Apr 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrate after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets in game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Hayes A Possibility For Pittsburgh Penguins?

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The Chicago Blackhawks were unable to sign their 2010 first-round pick, forward Kevin Hayes, to an entry-level deal by the Aug. 15 deadline, which now makes him a free agent.

Pittsburgh, who are a little slim on the prospect forward front, may be intrigued with the idea of adding the young winger, and they have someone in their organization who’s related to Hayes, which could bode well for the Pens should they try to sign him.

Assistant general manager, Tom Fitzgerald, as it just so turns out, is a cousin of Hayes, and if Fitzgerald can persuade general manager Jim Rutherford to covet the Boston College product, his relationship ties could hold slight leverage over the teams interested as well.

Yes, no need to bombard me with comments suggesting I’m unaware of the Penguins’ cap issues, because I acknowledge they have a little below a million in space to orchestrate with. However, if people can recall last year, Pittsburgh was able to sign one of college hockey’s best netminders fresh off a Frozen Four run with Quinnipiac to a $925,000 deal: Eric Hartzell.

Now, that in no way is implying the Pens will be able to replicate that contract, but given Fitzgerald’s ties with Hayes, it could favor Pittsburgh’s chances of adding him due to a willingness to take less and receive multiple perks. For one, Hayes has a chance to play with Sidney Crosby, and two, not only will he have a family member in his corner, but he’ll be joining an organization fit to win right now.

Of course, you’re thinking, “Oh, well if that was the case, then why didn’t he sign with Chicago? They’re proven winners.” Correct, but could Chicago’s move to trade his brother, Jimmy Hayes, to Florida may have been a reason he didn’t sign? Or is it because Hayes felt that he wants to have a roster spot right away, and Chicago doesn’t have one at the moment? Or, could it have simply been the offer? Anyway you look at it, there are multiple factors that could have played into Hayes’ decision not to sign, we just don’t know the facts.

It just so happens that Pittsburgh’s got a right-wing spot on their top-line open next to a certain someone – Sidney Crosby – to which that’s Hayes’ position. And, considering Hayes has had the full college experience, he’s ready to step right into the fold of being an everyday NHL player.

Hayes, 22, has spent the last four seasons playing for the Boston College Golden Eagles, and finished second in points (65) in division one this past season. And if his numbers, accolades (Hobey Baker finalist), or the place he played (Boston College) don’t entice the Pens into dangling the move to sign him, it’s simply because they feel he’ll cost too much.

Alas, if there were other reasons Hayes didn’t join the ‘Hawks besides money, the Penguins could have a shot at him if they’re wanting and willing to chase the promising winger. If the rumors about the Pens are true, and they’re interested in bringing in Paul Bissonnette, then that means a covet of Hayes is certainly plausible to happen.

We’ll see if Pittsburgh’s name pops up here in the coming days as a possible destination for Hayes.

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Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins

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