When the John Hayden finished his season at Yale University, other teams must have hoped that he would wait just a few more months before making a decision on his playing future. The Chicago Blackhawks forward could have become a free agent in August, but according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, never considered anywhere else.
What’s not to like about playing here? There was an opportunity, you know you’re going to have a chance to win, they supported me staying in school. There was no reason to go anywhere else.
That kind of thinking has paid off for Hayden already, as it didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to insert him into an important position alongside captain Jonathan Toews. Hayden has responded with three points in his first four games, and has shown he can be a physical presence at the highest level. The big forward—who is actually a natural centerman—is turning heads around the league, and is just another example of the exemplary drafting Chicago has shown over the past decade. As they ship players out due to salary limitations, they back-fill with talented youngsters like Hayden, Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman. Each of those three will likely play a key role down the stretch and into the playoffs for the Blackhawks, who once again look like the team to beat in the Western Conference.
- Friedman also notes that the NHL is looking towards next New Year’s Eve to celebrate the end of the league’s centennial season with some sort of event. While Friedman guesses it could have to do with Montreal, the Canadiens are already confirmed to be the opponents of the Ottawa Senators in their outdoor game on December 16th. While that doesn’t rule them out, it would be odd to see the team involved in events so close together.
- Josh Healey has been suspended for the third time this season and fifth in his time at Ohio State, but that isn’t scaring off teams around the league. Friedman points out that many teams believe several of the incidents wouldn’t have even been penalized at the professional level, and enjoy his physical play. That said, Healey is apparently down to a short list for where he will sign once his college season eventually ends. He’s been linked to several teams in the past, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Born in Edmonton, he has twice attended their development camps but actually lists St. Louis as his favorite team on his Ohio State bio.