Back in the Fall, Chicago Hockey Now ranked the top 10 prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks pipeline. Those rankings had Connor Bedard sitting at the top of the list–while only being in the organization for three months. The sixth ranked prospect on the list is Gavin Hayes, who is having quite the season in the OHL.
Current Team: Soo Greyhounds (Traded from Flint)
Stats: 24 Goals; 23 Assists; 47 Points
Drafted: 2022 66th overall (3rd round) by Kyle Davidson
So, How’s It Going?
Very well. Hayes continues to score at a torrid rate and since joining Soo after the World Junior Championships, Hayes is at a goal-per-game pace with five and 11 points. With Soo being playoff bound, it will be a great way to see how Hayes does with a team capable of going deeper into the playoffs and potentially be.a Memorial Cup entrant.
Ranking Higher, Lower, Holding, or Graduated?
Ranked higher – with his numbers being projected to surpass those of last season’s totals–Hayes is on pace to hit 49 if set to last year’s pace, but he’ll fall like 14 games short due to his time in the World Juniors. But it’s not the total anymore as much as it is the pace, and seeing how he factors into the postseason.
Now and Later: Where Does Gavin Hayes Fit In the Grand Scheme of Things?
I’ve compared Hayes’ ability to find the net as reminiscent of another Blackhawks goal scorer- Patrick Sharp. Hayes will score goals at high clips and it was curious that his ice time dwindled with the US during its gold medal run. But he picked up where he left off in the O, burying two goals in his first game with the Greyhounds. In 32 games, he’s only been held off the scoresheet five times.
It’s clear what the Blackhawks are building and the type of players they’re targeting–Hayes fits the mold of the player who will find the net often and with a future in Chicago that includes the likes of Connor Bedard, Oliver Moore, Frank Nazar and potentially another top lottery pick, Hayes will have plenty of talent around him. It doesn’t count fellow OHL competitor, and Blackhawks prospect Nick Lardis–who is a goal shy of 30 this season.
The second half of Hayes’ season–especially what should be a longer playoff run–will keep Blackhawks fans eying how his numbers turn out. But if it’s anything like past returns, it will surely be a statistical delight.