Although it’s not official, all signs point to the Chicago Blackhawks not signing their 2010 First Round Draft Pick, Kevin Hayes, before the August 15th deadline. After the deadline, Hayes will be an unrestricted free agent, and able to sign with any other team
Will this be something that will end up being a huge missed opportunity for the Hawks?
Yes and no. It depends on how you look at it.
When the Hawks drafted Hayes 24th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft, he wasn’t going to be contributing for a while, anyways. Hayes went to hone his skills and develop at Boston College, with the Hawks still owning the rights to Hayes up until the upcoming August 15th deadline.
Last season, at Boston College, Hayes’ 65 points were 2nd best in the NCAA, and he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to NCAA Hockey’s Most Valuable Player. Now, Hayes is seasoned, developed, and ready to contribute to an NHL team, but why not the team that drafted him?
According to Hayes’ agent, the Hawks are too good.
The Hawks’ depth makes it hard for Hayes to crack the roster and fill a big role on the team, which means he would likely wind up in Rockford, playing in the AHL. Hayes wants to play for an NHL team that needs him to be a star, and needs him now.
The Hawks could use Hayes, even in an expanded role, but likely not in 2014-2015. Once players like Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have moved on, Hayes would have likely stepped up, and filled in their respective spots/roles on the Hawks’ roster.
Just not this season.
So, will this be a crushing blow to the Hawks a few years from now?
It is unfortunate anytime a team gets nothing from their 1st round pick, just ask the Houston Astros. Could the Hawks have drafted someone else and avoided this situation? It’s impossible to say for sure, but probably. Who could they have drafted? Tyler Toffoli, of 2013-2014 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings fame. Okay, no more “what ifs” because they are starting to hurt.
Overall, this is unfortunate, no doubt, but not a huge deal. The Hawks will be just fine. They will receive the number 24(48th overall) pick, in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Draft, which is nothing to scoff at, especially when considering that the Hawks selected Brandon Saad with the 43rd overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Keep in mind, this is still not official, but it’s all but likely going to happen.
The Hawks will live to see another day; this doesn’t even sting that bad. It’s unfortunate, but it’s best to remember that Hayes doesn’t want to sign with the Hawks because they are basically too good, according to him/his agent. So, thanks for the backhanded compliment, Mr. Hayes, and good luck to you and your NHL future.
Can the 2014-2015 season start, already?