By Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano
Jimmy Hayes is a 6’5” 210 pound power forward who was drafted late in the second round and 60th overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft.
He is yet another player in the Leafs organization coming out of the US college hockey program, hailing from Boston, MA, currently playing for the Boston College Eagles.
He sits sixth on Toronto’s top prospect depth chart, just under Victor Stalberg and Tyler Bozak, two players that Leafs Nation expects to see suit up for the Blue and White at the ACC in the near future. Another player could likely be Mr. Hayes.
Toronto seems to lack a big body that can park in front of the net and bang in rebounds, screen the goalies, and be a presence in that tough area.
Hayes could be the answer in the future.
He hasn’t been a prolific goal scorer and has only three goals and seven assists in 13 games this year with the Eagles, but big tall players are usually late developers.
Hayes helped the US capture a silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World U-18 Championship in Finland.
Brian Burke continues to build this Toronto Maple Leafs team who it seems can be red hot one night and have excellent offensive output and in the next moment go ice cold.
The same can’t really be said for the defensive side of the Leafs game which has been on the cold side more consistently. With big bodies like Hayes in the future, winning battles along the boards and better defensive zone coverage will assure that the puck gets out more often than not.
One of the questions that all fans have of whichever team they root for is how should the management develop the young players in their system.
When you talk about guys like John Tavares, Victor Hedman, and Steven Stamkos, they come straight from the draft and step right into the NHL. Other players that aren’t drafted as high like Hayes usually end up back with their junior team if eligible, college team or down on the farm.
Having covered the AHL last year with the Toronto Marlies and if you have followed or watched any AHL games, you know as well as I do that the energy level, speed and roughness of the game isn’t far off from the NHL. In my mind and from what I’ve seen it can be more physical sometimes because these guys want to make an impression on the many scouts that are on hand.
How Toronto develops these guys that don’t go straight into the NHL, which have been few and far between for the Leafs, is a great concern to Leafs Nation. Last year Luke Schenn went straight to the NHL and played big minutes, this year he’s seeing less ice-time and hasn’t been great.
Now fans and media are wondering if Schenn should have been sent down to the minors instead and been given some more time. Nazim Kadri was sent back to the juniors, though some think he could have stepped right in right away and contributed having been the best player in the preseason.
Sometimes the development process doesn’t work as in the case of recently shipped out Jiri Tlusty, who was traded to Carolina for Philippe Paradis a first round 24th overall draft pick still in the minors with Shawinigan of the QMJHL.
Tlusty wasn’t a product of Brian Burke’s drafting but of John Fergusson Junior, and now Paradis can be brought along under the watchful eye of the new regime.
Toronto fans want to see some youth and with the early season woes I don’t blame them, now they are 6-2-2 in their last ten and are rounding into form.
Hopefully the young guys like Bozak, Stalberg, Hayes, and Kadri are handled properly and come out of the system that Toronto’s management believes in with flying colours and eventually become pillars of the Blue and White for years to come.
In case you didn’t know, starting Dec. 5 Gabe Morency (formally of The Score ) will be launching his new website. Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter, my B/R counterpart, and I will be throwing down our Podcast “Get The Puck Out ” every Saturday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
We’ll be giving you our opinion and taking your calls on the hottest topics in the hockey world.
The Live Podcast will be broadcast in studio from down town Toronto featuring some betting analysis, fantasy advice, trivia, team/player updates, and more puck talk than you can imagine.
Be sure to call in and let your opinion be known. The inaugural show is set for Dec. 12. Don’t miss it, puckheads!
You can catch Morency and “Get The Puck Out” at www.morencysports.com , the site launches Dec. 5.