When the Chicago Blackhawks announced they would send John Hayden to the minors, the fan reaction was pretty negative, or at the very least, confused. While the 23-year-old winger had not been an offensive force for the team this season, his 11 points tied him with Patrick Sharp and Tommy Wingels. Considering he had also been a healthy scratch for a few games before his demotion to the American Hockey League, many people believed he was sent down so he could get more ice time.
Now the Hawks have announced he is going to be back with the team, and have used their last non-emergency recall of the season to call him up:
In an interview with Paul Skrbina, from the Chicago Tribune, Hayden said even though he would have preferred to stay in Chicago, he had the chance to play a lot and in many different situations in Rockford. Here's what he said:
[Life in Rockford] feels great,” Hayden said Tuesday after the IceHogs practiced at MB Ice Arena. “I’ve embraced the opportunity to play in a lot of situations, different roles, having the puck a lot. It’s good for my game. I’m used to the buses. We’re treated very well here too. It hasn’t been much of a transition in that regard. It’s my job to make sure down the road I look back at this as a beneficial experience.”
Hayden was selected in the third round (74th overall) of the 2013 NHL draft by Chicago. He signed a rookie deal with the Hawks right after completing his senior season at Yale University, last year. He played a total of 51 games with the team over two seasons, in which he recorded 15 points. The 6 foot 3, 223-pound winger has had a bit more success with the IceHogs this season, where he amassed 14 points in just 22 games.
NHL insider makes an interesting declaration about James van Riemsdyk and free agency
The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a critical decision to make regarding James van Riemsdyk's expiring contract. It's been heavily discussed this season, with different scenarios being explored: whether the Leafs were going to re-sign him, trade him at deadline, or keep him as an "own rental" to aid in their playoff push this season. They obviously chose the latter, and sure hope he can bring something to the team until the end of the season and in the playoffs, considering they will probably lose the 29-year-old forward for nothing on July 1st.
As The Athletic's Tyler Dellow reported yesterday, the fact Leafs' general manager Lou Lamoriello has yet to sign him to a contract extension indicates they have got other priorities. Here's what he had to say about that:
William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are all up for new contracts over the next couple of seasons, which will bring a new financial reality to the Maple Leafs. This year, they have a collective cap hit of about $7.25 million. If the Maple Leafs go long on all three, it's not hard to imagine them eating up $25 million in cap space in 2019-20. So the Maple Leafs are going to have to find economies. In a way, van Riemsdyk's kind of picked the worst possible time to become an unrestricted free agent because of how the salary cap system works. The cap hits for Nylander, Matthews and Marner will decline as a percentage of the salary cap but it will take some time for that to happen. Jake Gardiner's deal expires at the end of 2019 too and he'll either need to be replaced or re-signed – that will take money."
Now that's where Dellow mentioned where he believes van Riemsdyk will land if he isn't back in Toronto. He says Calgary, Anaheim, St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus and Edmonton could all be potential fit, considering they have problems with their power play units. However, he believes only the Blue Jackets and Blues could make a legitimate push for the left winger:
Columbus has their own little cautionary tale about signing aging wingers in the form of Nick Foligno. Columbus could likely make it work if they wanted to but it would be throwing more resources at players in their late twenties on a team that still seems to be a few steps away from being a Cup contender.
St. Louis strikes me as the best fit for van Riemsdyk from the cities I've looked at, although the Blues aren't the wealthiest team in the world. St. Louis has the core of a team that's better than their record. They'll be introducing some young offensive prospects into the NHL over the next few years and van Riemsdyk has done well in the recent past in that situation playing with Marner in a sheltered role. They need to get something out of their third line next year, which would be broadly consistent with the role van Riemsdyk has played in Toronto over the past few seasons.
Dellow added that he thinks van Riemsdyk is going to ask for at least $6 million per season, for six or seven years. In 67 games this year, he recorded 26 goals and 15 assists for 41 points. The former second overall pick amassed 62 points in 82 games last season with Toronto.
IN OTHER NEWS:
- NHL insider makes a huge declaration about James van Riemsdyk and free agency
- Chicago Blackhawks have announced a surprising roster move
- Here's the reason why John Hayden was recalled from the AHL
- Peter Chiarelli might be in big trouble, and Wayne Gretzky might be the reason why
- Mark Giordano loses it on the referee after getting a penalty for blocking a shot
- Coach Guy Boucher murders a reporter with words for asking a stupid question
- Multiple NHL sources confirm a rumor of a Carey Price blockbuster