Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ John Hayden And His Potential Lineup Role

By Sean Fitzgerald
Feb 21, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks added one of the young draft picks in John Hayden, and he will fill a need on the current team

The Chicago Blackhawks inked John Hayden to a two-year entry-level contract on Sunday. Hayden joined the Blackhawks for their morning skate today in Montreal (at one point being last to a scrum and having to “do a lap” as a result), and he may possibly play this week.

Hayden is a physical forward with some skill. It has been mentioned that he could be a possibly be a candidate to play in the bottom six during the stretch run and/or playoffs.

Hayden is exactly what the Blackhawks were looking for around the trade deadline, as 670 The Score’s Jay Zawaski tweeted to me personally.

Hayden, a 2013 third-round draft pick of the Blackhawks, meets all of those requirements. He is 6-foot-3, 201 pounds and showed he can score goals at Yale. He set career highs in goals with 21 goals and 13 assists. He is also known as a physical forward.

He said this to the Chicago Tribune about his physical play:

"“I play a physical, hard-working game at the college level, and I plan on doing the same thing here,” Hayden said. “I’ll take all the advice I can get … and hopefully make it as seamless a transition as possible.”"

Hayden can bring physicality

While the Blackhawks have been known for speed and puck possession during the Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews era, they have lacked size for the most part. The Blackhawks have had bigger type players in Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa in past seasons, though both players did not play physically all the time. Most of the Blackhawks’ physical play came from the smaller, scrappy type players.

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Richard Panik has upped his game since the departure of Andrew Shaw. Panik is currently the team’s  hits leader with 133 and he ranks 56th in NHL, according to Sporting Charts.com.

The next closest Blackhawk in hits is  Ryan Hartman, like Hayden a 2013 draft selection. Aside from Panik and Hartman, the next closest forward is little-used Andrew Desjardins. Desjardins has 62 hits on the season.

So Hayden could help in the hits department but he can also help score some goals. He could also replace Jordin Tootoo and Desjardins in the lineup. Despite Tootoo strong play in the last three games, he should NOT be a regular player for this Blackhawks team. Tootoo and Desjardins combined have three points between them. That is not going to be enough in the playoffs if the Blackhawks want to make a deep run.

Hayden’s role on the team

It has been said that the Blackhawks’ system takes sometime to learn. Tomas Jurco is learning the difference between the Red Wings’ and Blackhawks systems and has been a healthy scratch a few times as a result.

With that being said, Hayden is not expected to play tonight against the Canadiens. The coaching staff will like to see him work out for them before thrusting into game against. The ’Hawks did the same thing when Teuvo Teravainen and Kyle Baun were brought over to the big club.

Teravainen played a few games before being sent down to the AHL. Baun played his only two NHL games before being sent to Rockford.

This is the smart play for Hayden. He needs some transition time before being thrust into the NHL. As we have seen this season, some players take some time to develop.

Next: Corey Crawford, A Post-Lockout Stat Glance

Nick Schmaltz needed extra seasoning in Rockford before finding his game in the NHL. Tyler Motte was successful early on before his injury. He never returned to form after his injury and was sent to Rockford in January. Motte has yet to recalled.

It will be interesting to see when Hayden plays and how he plays.

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