Kevin Hayes is a part of a series of first-round pick trades in 2010. On June 23rd, The Blackhawks traded Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, Akim Aliu, and Dustin Byfuglien to the Atlanta Thrashers for the New Jersey Devils’ 2010 first-round pick, the Devils’ 2010 second-round pick, Joey Crabb, Marty Reasoner, and Jeremy Morin. Two days later, the Blackhawks traded their 2010 first-round pick to the New York Islanders for their 2010 second-round pick and the San Jose Sharks’ 2010 second-round pick.
The Blackhawks selected Hayes 24th overall using the first-round pick they acquired from the Thrashers. Hayes had just finished his senior year of high school, where he scored 69 points in 29 games followed by a 2 points in 2 games stint with the U.S. National U18 Team. After being drafted, he took his talents to Boston College and played four full seasons in the NCAA. Following a 65 point season with Boston, Hayes signed his entry-level contract… with the New York Rangers.
Hayes and the Blackhawks could not reach a deal on his rookie-level contract. As a result, Hayes entered the free-agency market, where the Rangers gladly took their shot. As if losing a first-round pick caliber player for nothing is not bad enough, Hayes has established himself as a consistent point producer, which is something the Blackhawks have lacked for many years. While his talent levels have never been mind-blowing, he still provides excellent skill for the Philadelphia Flyers to this day. To make matters worse, the first-round pick the Blackhawks traded away became Brock Nelson, a consistent NHL-level player in the current day.
Hayes’ best year was the 2018-19 season, where he scored 42 points in 51 games with the Rangers and 13 points in 20 games with the Winnipeg Jets.