Kevin Hayes has officially hit the free agent market after declining to sign an entry-level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. He hasn’t chosen a new employer yet, but he soon could thanks to a bevy of suitors hoping to secure the services of a forward who blossomed in his senior season at Boston College.
CBS Sports writes that Hayes will meet with 4 or 5 teams and decide from there. Teams rumored to be interested include the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins. Well, hey, if that’s all.
After having been selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, Hayes played three middling seasons at Boston College before he blew up in his senior season alongside Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau. While many point to his stellar teammate as a reason for his declining value in the eyes of Blackhawks management, that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to this recap and analysis of Hayes from Puck Daddy. Hayes is still considered a first-round talent and at an entry-level contract price, he’d be a tempting addition for any array of teams.
Hayes has several great options available to him. He can play with his former teammate, Chris Kreider, in New York, or he can play with his most recent linemate, Gaudreau, in Calgary. Or he can play with his brother, Jimmy, in Florida. Or he can play wherever he wants. That’s the beauty of being a young, cheap free agent. Just about any team would be foolish not to take a shot on Kevin Hayes.