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.