Jimmy Hayes gets the call from the Blackhawks; Brandon Pirri sent back down to RockfordContinue reading.
Touted prospect Kevin Hayes declines to sign with Blackhawks, becomes free agent
As expected, Kevin Hayes, the Blackhawks’ first-round draft pick in 2010, did not sign with the team on Friday, making him an unrestricted free agent as of midnight. The Hawks will receive the 54th pick in the 2015 NHL draft as compensation.
“We offered Kevin what we believed was a generous and fair contract,” Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a release. “Unfortunately, he felt it was in his best interests to become a free agent. We are looking forward to the compensatory draft pick we are receiving and are focused on the excitement surrounding the start of training camp next month.”
Hayes, a 6-3, 210-pound power forward, had 27 goals and 38 assists as a senior at Boston College this past season, playing on the best line in college hockey with Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold, both of whom were signed by the Calgary Flames. Neither he nor his agent, Bob Murray, have explicitly said why Hayes didn’t want to sign with the Hawks, but there are several possible reasons.
The most obvious is the simple fact that Hayes is a right winger, and with Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Ben Smith and Kris Versteeg, among others, in his way, there’s no clear path to the NHL for Hayes, who, at 22 years old, is considered NHL ready. Another possibility is he wants to follow his linemates Gaudreau and Arnold to Calgary, or his brother Jimmy to Florida. There has been speculation that Hayes is angry with the Hawks for the way they handled Jimmy Hayes before dealing him to Florida, but a source said that’s not an issue.