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Blackhawks address Hayes free agency, will receive 2015 second-rounder

Aug 15, 2014, 5:52 PM EDT

Kevin Hayes Getty Images

It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that Kevin Hayes will spurn the Chicago Blackhawks and become a free agent once midnight rolls around, but the team made it official on Friday. They also shared the team’s compensation as he walks: Chicago will receive a second-round pick (54th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft for its troubles.

Here’s a statement from GM Stan Bowman:

“We offered Kevin what we believed was a generous and fair contract. Unfortunately, he felt it was in his best interests to become a free agent. We are looking forward to the compensatory draft pick we are receiving and are focused on the excitement surrounding the start of training camp next month.”

The Blackhawks selected Hayes, 22, with the 24th pick in 2010, but considering the excitement surrounding next year’s draft, getting the 54th selection isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Here’s a fun way to look at it:

Granted, that excitement might have more to do with high-end talent than overall depth, but perhaps the Blackhawks could package that pick for a nice rental during the trade deadline or any other number of beneficial possibilities.

Things simply haven’t worked out between the Blackhawks and the Hayes family. Jimmy Hayes was also in Chicago’s system before being traded to the Florida Panthers as part of the package that landed Kris Versteeg.

Kevin Hayes’ rumored logic for leaving the Chicago pipeline is simple enough: many believe that he simply didn’t have the same chance to crack the starting lineup as he would in rumored destinations such as Florida, Calgary and even Boston. (The Calgary Flames gave the long version of a “no comment” when asked about their interest in Hayes, for one.)

Hayes is generally believed to be NHL-ready, and with his enticing size, he could inspire a fairly interesting bidding war. Granted, much of that entertainment is limited since he can only make so much money on an entry-level deal, but this is relatively solid drama considering how deep we are into the hockey summer.

  1. lowenni - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Eh. I’m not convinced this kid is going to be that special anyways and a first class organization like the Hawks doesn’t need to deal with his primadonna acts anyways. I’m of the belief that he didn’t see himself having much of a future in chicago, and he was probably right. He’s big and talented but playing next to Johnny Gaudreau in college helped him in college. I don’t exactly hold him in the highest regard after spurning the Hawks, the same way I didn’t with Justin Schultz, but it would be really cool to see the Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes line reunite in Calgary and see what they could do in the NHL. Really cool.

    • lowenni - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Whoops, repeated my words a ly in that sentence…

      • lowenni - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:31 PM


      • anthj99 - Aug 15, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        I hope you and yourself can work this all out.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        I hope you two can start communicating;)

      • lowenni - Aug 15, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        Long day…

    • esracerx46 - Aug 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      At least Hayes did the Hawks a favor and finished school allowing them to at least get the compensatory pick. Schultz deregistered from school then refused to sign with the Ducks. Ducks got nothing out of it.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      I really don’t blame Hayes for making this decision. Teams know the risks and benefits of drafting college bound prospects. If it’s part of the CBA that after 4 years a college player can exercise his rights as a free agent then there’s no reason to be mad at the player. To me it’s similar to being mad at a team for handing out an offer sheet, bc there’s some “unwritten rule” against it. Only problem is there are written rules within the CBA that allow college players to enter the market and teams to hand out offer sheets. Hayes is making a choice that is well within the rules. You can disagree with it or call him whatever for not having the cojones to try and earn a spot on a deep roster but really it’s what makes the most sense for him. Every player wants to go to a place where he’ll have the best chance to succeed (especially early on) and that place is not Chicago. I just don’t see it as being a primadonna, he’s not demanding special treatment, simply exercising his rights.

      • esracerx46 - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        As a Hawks fan I have no issue with him going to free agency. When you have the option of making 950k or 75k for 2 years, I can see why he’d pick what he’s picked. Hockey being a contact sport, these guys have to look out for number 1. Especially when they haven’t made anything. He owes the Hawks nothing and the Hawks owe him nothing. It is what it is.

      • cliffatola - Aug 17, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        An ELC is still what he is going to have to sign, the money will be the same no matter where he signs.

  2. djshnooks - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    A little bit of respect lost for the NHL today.

    Giving away 2nd round draft picks to the best teams in the league, for failing to sign or give a chance to their prospects?

    That’s ridiculous…I don’t get it.

    • esracerx46 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      They didn’t just give a pick to the Hawks for failing to sign him. Hawks had to offer him a fair contract and Hayes has to refuse to sign in order for the Hawks to get the pick. What would you rather have, a 22 yr old NHL ready player. Or a kid that is 17 right now that you have to wait 3 more years after he’s drafted. So roughly 7-8 years after the original pick.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:41 PM

        You left out that not only did they lose years, they went back 30 picks. Apparantly the Hawks envying posts are starting earlier this year – may be a sign of good things to come;)

    • phtjoey - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      the compensation for these cases was agreed between the NHL & NHLPA and is documented in the CBA.

