To help prepare our readers for the NHL Entry Draft, scheduled to take place on June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia, Madhouse Enforcer is bringing you a series of posts not only introducing you to the team’s prospects, but also to which players could be a good fit for the Chicago Blackhawks in the future.
Today we enter the Top 5 of our countdown of the Top 10 prospects in the Hawks’ system as we profile our number five prospect, forward Kevin Hayes.
Drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft, Hayes has had quite a collegiate career at Boston College. During the 2013-14 season, he won MVP honors at the annual Beanpot tournament, and was nominated as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in college hockey.
His numbers from this year speak for themselves, as he scored 27 goals and 38 assists for the Golden Eagles in 40 games, and his offensive skill set and ability to get into tough areas to score are both huge assets that the Hawks love.
Unlike other prospects like Alex Broadhurst and Klas Dahlbeck that have signed entry-level deals with the Hawks recently, Hayes doesn’t seem to be in any rush to sign with the team. While some have speculated that the reason behind his hesitation is the fact that the team traded his brother Jimmy to the Florida Panthers, Hayes’ agent told ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers that wasn't the case:
“There’s no decision made on any of that right now. There’s no decision that he’s not going to sign with Chicago. 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.”
It will be interesting to see how the Hayes saga plays out, but if he does end up signing with the team, he has the potential to be a really solid player for the organization.
Outlook for Blackhawks:
If Hayes signs a deal, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine him in a similar role to that of Bryan Bickell or Andrew Shaw. He could see time on the top two lines, but his future is probably more so that of a third liner. He has scoring touch, but his physicality could be beefed up a bit if he wants to make an immediate impact on the Hawks.
Hayes has all the makings of a really solid player, and while he may not make the Blackhawks’ roster straight out of training camp next season, he will be one of the guys that the organization would keep a sharp eye on as the season progressed.