Ever since Kevin Hayes became an unrestricted free agent on Friday at midnight, he’s been the hottest commodity on the open market.
Chalk it up to the dog days of summer, but Hayes, a Chicago Blackhawks first-round selection from the 2010 NHL Draft, has been all over the hockey headlines the past 48 hours.
Teams rumored to be interested in Hayes’ services include the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers.
The latest update on the forward comes from Mark Divver at The Providence Journal:
Hearing that Kevin Hayes camp will spend Sunday narrowing list of NHL suitors, then speak with 4 to 5 finalists on Mon.
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) August 17, 2014
Chicago had until Friday to sign Hayes who spent the past four seasons at Boston College where last season he scored 27 goals and 65 points in 48 games.
Since the Blackhawks were unable to come to terms with Hayes, they received a compensatory pick (54th overall) for next year’s draft.
As Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun points out in his Sunday column nearly 200 players, who spent at least one game in the NHL last season, remain unsigned.
So with no professional experience, Hayes hardly seems the type of player who should be at the top of team’s must-sign list, if they’re in search of immediate help. Hayes is unlikely to have a significant impact this season.
Though Hayes, 22, had a decent showing last season playing NCAA Div. 1, he likely needs some seasoning in the AHL before making any kind of mark at the NHL level.
Chances are whichever team signs him, will give the Massachusetts a native a look at training camp before allowing him to get some big minutes at the AHL level.