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Hayes to skip ‘Hawks camp as contract deadline looms

Jul 8, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

GaudreauHayes Getty Images

Things are going down to the wire between Boston College star Kevin Hayes and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Hayes, Chicago’s first-round pick (24th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is passing on Chicago’s summer prospects camp as he and agent Robert Murray negotiate a deal prior to the Aug. 15 deadline — at which time Hayes becomes an unrestricted free agent.

(If he goes UFA, the Blackhawks would be given a compensatory second-round draft pick in 2015.)

More, from ESPN Chicago:

Murray said Tuesday the negotiations are ongoing between Hayes and the Blackhawks, and there is a possibility the two sides can still come to an agreement.

“Of course he could still sign with Chicago,” Murray wrote in a text on Tuesday.

Murray previously said there were a number of criteria, including depth of the organization, they were using to determine whether Hayes would sign. Hayes would likely begin his professional career in the AHL if he signed with the Blackhawks.

Prospects camp starts Sunday and, as you’d expect, there are plenty of angles to Hayes not attending while he works out a deal. 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 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 BC, finishing third in the country last season 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 Murray say trading Jimmy has nothing to do with Kevin’s reluctance to sign in Chicago. “There’s no issue, no problem,” Murray told ESPN Chicago. “It absolutely has nothing to do with Jimmy. Chicago treated Jimmy fine. The trade probably helped Jimmy.”

That final point probably most key. If the elder Hayes found greener pastures elsewhere, maybe the younger is thinking the same?

  1. ray2013 - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Is this similar to Justin Schultz? Become a UFA early on and pick the best spot possible for playing time and personal preference?

    • mactruck27 - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Pretty much the exact same thing, though he’s not a right-handed, puck-moving defenseman, so the bidding war will probably not match Schultz’s situation.

      • rsl22 - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        You underestimate NHL GMs. 6’4 prospects with scoring ability entering their prime will always be a hot commodity. It’s probably most similar to Blake Wheeler.

      • esracerx46 - Jul 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        Hayes completed school while Schultz de-registered. Allowing him to become a UFA immediately. I also think because he de-registered, the Ducks weren’t able to get a compensatory. But I could be mistaken.

      • ray2013 - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:19 AM

        But there is a rookie cap, so everyone can just offer him the max, and he can pick the best spot for himself. Doesn’t seem to be the same level of vitriol like there was with Schultz.

    • blomfeld - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:24 PM


  2. hockey412 - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    I have to think if he was going to sign he would have already. The kid’s a beast….who knows whether it will translate, but he’s a beast. Can’t blame him for calling his shots at 22, when his brother was traded and did well afterward.

  3. lowenni - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    what happened to simon gagne

    • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      I’ve been wonder the same thing. Last I heard he was doin tv aperences here an there. It’s crazy to think no one has called him. He can still play. He’d be a perfect third line wing with his above average two way game an can move op the line when needed. One of my favorite flyers of all time. Kills me homer did him dirty last season. Dudes a complete class act.

  4. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Hmmm his two college linemates both play for the Flames, and his brother is in Florida, you’d have to think he’ll end up in one of those two places.

    • rsl22 - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      That assumes he doesn’t care much for playoff hockey.

    • wikidpissah - Jul 9, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      Or Boston. He grew up in the city and stayed local at BC.

  5. ibieiniid - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Can somebody give me a little bit of info on compensatory picks? Particularly, what are the stipulations that have to be met to get this extra pick (and move the rest of the teams in the league down one pick)? I know you have to offer a contract that isn’t accepted, but I’ve never been sure of the amount/length that these untested hockey players turn down from time to time. Seems crazy to me… especially being the Blackhawks.

    • mactruck27 - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      It makes a lot of sense, really. There’s about a 0% chance that he gets playing time ahead of Kane, Hossa, Sharp, and Saad – so that means he’s looking at bottom-six minutes/duties/linemates at best with the Blackhawks.

      Now, if he were to sign somewhere (like Calgary or Florida) he’s probably getting automatic top-6 minutes and has a much better chance at piling up numbers early in his career, get arbitration rights on his second contract, and hit that big payday much sooner for a team presumably that will have the cap space to fill it.

      • ibieiniid - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        I seem to remember a bottom-6 forward in Chicago that scored a Cup clincher and happened to just get himself a hugely oversized deal (in, what do ya know, Florida), possibly due to his time with the club and the coaching staff.

        That’s the one thing likely missing in your scenario there. A cup.

        Chicago’s bottom 6 is a path to a bigger contract. Florida, not so much.

    • killerpgh - Jul 8, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      There is way to much variance to make a short summary. A lot depends of how old the players was when drafted, if they played overseas, went to juniors or played college hockey. So here is a link to the CBA and I’ll tells you where to go to find it.
      Start reading “Article 8, ENTRY DRAFT ” (page 16).

      • ibieiniid - Jul 9, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        oh true that. thanks for the info killer. thought it was a simpler formula than that haha.

  6. tn16 - Jul 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Look at Benning trying to sign this guy cause really who hasten the already signed

  7. marauders127 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Wow, this has Tim Murray and the Sabres written all over it.

  8. djshnooks - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Murray mentioned a prospect who was having contract problems…and Hayes was linked to the Sabres at the deadline.

    Trade for his rights and let him start the year in Buffalo…couldn’t hurt any.

    Especially if Hodgson/Stewart get shipped to Ottawa, or elsewhere…as rumored.

  9. garn53 - Jul 9, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Why wouldn’t he go to FA? If he signs with Chicago it will most likely be for less $ and for the right to rot in the minors at least couple more years. If he goes to FA someone will pick him up, pay him more and he will probably be an NHLer this year or next.
    Good luck Kevin.

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