Flames GM tight-lipped over Kevin Hayes speculation
Gaudreau and Arnold’s Boston College linemate would become a free agent if he doesn’t sign with Chicago by Saturday
Kevin Hayes, drafted 24th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, would become a free agent if he doesn’t sign with the Hawks by Saturday. If that happens, would he join his linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold with the Calgary Flames?
Photograph by: Noah Graham, NHLI via Getty Images
The thought is tantalizing, the idea makes sense and, boy, what a storyline.
Think about it, Boston College’s first line — Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold, and Kevin Hayes, the trio that dominated this year’s NCAA playoffs — together with the Calgary Flames.
Has a nice ring to it, no?
“I’ve heard that natural assumption for a while,” said a tight-lipped Brad Treliving on Thursday, offering a series of summer off-season updates from Flames headquarters at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “I see where people would make the connection.
“But at this point, we can’t talk about it.”
Treliving’s hands are tied, of course, and he’s unable to comment whether they have interest in the 22-year-old winger who had 27 goals and 65 points in 40 games with Gaudreau as a senior this past season.
That’s because technically Hayes is still property of the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2010.
So, before anyone in these parts can get their hopes up and stitch a name on the back of a jersey, the wait is on to see what happens at Saturday’s deadline — if he comes to terms with the former Stanley Cup champions or decides to test the free agent waters.
And reports out of the Windy City are suggesting the latter.
Hayes’ agent Robert Murray told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday that it’s “not likely” he’ll sign with Chicago and, if that’s the case, Hayes would become an unrestricted free agent.
That being said, the Hawks could still go after him after Saturday’s deadline — as could 29 other teams.
“We’ll see what happens in the next day or so,” Treliving said. “Obviously, there’s still time for him to sign in Chicago, but that’s something the player would have to decide.”
The summer is almost over for Treliving and his crew which just returned from Montreal where they evaluated Flames draft picks Morgan Klimchuk and Sam Bennett at the Hockey Canada national junior team summer development camp.
Aside from making calls to players, ensuring they make the most of the next three weeks before they report for fall training camp, Treliving’s off-season to-do list is nearly complete.
For starters, has been on a “thorough” search for a goaltending coach to replace Clint Malarchuk and the GM ays something will be announced in the coming week.
“We’ve got our guy, we’re just working through a few things . . . we should have something forthcoming in the next little while on that,” he said. “I can tell you we talked to people that had lots of experience, younger people. I know it was long, but I guess it was by design. I wanted to turn over as many stones as we could.
“But I’m really excited and comfortable with the decision we made.”
The selected person will oversee the likes of veteran Jonas Hiller, last year’s starter Karri Ramo, and up-and-comer Joni Ortio — Treliving said there were many candidates.
“My feeling is it’ll be someone who can work with our guys, make them better, and not necessarily say, ‘We’re blowing up your style,’ ” he said. “Instead, how do we find out what his strengths are and build towards his strengths?
“We want someone that can be a communicator and a teacher.”
Another item still remaining is Lance Bouma’s contract, the final restricted free agent on the Flames’ roster.
And, after a flurry of signings from July 22 to July 26 where the Flames inked Joe Colborne Joni Ortio, Sam Bennett, and Mark Cundari in that span, inquiring minds want to know.
What the heck is taking so long?
“The only thing with Lance is we haven’t agreed to a number yet,” Treliving assured. “We’ll continue to work away at it. We’ve still got time before training camp opens and we’re hopeful we’ll get something done but as of yet, we haven’t. That’s where that’s at.”
The Flames have just under $17.3 million in cap space — plenty of room to sign the 24-year-old farm boy from Provost, Alta., who finished tied with Ryan Getzlaf for the second-most blocked shots (89) in the league among forwards.
Bouma showed considerable improvement in 2013-14, establishing himself as a physical presence on the fourth line in front of the net in 78 games, the most in his three-year NHL career with the Flames.
“Hey, I know who Lance is,” Treliving said of the former Vancouver Giants captain. “Not only last year but following him all the way to his junior career in Vancouver. He took a step forward last year and we hope and expect him to take another one (this year). This part is the business part.
“We like Lance, but now it’s getting something both sides are comfortable with. So far, we haven’t been able to do that and we’ll continue to do that.”
Treliving also gave an off-season update on the newly acquired Hiller who suffered an appendicitis attack last month while training in Switzerland.
The 32-year-old, who was signed on July 1 as a free agent, was given a minimal recovery time of nine days following the arthroscopic procedure which required no incision.
“I talked to him the other day and he’s back, 100 per cent, skating, working out,” he said. “He’s been back in his routine, fully functional, and no issues.
“These things can happen, obviously . . . your first thought is concern for his well-being, then you do your homework and find out more information. We don’t expect it to be an issue.”
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