Recently signed John Hayden is expected to play on the first line for his NHL Debut.
Chigaco inks their 2013 third-round pick to a two-year entry-level deal Sunday, and are likely to debut him on their top line.
John Hayden isn’t just getting called up to the big leagues, he’s being given a shot at first-line minutes with one of the NHL’s best centers in captain Jonathan Toews.
Artem Anisimov suffered a lower-body injury, on Tuesday March 14 in a game against Montreal, that will leave him out of the lineup until at least the post-season.
The loss of Chicago’s second-line center forced Chicago coach Joel Quenneville to shuffle the lineup, moving Nick Schmaltz to fill in for Anisimov and leaving the left wing open for Hayden, according to Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.
Hayden has been lighting up the NCAA, playing for Yale University with 21 goals, 13 assists, and 34 points in 33 games played this season. The 6’3, 223 lbs forward has a great shot and he isn’t afraid to throw his weight around in the corners or in front of the net.
Joel Quenneville has a habit of testing out his rookies on the top line, and Hayden’s skillset appears to make him an ideal fit on a line with Toews and winger Richard Panik. With a deep lineup of talented wingers, Hayden will need to perform if he wants to keep that spot on the top line. If he struggles, no doubt Marian Hossa or Ryan Hartman would be eager to pick up the slack.
The Chicago Blackhawks sit first in the Western Conference with 44 wins and 93 points in 69 games going into their March 16th game against the Ottawa Senators