The Blackhawks announced that have signed center John Hayden to a two year, entry level contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hayden was Chicago’s third round pick (74th overall) back in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
The 22 year old posted career highs across the board offensively this year at Yale in his senior season. In 33 games with the Bulldogs, he had 21 goals and 13 assists.
Scott Powers of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that Hayden is expected to report to the Blackhawks right away and will burn the first of the two years this season. That will allow him to get out of the entry level system and into restricted free agency in the 2018 offseason. Had Hayden waited until August to sign, he could have opted for unrestricted free agency and it’s likely that he was able to use that as leverage to play the first year of the deal now. As Hayden was a draft pick and not a free agent signing, he is eligible to participate in the postseason, adds Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times via Twitter.
Other news from around the college market:
- With Northeastern Universty being eliminated by Boston University yesterday in the college playoffs, the focus will quickly shift to undrafted forward Zach Aston-Reese. The 22 year old is widely perceived as the top college free agent available this year and it was reported earlier this week that as many as 15 teams are expected to be interested in his services. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that the Senators, Oilers, Canucks, and Penguins are among the teams that are expected to go after the forward. It’s worth noting that Aston-Reese attended Edmonton’s summer development camp while he was teammates with defenseman Matt Benning, who the Oilers signed in the offseason. Given all of the expected interest, Aston-Reese should be able to land a contract that will allow him to play between now and the end of the season like Hayden did.
- Friedman adds via Twitter that Northeastern center John Stevens is expected to draw some interest on the open market as well. The senior played in just 25 games this season and passed the point per game mark for the first time with five goals and 23 assists. Stevens is the son of Kings’ associate coach John Stevens.