WILMINGTON, MA – Count Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald among the many that are pretty excited to see his cousin, Jimmy Hayes, get things going with the Black and Gold after the trade over from the Florida Panthers on July 1. Fitzgerald is of course cousin to both Hayes brothers, Jimmy and Kevin, as well as longtime NHL power forward Keith Tkachuk, and is looking forward to seeing what the 6-foot-6 right winger can do for his hometown team.
“It’s huge for him. I was actually talking to [Hayes] the other day, and it’s really a dream come true for him this summer. It’s something he’s been looking forward to for his whole career, so it’s a special moment for him,” said the 20-year-old Fitzgerald, who will be entering his junior season at Boston College after scoring 17 goals in 38 games for the Eagles last season. “[Playing for the Bruins] isn’t something we really all talked about because it was never really a realistic expectation, but watching everything unfold with him getting traded to Boston is something special. It does allow you to think how special things could be [down the line].”
It’s still at least a couple of years before Fitzgerald will be viewed as possible NHL material after getting selected in the fourth round back in the 2013 draft, but the timing could work out given the three year, $6.9 million extension Hayes signed after the trade with the Panthers. It will just be up to the youngster to carve out a niche for himself at the NHL level like his older cousin did in the last couple of years in Florida after struggling for an NHL spot in Chicago.
“The Bruins see what everybody else sees in him, and he signed a great deal that’s obviously going to pay off for him and for them,” said Fitzgerald.
Maybe it will pay off for the entire family if the Bruins can start stocking their dressing room with Boston accents in all corners of the room, and keep it in the family with players Hayes and Fitzgerald that represent some of the best and brightest in local hockey circles.