After much weeping and gnashing of teeth by armchair GM’s across the city, the Chicago Blackhawks recalled forward Jimmy Hayes from the Rockford IceHogs on Tuesday. In addition, the Hawks assigned defenseman Steve Montador to their minor league club for what is assumed to be a conditioning stint.
Hayes is tied for the IceHogs' team lead in goals this season for the IceHogs, tallying 22 of them in addition to 17 assists. He has also been very disciplined this year, with only 23 penalty minutes to his credit through 58 games.
The reason so many Chicago fans were clamoring for Hayes to be recalled when Patrick Sharp went down with a shoulder injury was because of not only his offensive prowess, but also because of his size. At 6’5” and 210 pounds, Hayes is the type of guy that head coach Joel Quenneville can plant in front of the net to create screens, as well as to wreak havoc physically on the second or third line. This physicality is something that the Hawks don’t necessarily emphasize with their playing style, but judging by how Quenneville has longed for Bryan Bickell to assume that role of tough guy with scoring touch, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to ask Hayes to do the same thing.
This also isn’t Hayes’ first rodeo with the Hawks. He made his NHL debut last season in a late December tilt with the Detroit Red Wings, and scored his first career goal just three days later against the Edmonton Oilers.
For more info on Hayes, here is a video that the team released last year, featuring an interview with Hayes (on the right) and another forward worth keeping an eye on for a call-up this season, Ben Smith.