      “Compensatory Draft Selection shall be the same numerical choice in
      the second round in the Entry Draft immediately following the date the Club loses such rights.” i.e. 54th pick in this case

  3. btlpper68 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Te league is up in arms that the devils got their 1 rounder back cuz a selfish player left in the middle of his massive contract but chi gets a 2 rounder cuz they can’t sign a player??

    • btlpper68 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      If you can’t tell I think that’s ridiculous

      • esracerx46 - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:53 PM

        The league gave the Devils a pick back. Some GMs might not have liked it, but the commissioner is a pawn for the owners. If the majority of owners didn’t want the devils to have their pick, the Devils wouldn’t have had the pick. The Devils were still penalized, just not as severely

  4. cotts1 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Why the 54th pick? One would think it would be a compensatory pick at the end of the 2nd….why do they get a comp pick before some other teams get their actual 2nd round pick?

    • arlingtonrob - Aug 15, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      Got a beef?…..blame the CBA. The rule applies to all NHL clubs and their first round draft picks who decide to play NCAA hockey.

      If a player is drafted at 18 prior to entering college, stays in college for 4 full years, actually graduates, and refuses to sign a contract with the club that drafted him, the NHL club is given the modest compensation of a second round pick in the same spot at the first round pick they are “losing”. Hayes was taken 24th, so the Hawks are given a compensatory pick at 24th in round 2…54th overall.

      Again, this rule applies to all clubs and they’re NCAA selections. Most NCAA players will either leave school early and turn pro, or simply sign with the club that drafted them.

      The Hayes decision is rare.

      The idea that this is some sort of “favor” for one of the NHL’s “premier” teams is absurd. It’s in the CBA and applies to every NHL club.

  5. anthj99 - Aug 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    What’s the logic behind giving Chi a FREE 2nd round draft pick because they made a bad draft choice and couldn’t sign the player? Is there a rule for this? Seems like many other teams have failed to sign their picks to contracts and I’ve never heard of them getting compensated for it. Again, the NHL just does what it wants to protect it’s coveted teams. How ridiculous.

    • arlingtonrob - Aug 16, 2014 at 12:02 AM

      It’s not ridiculous…it’s negotiated and part of the CBA.

      It applies to all clubs who draft NCAA bound players at 18 year of age IN THE FIRST ROUND. The owners…ALL OWNERS…wanted modest protection in case these players decide to become free agents and NOT sign with the club that drafts them.

      All owners wanted this provision so it applies to all clubs.

      It’s rare and may not happen again for years.

      • esracerx46 - Aug 16, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        Its also not a “free” draft pick. Would you rather have a first round pick. Or a second round pick. I don’t think many teams are lining up for that. Some guys just don’t get how the CBA works at all.

      • anthj99 - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        Shut up.

  6. blackhawks2010 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Bottom line is Hayes has NHL talent, just not Chicago Blackhawks top tier talent to crack our roster.

    He can play on the 3rd line in most rosters in the NHL right now, just not ours….

    2nd round pick is a bonus!

    • cotts1 - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      Haynes blows…he couldn’t even play on Buffalo’s 3rd line.

      • bullwinkle88 - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:13 PM

        I’d love to see Buffalo sign him to test that out!

  7. djshnooks - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    I just don’t understand why Buffalo didn’t get anything for first round pick Zagrapan.

    That’s what is confusing me.

    But a 2nd round pick is not always “some 17 year old kid 3-4 years away,” as pointed out, it could be a Duncan Keith, or it could be what nets you a pending free agent at the deadline…which some good players have been had for 2nd round picks.

    It just stinks…like the CHL-AHL age rule.

    • esracerx46 - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Marek Zagrapan signed a contract in 2006 for the Sabres. That’s why the Sabres didn’t get compensation. My point was, would you rather have a 22 year old considered NHL ready? Or a late 2nd round pick? Draft picks are crapshoots, hence why Dan Bertram was mentioned. If people knew what Keith would have turned out to be he probably wouldn’t have been drafted 54th in his age 19 season.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 16, 2014 at 12:54 AM

        ES, I continue to respect your command of facts/history

      • anthj99 - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        Why don’t ya make out with him?

  8. stlbluesfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Are there any rummers as to where he is headed???

    • cliffatola - Aug 17, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      Florida (his older brother is there, also a cast off from the Hawks), Calgary (his two college linemates are there) or possibly staying in Boston (they are a little thin on the RW with Iginla leaving).

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