If Kevin Hayes doesn't sign with Chicago by Aug. 15, he'll be this summer's version of Justin Schultz and become a UFA.
A first-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2010, Hayes is a playmaking power forward who had a terrific senior season at Boston College with 27 goals and 65 points in 40 games. He's not keen to sign with Chicago because the Blackhawks are so deep on the right wing, both at the NHL level and in terms of prospects. He'll surely get a rookie max deal regardless.
Hayes, 22, probably has a short list of three teams:
1. Calgary Flames
His college linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold will enter their rookie pro seasons with the rebuilding Flames.
2. Florida Panthers
Hayes' older brother Jimmy established himself as a Panthers regular this past season.
3. Boston Bruins
Hayes is a Boston native and the perennial Cup contending Bruins aren't as strong as Chicago on the right side.
If Chicago can't sign Hayes, the Hawks are compensated with the 24th pick in the second round of the 2015 draft. The Hawks can trade Hayes' right, but obviously wouldn't accept anything less than that.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN