Brotherly Love in the Second Round


For as long as I have been reading the comments section of this site, I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts that discuss the Leafs need to obtain a 2nd round pick through a trade.  While the tenability of some trades, “Bobby Ryan, Jesus Christ (who historically has done his best work on the boards) and a 2nd pick for Tomas Kaberle, Howard Berger, and a 7th” may be questioned, there is certain validity behind the desire.  Indeed, the Leafs have had some success in the second round (Stajan and Kulemin have both become solid players, and the Leafs have three 2nd round picks in the past two drafts as promising prospects).

Further reading in the forums, much noise is made about “a certain player’s brother,” whether it happens to be Brayden Schenn or much more recently Blake Kessel.  While both options would undoubtedly improve the Leafs prospect depth and promise a bright future, as before few trade scenarios seem plausible.

However, should Brian Burke – who has repeatedly commented on his intention to be busy during the draft – acquire a second round pick via trade, might I suggest that he look no further than Noble and Greenough School standout Kevin Hayes, little brother to 2008 Leaf 2nd round pick Jimmy Hayes.

The elder Hayes has just finished his sophomore year at Boston College, putting up a respectable 13 goals and 22 assists in 42 games.  Playing for a stacked Eagles team, he’s made the most of his ice time and has improved by leaps and bounds over his freshman tour.  At 6’5”, 210 pounds, Jimmy is a lot for opposing defenders to handle down low and in front of the net.  Scouts like how well he skates for a big man but suggest that he’s a little soft for all of his monstrous size.  Regardless, he reads the play well and has good on ice vision.  One of the biggest things moving forward for Hayes is to continue his output while gaining between 15 and 25 pounds to better handle the rigors of the NHL.  He is likely to spend both his junior and senior year with the Eagles, where he will be joined by his little brother.

Currently ranked the 26th North American Skater by Central Scouting, and 39th by the ISS, Kevin Hayes is projected to be a mid-second round pick in the 2010 draft.  This season playing at the New England prep school, the right winger dominated with 25 goals, 42 assists in 28 games.  These gaudy stats are undercut somewhat by the fact that Hayes has spent his entire career playing against lesser competition.  Nonetheless, his production has been considered phenomenal by any measure.

Says his coach at Noble and Greenough:

“He has an unbelievable skill set that’s apparent when you watch him play. But he also has great hockey IQ. He understands the pace of a hockey game as well as anyone I’ve seen. He does things I’ve never seen before, all those subtle things. He knows where everybody around him is at all times. When he chases down a puck he looks to see where everybody is. He’ll also take a pass differently than other players. Ninety-nine percent will take a pass from a teammate tape-to-tape. Kevin will sometimes just let it go and take it off the board, to get more separation.”

Nobles coach Brian Day

Though Kevin stands 3 inches shorter than his older brother, scouts are clamouring over his playmaking abilities, skating ability and overall skill level at age 18 compared to Jimmy.  Much like Jimmy, Kevin plays on the right wing and much like Jimmy he’ll likely need 3 or 4 years of seasoning with the Eagles.  However looking at his early results and the opinion of scouts, he seems more likely to be a top 6 winger than his brother.

Of course, the issue remains that the Leafs first pick, their own 3rd rounder, will be in the low 60s and it is unlikely that Hayes will be available then.  So the impetus is on Brian Burke to pay us all some well deserved fan service.