Carolina or Fla and gets some time to develop.

  4. rycoem - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Sabres would be a good destination for him

  5. tfilarski - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    do the blackhawks receive some sort of compensation if he walks? or just a waste of a draft pick

    • terrier92 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      sadly a wasted draft pick. Kids are sometimes using this as a way to become free agents and choose teams. Blake Wheeler did it to Phoenix and signed with Boston. There have been other recent examples cant rattle them off the top of my head.

      • esracerx46 - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        Because he completed all 4 years of school and did not deregister I read somewhere the Hawks would get the 54th overall pick in the 2015 draft.

        2 things will factor into if he signs. One ironically enough is Kris Versteeg who the Hawks got by trading Kevin’s brother. The other factor will be what is he? Is he a center? Is he a winger? If he’s a center he might sign. I bet he’s looking at it as where he could slot in the fastest. If he’s a winger and Versteeg stays, he won’t sign. If Versteeg is moved their is a chance he signs. If the Hawks move some forwards to make room for him I bet he signs. That’s what he’s waiting on…I think

      • oldirtyoiler - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Justin Schultz, D with Edm. Drafted by the Ducks but was considered one of the top free agents out of the pool when he refused to sign with Anaheim. Boo birds come out strong at the pond when he touches the puck.

  6. soupy19 - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    Calgary recently signed his BC linemates (Arnold and Gaudreau). Guaranteed they are keeping a close eye on this situation.

    • bildomatic - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      My thoughts exactly… Would be pretty cool to see this line stay intact after they dominated NCAA the past two seasons.

  7. r8rbhawk - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Can he play 2C?

    • esracerx46 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      He may be able to. It’d be nice if he was a right handed shot. He played center last year and some at the start of this year before BC created that vaunted line putting Hayes on wing. A big physical center that has offensive ability would be fantastic next to Kane

      • walleyeb1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        I like that he’s a left handed shot. Lefty will create more rebound to the right for Kaner to knock home. Also better passion to the right would also benefit Kane.

  8. walleyeb1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Meant passing to the right!

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