With the deadline looming, it seems less likely that Kevin Hayes will sign with the Blackhawks. Hayes was the first overall pick (24th) of the Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL draft. Hayes has stated that he wants a chance to play right away in the NHL. Kevin Hayes is the younger brother of Jimmy Hayes former Chicago Blackhawks. Jimmy was traded to the Panthers this past season.
Kevin Hayes might be going down a similar path of former Blackhawks first round pick Kyle Beach. Beach was the first overall pick (11th) of the Blackhawks in the 2008 NHL draft. Beach never lived up to his potential with the Blackhawks. Beach spent several seasons with the Rockford Ice Hogs. He racked up 163 games, 41 goals, 35 assists for 75 points from the 09-10 to 13-14. Beach felt out of favor with the Blackhawks and they loaned him out to HV71 Jonkoping in the Swedish Hockey League. After his stint in Sweden, the Blackhawks decided it was time to move on from Beach. They traded him to the New York Islanders. Beach spent the entire year with the AHL affiliate of the Islanders.
Thursday it was announced that Kyle Beach will sign with EC Red Bull Salzberg in Austria. With Hayes leaving via free agency and Beach being a bust, do the Blackhawks have issues with their FIRST ROUND draft strategy?
The answer is maybe. Since 2008 the Blackhawks first round picks have contributed to the organization:
2008 Kyle Beach: Bust and traded
2010 Kevin Hayes: did not sign-free agent
2011 Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault jury still out, both in Rockford this season
2012 Teuvo Teravainen: shot to make the Blackhawks.
2013 Ryan Hartman: Could play in Rockford.
2014 Nick Schmaltz: probably staying with his USHL team.
Hartman, McNeill, Danault, Teravainen, and Schmaltz could all be great players in the future for the Blackhawks. The reason I said first round strategy and now overall strategy is because the Blackhawks hit on some core players in the later rounds. Brandon Saad was a second round pick in 2011, Andrew Shaw was a fifth round pick in 2011, Joakim Nordstrom was a third round pick in 2010, Marcus Kruger was a fifth round pick in 2009 and Ben Smith was a 6th round pick in 2008. The Blackhawks might have missed on Hayes and Beach but they HAVE hit on many others.
The Blackhawks have been applauded for selecting Jonathan Toews with the 3rd overall pick in 2006 and Patrick Kane with the 1st overall pick in 2007. The jury is still out on the remaining first round picks from McNeill to Schmaltz. Let’s hope they turn out better than Hayes and Beach.
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