Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Kevin Hayes is in no rush to decide whether to sign with the organization, according to his agent Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Hayes was selected by the Blackhawks as the No. 24 overall pick of the 2010 draft. He became eligible to sign with the Blackhawks after his senior season at Boston College ended in the Frozen Four on April 10. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the NCAA’s top player, and finished second in the nation with 65 points during his senior season.
“Because Boston College’s season ended so late, there’s no urgency to make a decision right away,” Hayes’ agent Robert Murray said in a phone interview Tuesday. “We just decided to sit back and take our time. When Kevin gets back from the World’s, we’ll kind of follow up.
“There’s no decision made on any of that right now. There’s no decision that he’s not going to sign with Chicago. I’ve tried to stress that with Chicago. That’s not the intent -- because he hasn’t signed yet, [he won’t sign ever.] That’s not the case.”
Murray said he and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman have been actively communicating since Hayes’ season ended. The Blackhawks own Hayes’ rights through Aug. 15. He would become an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t sign with the Blackhawks.
Murray said Hayes’ decision to sign will not be impacted by the Blackhawks trading his older brother Jimmy Hayes to the Florida Panthers in November. The Blackhawks had acquired Jimmy in a trade in 2010. He played 43 games for the Blackhawks over three seasons. He played 53 games for the Panthers this season.
“There’s no issue, no problem,” Murray said of the Blackhawks. “It absolutely has nothing to do with Jimmy. Chicago treated Jimmy fine. The trade probably helped Jimmy.”
Murray said Hayes will examine some different factors on whether to sign with the Blackhawks.
“There are a number of issues we’re trying to evaluate,” Murray said. “Depth of organization has some bearing on it. There’s just a bunch of criteria we’re trying to take a look at. The situation is there’s no urgency for sign for Kevin. He’s not going to play anywhere until training camp in September. Whether he signs today or two weeks from now or a month from now, it doesn’t make any difference. There’s no reason in our mind to rush into something until he can decide something and see where things are at.”
The Blackhawks had four prospects eligible to be signed after their senior seasons this year. They already signed Notre Dame defenseman Stephen Johns to a two-year contract on April 2. Blackhawks assistant general manager Norm Maciver said in late March they were still evaluating whether to sign Minnesota senior defenseman Justin Holl. They are not expected to sign Cornell senior defenseman Kirill Gotovets.