Blackhawks

Blackhawks sign prospect John Hayden to two-year deal

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AP

Blackhawks sign prospect John Hayden to two-year deal

The Blackhawks announced Sunday that they've signed John Hayden to a two-year contract that runs through the 2017-18 season.

The 22-year-old forward served as the captain for Yale University during his senior campaign, and set career highs with 21 goals, 13 assists and 34 points in 33 games, which helped him become a 2017 Hobey Baker Award candidate for NCAA's top player.

He compiled 50 goals and 41 assists in 127 career games throughout his four-year career at Yale.

At 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, Hayden is a big, physical forward who has played both wing and center.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hayden will join the Blackhawks on Monday.

"We'll get to see him play," Quenneville said. "We've seen him a lot in prospect camps, development camps. He's a hard-working type of guy, one of those guys along the wall, in front of the net and he has some physicality to his game, greasiness at the net. So we're looking forward to seeing how he handles it up here and how he fits in. He gives us some size and aggressiveness."

He's a player who will surely compete for a full-time spot on the Blackhawks in training camp next season, and there's a real chance he can slide into the lineup right away, given his size. 

Because his season has concluded at Yale, Hayden will likely join the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League for the remainder of the year and is eligible to join the Blackhawks as soon as this season.

He was drafted in the third round (No. 74 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, and was set to become a free agent in August.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

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AP

Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

The Blackhawks are expected to be without defenseman Connor Murphy for "a couple weeks" after he left in the second period of Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because of a groin injury, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game.

It's the same injury that sidelined Murphy for the season opener in Prague, which is unfortunate given his promotion to the top pairing with Duncan Keith has provided some stability on all three pairings. 

"Obviously that's a blow for us," Colliton said. "It's an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That's what we're going to need. We can't just play with six D or seven D all year. You're going to need more than that. That'll be an opportunity for other guys to grow."

Slater Koekkoek is serving as the seventh defenseman right now and he's the likely candidate to slide into Murphy's spot in the lineup. But the Blackhawks might be inclined to make a call-up from Rockford as insurance.

Dennis Gilbert started the season with the Blackhawks because Murphy and Calvin de Haan were not cleared to play overseas, so he's a potential candidate to be brought back up.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.